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Bermuda could do with a Thatcher of sorts

April 10, 2013

Dear Sir,

I had the privilege of being in the presence of Margaret Thatcher sometime around 2000, among a small audience listening to a short lecture which she gave about the rising of rogue nations and what she perceived as the threat they presented to our freedoms, the rule of law and what we take for granted as our Western values. I understood her concerns, however given her record; I did not think we shared the same methodology on solutions. Therefore I wrote a note and passed it to her, it said “By fostering the pursuit of happiness and liberty and by helping the people of third world through programmes that create housing; education and food, will be a more effective deterrent against terrorism than any bomb.”

Notwithstanding she did open my eyes to appreciate what we have and the causes that have sustained those freedoms I enjoy. I cannot estimate the role she played in the world but as the Prime Minister of England, certainly her grasp of the economy that she inherited, which was in tethers, and doing what was needed to restore it, was a guiding example that will never be extinguished. She made the tough decision to do what was in the best interest of all the people, even though painful. In essence she said in order for there to be jobs and food on your table tomorrow I will yield only to economic prudence and not your demands of today. She recognised that the balance had been breached and the state of the economy was no longer sustainable and therefore ignored the cries of labour and the appetite for the public to splurge. With a hard fight she put the entire country on austerity to save it from self-negation.

Bermuda could use a Margaret Thatcher of sorts, because we are at a similar precipice. We have an unsustainable equation with a government grown during an economic boom which has now contracted and a private sector in the midst of business closures huge cutbacks and lay-offs. Protests do not create jobs and in the long run will not save them, equally austerity alone, does not solve the problem. The country needs a bold economic vision as an investment which will create jobs in the first role and second, become the bridge for economic recovery.

I had prayed for the electoral circumstance that would have brought a coalition for the next few years, but instead we have a brawl at the worst possible time. Currently we have two leaders, Craig Cannonier and Mark Bean, one as leader of the country and the other as the constitutional Opposition. In my opinion they should be having lunch together, and often. Perhaps they could invite Chris Furbert and Ed Ball.

Everyone employed starting from the parliamentarians down through every aspect of the Civil Service needs to sit down and figure not if, but how much to cut. Until we get the job market back, everyone from head to toe need to talk about cuts. Otherwise we will be cut anyway, when we can no longer pay our bills and the country cannot borrow.

We won’t be able to be smug and look at our southern neighbours, whose dollar is worth half ours, if we don’t take the bitter pill of austerity now. Somebody better come forward and lay it out like it is. No blame game, no political politeness, just the truth of where we are and what we need to do to get back on track to a sustainable level of solvency.

khalid Wasi

The late Baroness Margaret Thatcher

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Published April 11, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm)

Bermuda could do with a Thatcher of sorts

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