Letters to the Editor
Force for change
February 25, 2011
Unfortunately, despite a couple of your recent correspondents' insistence that the UBP's record is virtually unblemished, that is not the case.
The UBP was initially formed as a knee jerk reaction to the formation of the PLP. I was there and I remember.
Sir Henry Tucker forcefully got the point across that if certain changes were not made, and made quickly, Bermuda was going to go up in smoke. I cannot say whether Sir Henry's views were driven by a social conscience or simple pragmatism. I suspect the latter with a smattering of the former.
All of that would have been well and good had the majority of UBP founders been driven by feelings of remorse, and a determination to make Bermuda a fair and equitable place for all Bermudians. Had that been the case, Bermuda's history, from 1968 to the present day, would have been completely different. It would have been different in many important areas. The two political parties would have evolved into distinct political camps. Back in the 1960s, when the PLP adopted its name, 'labour' meant 'black'. Had the UBP genuinely represented what it claimed to represent, it would have become the labour party. Knowing the PLP as we do, it's not beyond the realm of reason to imagine the PLP as the conservative party. Now there's a thought. Without a doubt, the philosophies of the two parties would not have been race-based in 2011.
But the backbone of the UBP was not composed of a new breed of liberal whites anxious to redress the wrongs of the past. The party base was composed primarily of whites mainly merchants who regularly spoke out of both sides of their mouths at the same time.
As an illustration I was a member of the Under Forty Caucus. I was about 35 at the time and there was a largish group of us who thought naively that we could initiate a genuine social conscience within the UBP. Julian Hall was there and so was Joe Gibbons. Lynne Winfield and her then husband, Mike Winfield, were there also. One day a group of us met with the Premier (a wealthy, white businessman) to discuss a policy matter. In the course of that meeting, blithely assuming we were all on the same page, he said that he would be happy to make a public statement indicating a liberal stance, because he was confident Front Street would know he didn't mean it. To my mind, that said it all.
The major social changes that took place after the l968 UBP victory at the polls were a result of carefully crafted political agitation from the PLP. The PLP parliamentary members and the party as a whole consisted of highly motivated and knowledgeable political thinkers and agitators. Politically, they sailed circles around the UBP.
The PLP knew that if it frightened the government, the UBP would come up with some necessary economic and social changes Bermudianisation is a perfect example.
As already mentioned, the UBP was formed to stop the PLP from gaining too much momentum. The UBP government policies were based on giving a little here and there, to keep people quiet. But eventually everything was going to come apart at the seams and sure enough, it did.
There were those within the UBP who did work hard to convince the party that sincere change was imperative. However, they were the minority and history proves, by and large, that they failed. The force for change was the threat of the PLP.
February 25, 2011
Allow me to comment, as an interested outsider on the Tucker's Point SDO yet from a different perspective.
I have taken delight in visiting Bermuda for the last quarter century, and have been following events in Bermuda via The Royal Gazette online. This is my first letter, however.
What prompts me to write is this: I visited the website tuckerspoint.com, since it was linked-to in the Gazette. On it, I found a promotional video. (http://tuckerspoint.com/dvd/dvd.html)
I watched it, with great admiration. The video shows the kind of Bermuda everyone would like to visit, and the kind I have seen disappearing relentlessly under the bulldozer over the last twenty-five years. It is a masterpiece. We are treated to a series of idyllic scenes, classy classical soundtrack, and a mellifluous voice-over.
Let me pick out some gems:
“... unique in all the world, ... an island paradise, ... as ripe and bountiful as nature at its finest. ...paradise at its most civilised ... Bermuda at her dazzling best. ... more than the nation's largest expanse of private land, Tucker's Point is blessed with Bermuda's most enviable geography ... fairways are strewn like emeralds across an azure sea. ...rolling hills and rugged cliffs, crashing waves and gentle surf, a vibrant community, with the serenity of open space.... secure in a private haven...”
And the punchline?
“A final offering of residential property is now underway. And some say, the Club has saved the best for last.” (Well, quite.)
And then there is the unintended irony of the finale:
“This is the moment. This is the place. This is an invitation that can only be made once ...”
The “product” is exclusivity, greenery, nature, unspoilt views. This is the product rich people want. And yet, according to the video, that very product is already there! (And it is not working!) Why develop the site with bulldozers? “Exclusive and secluded” does not increase with higher density housing! In any case, the target audience is not the kind that spends money in everyday-Bermuda-at-large. The SDO cannot be about “tourism for the economy”.
The video is a great work of art. The next generation of advertisers will have to work even harder. It will not be easy to pull the wool and spin the yarns to bring in tourists, once Bermuda has lost its way, by losing its last open views and rolling hills ...
Bermuda, please do not disappear in the triangle formed by the three initials of Shortsightedness, Duplicity and Opportunism.