Plan for the marsh
April 18, 2012
I hope you will allow me an opportunity to respond to Christopher Famous, who criticised me in a letter you published today about a story you ran in which I said the residents were feeling neglected due to the lack of remediation to the Pembroke Marsh.
Mr Famous reminded your readers that the Marsh has a long history, and that when it was in power, the United Bermuda Party Government continued to use it as a place to dump all kinds of unpleasant garbage material. By inference, I suppose he was trying to suggest that I must have had a hand in that.
I didn't. I have never had any connection with the UBP, and joined the One Bermuda Alliance because it offered a good alternative, both to the UBP and to the PLP, and to the way of doing things that they both represent.
I agreed to run for the OBA in Constituency 15 in the next election not because I thought I was going to win a landslide victory … I do have, as Mr Famous points out, a formidable opponent in Mr Roban despite his inability to get the Marsh problem fixed. I agreed because I believe, and the OBA believes, it is important to offer the voters of every constituency an alternative to their present representative and the way of doing things that he and/or she represents.
I'm raising as much hell about the condition of the Marsh as I can. I'm doing that because I have heard what the residents there are saying and I think I now have an obligation to them to try to get something done about this problem of theirs. I know things don't happen unless someone tries to make them happen. I believe in trying. I'm not somebody who would be content to sleepwalk my way through the general election campaign just to allow the OBA to say it had a representative in Constituency 15.
I'm going to give it the best shot I'm capable of.
I don't know if Mr Famous realises it or not, but a plan to turn this neglected, dangerous dump into a park has existed since 1987. It was drawn up by architects from Harvard University, and presented to the Bermuda public soon after. It was a good plan, but nothing was done to bring it to fruition.
The Government claims that debt is good and necessary to provide for the people — projects such as the cruise ship terminal, TCD testing facilities and Port Royal Golf Course. Millions of dollars have been given to the same politically-connected contractors, but not one penny has been provided for the remediation of the dump. Bermuda has a mountain of debt along with the mountain of waste!
The OBA has a plan for the Pembroke Marsh. It shows a wide sweeping park of trails, playgrounds and an amphitheatre. Our priority is the people and the OBA is listening to them. They want a place where neighbours can play, relax and connect with each other and celebrate life. They want a place where they can reduce the stress of overcrowded conditions — where their property values increase rather than decline. They deserve to be relieved of the fear of fire and to feel valued. This is what I'm pushing, and what my party, the OBA, will deliver to the people of Bermuda.
But, like Mr Famous, the people have to believe in trying. They have to believe it can happen. I know it can.