Only truth will make us stronger
Any democratically elected government must operate with the utmost commitment to transparency and accountability in management of the peoples business if they hope to remain in office.
The Progressive Labour Party Government has had 14 years to cement confidence, but instead has left a trail of political missteps on matters of public concern. These are now playing on the minds of many voters and that includes some of their most ardent supporters. The big question is, will it matter in the voting booth?
The United Bermuda Party, which enjoyed a long stint at the helm, paid dearly for losing touch with the people in a changing Bermuda. Neither party has done everything wrong. However, whenever there is a matter of concern that has the tell-tale signs of potential cover up, or evasion of truth, credibility diminishes and there is a loss of confidence in leadership. This happens around the world.
Too often, Governments forget they hold office only because they were hired by the electorate and that they can be fired by the same electorate should they fail to deliver according to expectations.
It is also natural for the incumbent in a general election to claim that continued support from the electorate will improve matters. After all, no Government is going to openly admit that they made too many wrong turns while trying to stir the Island to greener social and economic pastures. On the other hand the people who watch and listen, should never be underestimated for being able to determine the truth for themselves.
With our multicultural society, this could be one of the most crucial elections in our history. Despite efforts over the years to tear down racial barriers erected by post-slavery administrators, there are many left over emotional scars yet to heal.
There have been determined efforts by both black and white Bermudians over the years which have resulted in significant progress in our social infrastructure, but there is still work to be done before we as a society can see each other for our inner qualities rather than our skin tones.
Recent general elections have been steeped in race whether we care to admit it or not. More and more, Bermudians, black and white, realise that negative racial sentiments, not easily erased after years of social injustice, are standing in the way of that new day of truly working together.
All politicians, irrespective of which party they are attached to, should understand that the people want Bermuda to win in order to move ahead without an undercurrent of bitterness over which party wins or loses.
The One Bermuda Alliance has so far captured the attention of much of the electorate but they too face a formidable task to truly convince the voter in the middle that they have something better to offer Bermuda if elected. It will take more than pointing out flaws in the PLP Government.
The many unemployed are not looking for glowing promises from any politician about what they hope to do to improve the situation. In fact many of them are bewildered as to how Bermuda, with such prosperity not so long ago, could suddenly find itself in an economic crisis.
There is a wide perception that the economic ball was badly fumbled at a time when the writing was clearly on the wall that a global recession was looming. Although there is no way the PLP Government can evade some responsibility, at the same time we need to look collectively toward recovery instead of becoming locked in the blame game.
What this amounts to is that politicians urgently need to put the people of Bermuda first and party last. That could be a nasty pill for a politician to swallow, but unless we keep transparency and accountability up front, the divisive attitudes will remain alive. Our leaders, whoever they may be, should never lose sight of the fact that truth will not only set us free, but will make us a stronger society.
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