“They have theirs,” Mr Bean said. “They have theirs and now no one else can have some. That’s their idea of conservation.”

He continued to say that the opposition party wanted to return Bermuda to “outhouses and going on horse and carriages between palm-thatched cottages” in a speech which sparked numerous objections from the opposition parties and led Acting speaker Dale Butler to threaten to halt the debate early.

The debate came as a result of a motion by the UBPs Kim Swan, calling for the House to take note of the diminished open spaces in Bermuda and resolve to develop strategies to reverse the trend.

Speaking last, Mr Bean initially began to list statistics about the amount of open space on the Island, declaring that the Government has fully embraced holistic and sustainable development, with the Bermuda Plan 2008 including new and innovative conservation policies.

However, after OBA MP Patricia Gordon Pamplin objected to Mr Bean reading from notes, he turned his focus to attacking the OBA’s environmental policy’s, saying while that the PLP take a rational, common sense approach, the opposition parties “have no idea of the natural order of life”.

“For a proposed pro-business party, they find themselves in this hypocritical and confused position by holding to their current nonsensical position,” he said. “They are the most anti-commerce group in this country. We are the pro-business party.

“Would you believe that the OBA, UBP are anti progress, anti business, anti work, unless its their business, their workers?”

Noting several speakers had talked about their time growing up in a less-developed Bermuda, he asked: “Who cares about the 1960s in that regard, and then in the next breath talks about the future?”

Members of the OBA and UBP repeatedly stood during the speech objecting to what they described as personal attacks, causing Mr Butler to warn Mr Bean to be careful with his language, saying: “Those types of words are really going to raise people’s emotions.

“We need to stop this nonsense. I will end this debate if you keep getting personal.”

The UBP’s Kim Swan had earlier told the House that seen Bermuda become more and more of a “concrete jungle.”

He said when he first entered politics, he was criticised for talking about what would happen 30 years in the future, adding: “30 years has come and another 30 years will come as well.

“What will the environment look like then and what are we doing today to make sure that our grandchildren inherit a greener Bermuda.”

Mr Swan said that land in Bermuda is a very limited resource, and while the population has rapidly grown, the amount of land has not.

He argued that much of the remaining open space, such as Cooper’s Island, has a built in tourist component, giving visitors an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle.

“It’s part of the aesthetic that encourages people to come here,” he said.

While he noted the production of the 2008 Bermuda Plan and other reports, he warned that for the reports to make any difference the Government must adopt their recommendations wholeheartedly.

“It’s not good enough to have the Bermuda Plan. You need to have a Government with the mindset of the Bermuda Plan,” he said.

“Irresponsible dominion isn’t enough in 2012. Irresponsible dominion is what is causing Bermuda to become a concrete jungle.

“If we want to ensure that 20 years from now our country of Bermuda is the type of Bermuda that has plenty of open space, plenty of green area so that oxygen is a lot cleaner to breath, so that water is healthy, that the fish are healthy, than it is incumbent on us to do our job.”

Cole Simons of the One Bermuda Alliance called for Government to ask the public about their vision for Bermuda.

Noting past discussion about turning Hamilton into a mid-Atlantic Monte Carlo, Mr Simons said: “The question is, is that going to be the model going forward? Who is going to make that decision?

“Do the people of Bermuda have a say in what Bermuda will be like going forward? I think this country can be better than that.”

He questioned the construction of new construction projects, saying that there currently unused hotel beds and housing units.

He noted the public outcry over the Special Development Order for Tuckers Point, saying that people in Bermuda are concerned about the Bermuda they will leave for the next generation.

Mr Simons called for Government to look at providing tax incentives for land owners who make a commitment to protecting open spaces and allow farmers to use their land.

Charlie Swan of the UBP continued the debate, noting that he has seen the Island become increasingly developed since his childhood.

He called for Government to embrace environmental organisations like The Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST).

“They can provide the input that helps us make better decisions for the people of the country,” he said.

Health Minister Zane DeSilva said it is important to remember that some members of society did not benefit from land ownership in past times.

“Let’s not forget who’s been playing catch up for many years on this Island,” he said.

He also told the House: “If you ask me to choose between a tree and a job I will take the job. We can always plant a tree but you can’t put 400 people back to work. I will always take a job over a tree.”

Government backbencher Terry Lister, a former Environment Minister, said it is only necessary to choose between a tree and a job in extreme cases.

“Most times we can have the tree and the job. I believe we can have both and we as a Government strive to go down that path,” he said.

Government backbencher Dale Butler said Bermuda’s open spaces and parks are cherished, but he does not think that Bermudians use them as much as they should.

He expressed concerns that this could lead to psychological damage, and said that in his view, prison programmes should ensure that inmates get to explore the Island by land and water as part of rehabilitation.

He added that when he was a schoolteacher, he made it mandatory for members of the school faculty to present him with a photograph of themselves at Hog Bay Level Park, which he described as “a beautiful piece of land.”

He said he was worried about building homes so close together that children no longer have open spaces to play in, as he believes that a lack of a yard to play in can cause anger and frustration”.

Backbencher Walter Lister said in his view, “tourists don’t come to Bermuda for open space. They have in enough of that in their country”.

He said instead, Americans are attracted by Bermuda’s friendliness, beauty and hospitality.”

Shadow Minister for Transport Pat Gordon-Pamplin said she is concerned over the island’s diminishing open spaces.

She said Government has sought to “push the envelope” when it comes to developing them, citing as an example plans to build the new hospital on the Botanical Gardens, which were eventually aborted following a public outcry.

Click here to view original article.

About Greenrock

According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


Where to find Us

Suite 324, 48 Par-La-Ville Rd,
Hamilton HM11, Bermuda

Telephone: 1-441-747-ROCK (7625)
Email: info@greenrock.org
Website: www.greenrock.org