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Give party’s supporters real input

Dear Sir,

The former MP Reginald Burrows is on point with the manifest division within the Progressive Labour Party, but with a few significant differences. Back in 1985, the United Bermuda Party was very strong, with Sir John Swan still on his honeymoon.

The contest today is not as defined because the One Bermuda Alliance is also divided and has not recovered from its fractures. Additionally, the mood and appetite of the country has shifted towards the middle, where people want a sensible and honest government that is seen to represent everybody. Truthfully, the public are not interested in solving party problems; they want a healthy country.

The problems within the PLP are symptoms of a construct that, like the former UBP, has gone past the limit of its relevance. In other words, it is outdated. The issue of the party trying to fix itself through the voice of the delegates can bring a decision, but not solve the problem.

The issue is not the myopic picture involving 1,000 or so paid-up members, or more specifically a few hundred engaged members; the issue lies with the 16,000 to 20,000 potential supporters who have historically showed up to the polls in each General Election and, moreover, have a desire to see a government that represents them with a sense of dignity and pride.

It is quite easy to muster the support by lobbying three or four delegates from each district who are themselves picked from a very narrow base. The problem is, the little group can no longer define the aspiration of the masses and, in fact, just by admitting to the process are out of sync.

The UBP could not solve itself, either. They wobbled for years after the bell had already rung and finally succumbed after a group called the Bermuda Democratic Alliance challenged the solidarity of their spot.

Similarly, the Mexican struggle within the PLP cannot be solved by the opponents of either side. The only resolution lies within the broader support base. Rather than the 300 defining the 20,000, it is the 20,000 that must redefine the 300. Let's end political elitism and the rule of a political class.

It's not a back-to-the people movement, rather a back-from-the-people movement that must occur if there is any hope of rescuing the mission that began more than 50 years ago.

The original aim was not a party; it was a government of the people, by the people. The party was meant to be an instrument, not an end goal. It has become an object for control and the people of the country that want a better Bermuda need to take the opportunity to put the party in its right place, take back that control and make it a service to the people and not have the people as its footstool to be called upon once every four or five years.

If the PLP hierarchy is truly concerned about the people whom it says it serves, then abandon the confines of the out-of-date constitution, suspend all the delegates and go back to all the constituents to seek a fresh ratification.

Transparency is the key and an open approach will never be defeated. To give an example in the district formerly held by Stanley Lowe, 700 persons will return a PLP candidate, so rather than leave it to 40 or 50 members, organise the entire 700 supporters. Let them have real input as to the direction and who should lead them.


Party problems: former Progressive Labour Party MP Reginald Burrows spoke out about the divisions among members (File photograph)

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Published December 21, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 20, 2015 at 11:25 pm)

Give party’s supporters real input

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