Letters to the Editor, 3 March 2011
An SUV solution
February 22, 2011
There was a very good letter about the lunacy of SUVs being allowed by Ewart Brown, written by “SUVs should RIP”, who pointed out how idiotic they are for Bermuda. The answer to the road congestion and dangerous driving of these machines is simple. Everyone who drives one should be made to re-take the complete driver's test driving that car, since many of those drivers passed their original test in a Morris Minor, or equivalent small car. They have no idea where the fenders are. This is why they stop in the middle of a main thoroughfare, thinking they can't fit through, even with two feet of clearance either side. Ever spent five minutes tied up in traffic while someone is trying to park one?
The road portion of the driver's test should be to drive from Crow Lane roundabout to Burnt House Hill along Harbour Road, without touching the centre line. Lastly, women should be made to complete all sections of this test using only one hand ,while talking on a cellphone, as this is their preferred mode of transit. I don't know how many of these cars there are on the road, but this requirement should take care of 90 percent of them. To complete the reduction, do the same thing with the taxi drivers who behave the same way with their monstrous, oversized taxis. Finally, get rid of all the fancy pick-up trucks the construction boys use as a status symbol, which have never seen a toolbox or a bag of concrete. It's a win-win solution.
Good news, bad news
22 February 2011
Today's issue of
The Royal Gazette displayed a photo of some of the wonderful community minded volunteers who participated in the KBB Clean-up of the Railway Trail on Saturday. Their work area extended from Camp Hill to St Anne's Road. Southampton Princess staff worked on the section from Riviera Crescent to the west boundary of the hotel property. Apparently they collected more than 140 bags of trash together with other bulky items. These volunteers are to be heartily congratulated and all of Bermudas population are in their debt. Bravo!
The Bermuda taxpayer through the Parks Department gave $468,000 to two private landscape contractors to maintain the Railway Trail last year, see Revised Estimates 2010/11. Not an insignificant amount of money. According to the tender documents, the contractor is responsible for the removal of all litter and rubbish including bulky items such as appliances at least on a monthly basis in addition to the normal maintenance like grass cutting, hedge trimming plus sign, bench, gate and asphalt surface maintenance. Contractors meet with the Parks Supervisory Officer every month for joint inspections. Apparently the Railway Trail was severely trashed over the last month, or someone isn't doing his or her job.
I wonder which?
See for yourselves
February 21, 2011
Sandys Rotary Club is part of a global organisation, Rotary International, with 1.2 million active members of which I am proud to say I am one. We take an active approach in social issues and attempt to address problems through a variety of means from practical work to training projects, and yes, at times through family-orientated, educational forms of entertainment. As such I find it hard to fathom that during a time of economic hardship and social difficulties, when an organisation such as Sandys Rotary club seeks to bring a form of affordable family entertainment to Bermuda, there are those that will try and tear our efforts down.
The motto of Rotary International is Service Above Self, and in keeping with this motto, Sandys Rotary Club has not organised this event for self gain, but as part of our continuous attempts to raise funds for the less well off and disadvantaged groups and members of our local community, as well as others worldwide. For over 25 years, Rotary International has worked with other organisations to eliminate polio through their PolioPlus campaign, and due to these efforts polio has been eradicated from all but four countries world wide. Efforts to serve and achieve such goals should not be torn down but rather encouraged and built upon.
There has been an expression of dismay in some quarters about the planned fundraiser, the Rick Thomas Magic Show, that Sandys Rotary Club of Bermuda has organised. Most of this outcry has surrounded the perceived and unsubstantiated beliefs that the tigers used by Mr Thomas in his show are adversely affected. This erroneous belief is based upon the fact that Mr Thomas is able to make his tigers disappear for a short period of time. Surely such people's that find the time to complain about this trick would find their outrage and energies better focused on the fact that we as a race are rapidly causing tigers to permanently disappear altogether! This is a subject that Mr Thomas highlights in his show, but his detractors neglect to mention.
