Party system is archaic

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January 7, 2013

Dear Sir,

Because I have only ever stood as an independent in any general or by-election, most people associate my efforts as a drive for a parliament of independents. Not so, Stuart Hayward, a good friend of mine, more than I has argued for a parliamentary style similar to that of Guernsey. Although I recognise the benefit of having a parliament like that of Guernsey, which is far less divisive and where the focus is on arriving at the best policy rather than denigration of the opponents and where the term ‘this or that side of the house’ gives way to ‘this or that side of the issue’ at hand, I can also accept that parties have worked to the detriment of our society. Notwithstanding, given our history, as a first step towards something better, I have instead always advocated party and political reforms that I believed to be more realistically achievable and those which bring the similar end result.

As opposed to focusing on what are often huge gulfs between systems, we need to look at what are the essentials that make them different and what are the advantages and strengths that are useful and the weaknesses which we can eliminate. We have to accept the reality that we as a species are trying to evolve towards a better world and should hold no system as perfect. We need to also accept as living beings, that our generation is tasked with the responsibility to move forward and not be trapped or blame the previous generations for what we lack. Life is dynamic. The current mood the world over is crying out for respect for the value of individual rights and integrity as defined within any system. The days of elitist rule in all forms is outmoded in the hearts and minds of the public. Party format in Bermuda is archaic at best. Parties are still formed as special interest groups with a tiny core vying to run the government purse. The structure is maintained by a nucleolus who select those loyal to the construct. Integrity, honesty, ability or even public record is secondary and does, under such party system, give way to loyalty, which is the highest attribute under our current partisan style.

What we saw in this 2012 election demonstrated increased frustration of an electorate that has experienced the ruling days of two political parties. They said to heck with all of the above we don’t like either, but under the circumstance we are hapless and hamstrung to support what we in our hearts do not like, but for fear of worse, pay our support to the best of a bad choice. Otherwise we would have had a huge turnout. Fifteen independents standing in the last general election was more than symbolic. Gaining two percent of the vote was just a pimple, but the pimple comes from a source that is far greater than it’s size reveals. We the public do not like this position of being left outside the walls of governance, so far out we cannot be heard and our value neglected by those who say in their ethos “hands off public, we are the government”. We don’t like the privileges that the insiders have or their belief that its their government and their turn to play games on our backs. We don’t like to see people selected to serve as our politicians by a handful of persons.

We don’t like to see persons who after being elected to serve our parliament have to be at the footstool of the party and voices tempered by their loyalty to the party. We want true servants of God, truth and the people in our parliaments. The role of the One Bermuda Alliance is to change the paradigm towards a human form of governance away from special interest. The role of Mark Bean as leader of the Progressive Labour Party is to change the paradigm of his organisation. The public is in need of an organisation that is transparent and completely open, whose mandate is to bring, or support progressive, legislation. It should not matter what party, race or other considerations — the common ground is the desire to see Bermuda evolve to a better place. It could be called People’s Progressive Movement, for example.

KHALID WASI

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Published Jan 8, 2013 at 8:45 am (Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 8:45 am)

Party system is archaic

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