George Town Central candidates, Finance Minister Marco Archer of the Progressives and his independent challenger Kenneth Bryan went head-to-head last night in what was arguably the election season’s most anticipated candidates forum, and the match up did not disappoint.
“Based on the track record of this administration, previously, we know they are big spenders, they don’t think about the process, they just spend,” said Mr. Bryan in his answer to a question about his willingness to accept a ministry position.
“We have to address the enforcement arm, but you had four years to address it and you didn’t,” he said in response to a question related to work permits.
“I don’t think the Progressives are going to get the majority of this government, if, in fact, they get any at all,” said Mr. Bryan when tackling the question of who he, if elected, would support as Premier.
But for every attack from Mr. Bryan, Mr. Archer had a comeback.
“I must point out that my opponent is one of the most confused people I’ve ever met,” said Mr. Archer, before lecturing Mr. Bryan on the intricacies of cost of living versus cost of doing business. ” “Understand the difference between cost of doing business and the cost of living and you won’t make so many erroneous statements.”
“I just want to assuage the concerns my opponent has of me accusing him of wanting to be Minister of finance, I’ve made no such accusation, because I know that he cannot do it,” said Mr. Archer, before again lecturing Mr. Bryan on the job of finance minister.
Through 26 questions from chamber president Kyle Broadhust, the candidates found some areas of agreement amid contrasting viewpoints, but the forum’s defining moments came in a question about the importance of a candidate’s track record.
“Professionally, I’ve done well. Politically, I have done well. Personally, I’ve done well. In terms of character, I’ve done well. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, I’m just saying there’s nothing anyone can say about me,”said Mr. Archer.
“Making mistakes doesn’t mean your life is over, but you can learn from it,” said Mr. Bryan, directly addressing his past. “You can learn from it and grow and use it as a strength, so if my opponent and his party want to accuse me for that, you’re sending a terrible message to the youth.”
And after almost two hours of sometimes heated debate, the candidates ended the night with a handshake.