I would like to highlight that although Bermuda is a rich country, there are poorer families that may not be able to travel much, and the Rick Thomas Magic Show may be their only opportunity to see a live tiger in the flesh.
I would therefore encourage those that have concerns about the well being of Mr Thomas' tiger and about Bermuda in general to come and see the show. Doing so will not only allay any concerns about the health and well-being of the tiger, but you will also be helping to support some of the more vulnerable members of our community whilst enjoying a very successful world class Las Vegas show right here at home on our island.
Proud to be a Rotarian,
JAHAN S CEDENIO
Elections and parties
February 21, 2011
The movements in the Middle East and North Africa are nothing short of the beginning of a new epoch, not just for those regions, but the world. At the core is a simple thing called human dignity, too often ignored but never fully repressed. The people in Egypt stood in a wave of peaceful but committed protest for the right of their voice in the choice of representation. It was not just about leadership change, it was more about the right and power to choose whatever change.
The West in particular has enjoyed the favour of a relationship with the current regimes even if they were dictatorships as long as it benefited their interest. I remember President Nixon saying: “We would support a dictator who is friendly to us rather than a democracy which could be infinitely worse to our interest.” I know that it may seem that I am talking about things far away from our shores but actually everything holds true here also.
What we have in Bermuda has always been that which preserves a system of political elitism. We shifted from what we called an oligarchy of families which controlled our economy and politics by an inherited privilege. We successfully removed that to replace it with another form of oligarchy, legitimised by the absence of a full democracy. Political parties were initiated like a pressure group to bring about civil rights and enfranchisement for the people of Bermuda. The goal was equality enfranchisement and the right to choose representation fairly. The living result was a stunted goal and the self-encryption of party rights as representing the rights of all people. We have seen a whole era of icons of past liberators and movements who continued to fight old battles long after the war was over, but the battle stations and armaments became their new household and treasure. The old aims and challenges of the people have been replaced by new ones, but the old icons as leaders cannot recognise the movements of today.
This is our current dilemma. The old party machineries are obsolete when related to the current demands for participation openness and transparency. It would be grand in my opinion if the PLP with its virtual hold over the electorate took a lead in the new direction and opened up the dialogue of political reform. I personally want to help them find their new place in this new world, however it's not my mission alone, even though I have espoused the same for decades. I wonder why it is that we haven't already taken to the streets with a threat to close the Island down. We have a parliament full of reverence to an old outdated construct.
Even the Opposition (unlike the original PLP which had a real and expressed cause) have no other cause except to become the new heralded heads for a system of partisan elitism and privilege. I'm not against parties as political organisations, I am against parties as fiefdoms which assume the rights of the general public. I've heard the argument “well everyone can join and get the rights as a member of any party, it's their choice! My answer is what about turning 18 years of age? I should think that reaching the age of majority (18) the rights should automatically come to choose and participate. No one should have to ask for membership, then pay a fee to participate, then have to pass a smell test to be a representative. That whole process should be a natural right and the issue of being a representative of any party need only the endorsement of, for example ten persons in their constituency.
Which brings the next argument ... A party should have the right to filter its representatives, we don't want someone to run who does not represent our views … My argument is that the party should be defined or redefined by the people and not, the case as it is at present, where the party defines the people. Under the new scenario, the organisation will change and evolve with the people and times ... under the current design, political life stagnates around old premises.
Every human is and should be empowered with the right to change the whole world towards an idea or perception, if rationally proven. No organisation should be a graven image of unchallengeable status. The spirit that resides in mankind is greater. Therefore it's our efforts toward attaining the liberty of the human spirit that we should be committed. Only then will we forever be on the right side of history.
The current partisan construct has the PLP which is basically a party formed initially out of a black protest movement, still today perceived as largely a black organisation. Having 24 seats, one white, the UBP has eight members, three white, the BDA has three members, one white. Total white members in the House is four (disproportional to the population). The majority population is black and the result is pressure for the UBP or any new party formed to appeal to the electorate which means that a seat which comes from a predominantly white constituency will be given to a black in order to allow the perception of an inclusive party.
