Letters penned by Premier Alden McLaughlin in 2012 raising concerns about the one man, one vote referendum process and the conduct of the then government made its way into the port debate this week.
In the letters, tabled in the Legislative Assembly by Opposition Leader Arden McLean in his contribution Monday, McLaughlin had complained to then Governor Duncan Taylor about the manner in which then Premier McKeeva Bush was engaging in the referendum process.
McLean called out the premier on what he labelled “hypocrisy”.
He said the actions of McLaughlin’s government to garner support from the electorate to vote yes for the proposed $200 million cruise berthing and cargo project were the same as those McLaughlin had complained about Bush doing in the run-up to the 2012 poll.
In the 2012 letters, McLaughlin expressed concern over public funds being used for the campaign and over the date of the referendum. Opponents to the current government’s port project have raised similar concerns in this present debate.
On Wednesday, the premier addressed those letters as he delivered his closing speech on the Referendum Bill in the Legislative Assembly.
He categorised it as an attempt by McLean to score political points by reminding the country that he and Bush, now House Speaker, have had their share of political differences in the past.
“What you and I know, Mr. Speaker, and the country knows well, is that despite our political differences over many years, we have always been able to find ways to work together for the benefit of the country. Otherwise, I would not be premier, and you would not be speaker,” McLaughlin said.
He told lawmakers he understood very well the challenges of being part of the Opposition, having spent his early years on those benches. However, back then, he said, the Opposition had a plan.
He said if the current Opposition wanted to replace him and his government, then they had to do far more than criticise.