Governments face credibility challenge

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  • David Burt, the premier, celebrates victory (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    David Burt, the premier, celebrates victory (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Winning an election in a democratic setting usually means the people have chosen the political party they feel will best represent their concerns. There are always those who are not thrilled by an election outcome, but nevertheless realise that democracy works only when people are free to choose.

However, governments the world over face many situations that truly test the ability to maintain credibility, with not only those who placed them in office, but also those who gave support for others seeking leadership.

One of the great challenges in this modern era is that words and actions by those in leadership positions can be a breath away from public exposure, with cameras and other recording devices ever-present in a fast-moving world of cyberspace wonders that in a sense has created an even greater challenge for the best of journalists, who wrestle daily with accuracy — an essential ingredient of the profession.

Since governments consist of numerous departments with various responsibilities, there is seldom an administration in any country, large or small, that will not encounter situations at times that will leave the people wondering whether their best interests are being served. Even if the Government is not doing something wrong, if the people perceive it is not fully transparent, it could lead to a credibility problem.

Although there are countless political experts globally who give views about various political situations, including current world tensions over countries with nuclear power, there are millions of people in some regions who suffer terribly as a direct result of corrupt governments that operate in an atmosphere of dictatorial power that shun any form of a free media.

Dedicated journalists put their lives at risk in trying to expose such evil systems, but they know without that sacrifice, a greater tragedy would be to adopt an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, which is what most dictators prefer.

All governments in a free society are charged with performing duties in a manner that sends a clear message to the people that honesty, transparency and dignity will never be compromised for political advantage under any circumstances. At least that should be the proper stance for any government committed to serving with the highest possible standards.

There will be moments when traditional values may come under scrutiny, with sharply conflicting views from various sections of the community. This can be extremely challenging for any government, since they must be seen to represent everyone while ensuring that any decision should be in the interest of promoting values that build strong families and a healthy, solid community.

There will always be differences of opinion over what constitutes values in today’s modern world of changing lifestyle perceptions. The role of a democratic government should be to ensure that every particular view is respected, as in a democratic society all citizens are entitled to that right.

In Bermuda, as we embark on a new chapter of government and concerns of the people, there will be testing moments that happen in any democracy. Most Bermudians will be hoping that common sense and our core values will be protected for the benefit of future generations. The work ahead will be challenging not only for the Government, but for the Bermudian people, who would want future generations to look back and feel proud of how we tackled these testing times.

The world has become a smaller place, largely because of massive electronic, super-communication devices that reach just about every patch of soil on the planet. While there are significant benefits in this science, especially in keeping track of hurricanes such as Harvey, which recently devastated much of the state of Texas. Governments are also aware that the same technology can also monitor how they operate in a way as never before. It is a new age for all governments and their strength will depend on how well they adhere to transparency and human dignity in serving the people.

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Published Sep 5, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 5, 2017 at 6:46 am)

Governments face credibility challenge

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