Businessmen could offer government advice
Sir John Swan, the former Premier and longest-serving leader of the country, is unquestionably a senior statesman who at the age of 80 commands the respect of Bermudians and the international community. Naturally, over the years, I have had my own tiffs with him, some I'm still upset about, but yet I cannot deny his tremendous experience as a businessman and politician.
Given the deep, historical challenges within our society, none of which escaped him, the level that he has encountered and overcome in his rise offers him a real perspective, which causes me to ponder over how he deals with what he clearly sees. Of course, I have no way of knowing, but to see a country full of integrity under his watch plunge a little more than a decade later into a status of being a rogue nation for doing business, it must have its effect on him.
To see a country today in desperate need of economic growth in almost every sector, with his own vision of the waterfront development stymied, requires temperance to say the least. What the country needs are the collective minds of experienced businessmen such as he, with an open government to help to guide imaginative development and to differentiate real opportunities from dreams.
Instead, we have a seriously skewed process, which precludes broader consultation and in some ways circumvents the constitutional role of the Minister of Finance, who is solely responsible for the economy. We have a sub-ministry, as a creation, usurping what would be the power of the Minister of Finance.
Again, I don't know, but given his long experience with government and processes, what would tantalise his thoughts on how to make progress under such stifling circumstances?
Having an amicable demeanour obviously is an asset, but he would have to kiss a lot of babies to disguise the pain. Maybe a lot of the gregarious behaviour is indeed a disguise. It just perplexes me to see a storehouse of wisdom such as Sir John, and many others, floundering in the streets with their smiles and at times pontificating at coffee chats while remaining outside the fold of decision-makers, particularly at a time when the country demands it.