PLP senator Walton Brown has called on his fellow parliamentarians to raise the debate in Bermuda politics above the level of talk radio.

The respected party stalwart said politicians on both sides needed to get back to the issues.

He said MPs and senators had a duty to keep their exchanges cordial and respectful, even when they disagreed.

He was speaking after a month in which politicians were accused of bringing the level of debate to a new low.

Home Affairs Minister Colonel David Burch was called out for a “rules violation” after he accused three MPs of “potential criminal behaviour” and labelled them “people primarily fuelled by greed”.

The minister hit the headlines again last week, ripping up a letter sent to him by Mayor of Hamilton Charles Gosling, and marking it “return to sender”.

Speaker of the House Stanley Lowe was also forced to call on MPs to be more statesmanlike and “exercise restraint” after the UBP complained remarks made by Ministers Derrick Burgess and Glenn Blakeney were offensive.

Mr. Burgess had goaded deputy UBP leader Trevor Moniz, telling him: “You never thought that you would have to come to slaves’ children for an answer or a decision.”

Mr Blakeney joined in, adding: “You are doing your master’s bidding. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

The UBP have not been immune to criticism and Mr. Moniz was also called out for suggesting that backbencher Dale Butler was talking favourably about white people to win votes.

Senator Brown stopped short of criticizing his colleagues. He said Ministers Blakeney and Burgess were hard working and passionate MPs who sometimes got caught up in the cut and thrust of political discourse. But he said there was “no place” in politics for personal attacks.

“I don’t think the public are interested in personal attacks on either side. If you believe someone has done something wrong you should call them out on it.

“But I don’t support the kind of rhetoric you might hear on talk radio or in letters to the editor.”

And he urged his fellow Parliamentarians to choose their words more carefully.

“Anyone who has the privilege of serving the people has a responsibility to respect everyone when they speak.

“I wish and hope that all members of the legislature will do that.

“I come from an academic background where you have heated debate but we never personalize our disagreements. I encourage all members of the legislature to act in that way.”

Premier Dr. Ewart Brown has also come under fire, after criticizing the tone of questioning during a recent hearing of Government’s financial oversight committee, suggesting its investigation into a tourism contract was racially motivated.

Senator Brown, a respected and senior figure within the PLP, said he supported the opening of the Public Accounts Committee hearings to the public.

He said public scrutiny of all Government contracts was an important part of democracy and the debate over alleged racial motives was largely irrelevant.

“All of our contracts should be transparent and should be easily defensible.”

He said it was important to learn lessons from the Auditor General’s report but added the document had not uncovered any wrongdoing.

“Sometimes people look for things and try to find things that aren’t there. It’s a process of reading the report, identifying what was right or wrong, what was good or bad policy….

“What is said outside of that is all part of the spin that anyone may choose to put on it.”