PLP’s Zane DeSilva takes a swipe at Sir. John Swan returns to Politics

The recent, well funded public relations campaign being waged by former Premier Sir. John Swan has resurrected a message that Bermudians were deceived by over 50 years ago.

In 1963, The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party was formed. For centuries Bermuda had been
governed by a small, wealthy elite who, while elected as independents operated as a united political front when it came to maintaining their wealth and the racial subjugation of Black Bermudians.


They viewed the emergence of a political party based on tearing down racial control and improving conditions for workers of all races as a clear and present danger to their power and huge pocketbooks. They condemned and attacked the forming of a political party as “divisive,” described Bermuda as “too small
for party politics,” and did everything they could both politically and economically to destroy the PLP in its political infancy.

The PLP didn’t win the 1963 election but despite the propaganda, well funded political campaigns and economic intimidation, we did win 6 of the 9 seats we contested. Shortly after the election, those who screamed and fought and campaigned against political parties, teamed up to form the United Bermuda Party (UBP).

They say those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. If you listen very closely to what Sir. John has been saying it is clear that like those “independent” politicians from 50 years ago he is hoping to get another group of “independents” into Parliament that will operate just like in the “good old days,” as a party in everything but name, meeting in secret at the
yacht club and dedicated to maintaining what is best for the elite and privileged over everyone else.

Let’s break down some if his points:
Sir John decries a “swing to extremism,” yet Bermuda remains more politically stable and devoid of the aggressive, violent extremism rising across the globe. Closer to home, Sir John, despite his many years of service, has often been silent and invisible on the social issues that impact those outside the circle of big business and the privileged.


Sir John bemoans “lack of tolerance and understanding,” yet was silent, and invisible when supporters of the UBP he led openly engaged in blackballing, pulling mortgages and other forms of economic terrorism against their political opponents. He remains silent and invisible when supporters of the UBP’s offspring, the OBA, openly brag on blogs and social media about denying opportunities to capable, qualified PLP supporters. In fact, his only complaint was that they would no longer “invite him over for tea,” after going against their interests by pursuing independence.
Sir John argues against fear-mongering, yet his message is steeped in fear itself and always has been.

He preached fear against independence for decades and continues to do so. He preached fear against electing a PLP government for decades. He preached fear of international business leaving if we don’t give them everything they want. He preached fear of tourists never returning. The list goes on and on, and today, rather than offering concrete solutions, Sir John is using fear to drive his latest agenda home,
mirroring the very tactic he criticises in others but has had no issue with using, and using for his political benefit throughout his career.

Bermuda isn’t perfect and neither is the PLP. But going back to the days of MPs only being elite and privileged, “people who know how to run a business,” masquerading as independents while secretly meeting in yacht clubs to preserve their own wealth and the status quo doesn’t appeal to me. And it shouldn’t appeal to any Bermudian who believes in freedom, equality and justice.

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