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Integrity has been lost

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In 1998, I like many of you were filled with hope after the election of the Progressive Labour Party. I believed in my heart that it would be a new day for Bermuda.

I was a budding entrepreneur with many hopes and aspirations to grow businesses and employ Bermudians. I remember feeling a sense of pride because my party, the PLP had taken over government. I thought it would mean a new way of doing business. I thought it meant that people would be a priority not politics.

I thought it meant that the dreams of those that had struggled for workers rights, living wages would be fulfilled. I remember thinking that opportunities would finally be accessible to everyone regardless of race.Almost ten years later, I found myself feeling a sense that something was wrong. My country is going in the wrong direction.

I realised that the economy was slowly heading towards a recession, violent crime was on the rise, more black men were dropping out of high school than ever before in the history of Bermuda, local businesses were not getting contracts, cronyism was the rule of the game in government, the gap between the haves and the have nots was widening. This was not supposed to happen under a PLP government. So what went wrong?

Too often politicians forget their purpose. We are elected to serve people not ourselves. It is our job to help make your lives better. The goal of too many politicians is to stay in office as long as they can regardless of how effective they are. I decided that the best way for me to impact change was to get involved. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines watching what was happening to Bermuda. Today I am proud that I employ over 100 Bermudians. There are many principles that I have learned in the business world that politicians can learn from.

First, make accurate fiscal projections for the year. As leader of the OBA I will work with my colleagues to promote sound fiscal policy so that all Bermudians can have the opportunity to live out their dreams.

The second lesson is to invest and believe in your people. Human resources are the most valuable resources you have.

As leader I will invest in the people of Bermuda from birth to the golden years. I will also empower our teachers through training and our police with the latest technology to stop crime. I will also use this office to promote “values” education. That is the greatest crime fighting tool when all of our young people understand the values of faith, hard work and sacrifice.

As a business owner, another principle is that I must be innovative and resourceful. We need to look at reinvesting in the infrastructure of our beautiful island fixing its roads and bridges and also looking at renewable energy resources such as solar and wind energy to create jobs.

Lastly, as a business leader I have learned to do what I say and say what I do. Integrity is what we have been missing.

Today too many leaders promote self instead of sacrifice. The best way to lead of course is to surround yourself with others who have experience in different fields. I will do exactly that to ensure not just that the OBA is successful, but that Bermuda is successful

I have talked to thousands of Bermudians who like me, are not career politicians. That is not a prerequisite for success. I, like you, wake up every day trying to make this country better. I will bring to the position of the leader of OBA the same resolve, discipline and determination to lead this great organisation that I have as a successful business man. We have no other options but to believe in our ability to get Bermuda working again.

Craig Cannonier
Craig Cannonier (Photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published September 09, 2011 at 9:36 am (Updated September 09, 2011 at 9:35 am)

Integrity has been lost

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