“Tabling legislation is end of the process not the first step," said Minister of Public Safety, the Hon. Michael H. Dunkley JP, MP after Opposition Leader Marc Bean attempted to table a Bill to eliminate conscription.

“Collaboration means working together to achieve common ends. If the Opposition was serious about working together to end conscription they would have shared this Bill in advance of today’s session of the House. They didn’t and this Government will not go along with whatever is tabled without fully considering the effects on the public and the Regiment. Timelines pulled out of the air and without regard to the operational responsibilities of the Regiment could be damaging to the organization and disadvantage the very people we’re all supposed to be representing.

“The promise to eliminate conscription is contained in today’s Speech from Throne as well as an undertaking to table amendments to the Defence Act 1965 to address disciplinary practices within the regiment.”

The Minister concluded, “This Government is serious about collaboration but working together is not a game or subject to political stunts. Working together means having the courage to step away from the adversarial system under which we operate and engage each other in meaningful dialogue to produce work that reflects well on us as representatives of the people.” 

 


Earlier today, the PLP released a statement saying:

The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party today attempted to table the Abolition of Conscription Act 2013. The OBA refused to collaborate with the PLP and blocked the PLP's Anti-Conscription Bill.

PLP Leader Marc Bean remarked, "In an effort to do things differently, embrace the spirit of collaboration and change the toxic environment in Parliament, we attempted to bring forward legislation that would move Bermuda forward. Without even reading or considering the text of the legislation, the OBA blocked the PLP's Bill to end conscription."

Mr. Bean continued, "We believe that conscription must end. The OBA says that they believe in ending conscription and that they also believe in collaboration. Together we could have collaborated on something we agree on, ending conscription without delay and moving Bermuda forward. Unfortunately it was not to be. The OBA should have worked with us but instead they stifled debate and conscription will be with us for the forseeable future."