If there was only one political entity/party in which the entire electorate was each complemented with equal membership rights, the power shift will belong to the people and there would be fairer representation. Black districts will generally have black representation and white will generally have white and then there would be about ten districts which will have, at times, either. Under that scenario the parliament will probably have no less than ten and up to 15, possibly more, white persons holding seats.
But because the game is power not equality and winner takes all, parties have to appeal to the majority population which causes a practice of pasting black faces in white districts which in many instances a white person would feel slighted because he/she doesn't meet the racial profile needed to win.
Whites are dumbfounded into a quagmire to retrieve power are relying on the only political instrument they know of now for the last fifty years. That being sticking together and find something that appeals to at least 25 to 30 percent of the black vote. The days are over for that formula but so are the days over for an electorate that is disenfranchised from the real choices in the political process by our current partisan mode operand. We have 25 to 26 safe seats which ostensibly control the majority of the house….the question is not whether or not the PLP or UBP/other will win those safe seats but rather who chooses the person to run for either party in those seats. The seat is a given, the real question is who gets to challenge and that my friend is in the hands of a few. The electorate gets a second-hand exercise of ratifying the real choice which is made by a few in a private, not public exercise. We are in reality more disenfranchised from the real choice of who our representatives are, than the days of the property vote. Until we recognise our elections as a perfunctory exercise that is more ceremonial than real we haven't gone any were…Egypt by September will be ahead of us.
KHALID WASIRAYMOND RAY
February 27, 2011
Here it is once again… An individual that goes by the name of “Kevin Howard” of Radnor Road, Hamilton Parish, did admit to the Magistrate (Juan Wolffe) in Magistrates' Court this week to being responsible for the theft of bikes since 1982 more than 30 years. After he had been arrested, interviewed and released for stealing a motorcycle off of Gorham Road on the morning of February 2, he came out of police custody and (you guessed it) he stole another motorcycle.
He had only been released from jail in December. Mr Wolffe deemed it necessary to send him to jail for 18 months for both offences, but the sentences will run together…Which means he'd only given the thief 18 months, of which he will (more than likely) serve less than a year and be out of jail (yup) by Christmas this year. I will state it again, ”prison is no deterrent to habitual offenders”. It's true, unless a mandatory/lengthy sentence is handed out with no so-called “good time” taken off, those prison doors will keep revolving.
A curious omission
February 24, 2011
The CURE Act 1994 was amended and required that all employers with ten or more employees to register with CURE. As the largest employer on the Island why is the Government not registered with CURE?
HOW BIZARREHERE FOR THE COUNTRY
Audit consultant agreements
February 24, 2011
I am thrilled with Premier Cox's axing certain consultancy contracts. I do wonder why the advertising agency did not seek renewal. I for one would like to see audits conducted on all consultancy and work contracts (local and foreign) entered into by the previous administration.
City of Hamilton
What price open space?
February 25, 2011
If we were to set an economic value on our precious open space and it is high time we did it would then be clear that granting an SDO to allow the development of land currently zoned nature reserve, woodland, coastal and cave conservation is no different from Government writing a cheque for tens of millions of dollars of Bermudian taxpayers' money to bail out the Tucker's Point Group. If that would not be acceptable, then why is the SDO?
Secretary, Bermuda Audubon Society
A philosophy to emulate
February 25, 2011
I would like to ask the Minister of the Environment, Minister of Tourism and all Members of Parliament to take the time to look at the January 2011 issue of the Robb Report The Travel Issue, www.RobbReport.com. Bermuda Tourism has a full page ad on page 35 and there is an interesting article titled Improving Paradise on page 72 about The Seychelles and their emerging elite eco-conscious resorts. One company, Great Plains Conservation, is restoring one of the islands and the managing director had an excellent quote: “The goal here is to mimic the island's original state. The resort must factor into the island, not the other way around.” This would be an excellent idea/philosophy for the Tucker's Point Club to adopt. I sincerely hope our Government takes the time to reconsider the proposed SDO and the destruction of more pristine island forests.