You’re invited to make change happen
This evening at the Southampton Princess Hotel the One Bermuda Alliance will launch a new era in Bermuda's political life.
It will be the party's first leadership election. It will be the first election for party leaders that is open to every single party member on a one man, one vote basis; and it will be the first direct election of a new Opposition Leader.
These firsts are in keeping with our pledge to turn to a new page in the way politics is conducted in Bermuda.
We created our party to make Bermuda's political system more inclusive, more transparent and more collaborative. We think of it as Democracy with a capital D.
We organised ourselves to include Bermudians from all walks of life who want to see change in the way politics is conducted. Our aim is to operate as a broad church open to all who wish to join. Anyone can participate tomorrow night as long as they are a signed up member of the party, on the Parliamentary Register and present a photo ID. And the membership roll is open for 90 minutes right up until the conference begins at 7.30pm.
Some people have questioned whether this openness is a smart thing to do. What about spoilers who have no wish to see the OBA succeed? We're not concerned. Our commitment is to bring about change and we have to give Bermudians every opportunity to make that happen.
Tomorrow's election puts forward two excellent candidates for Party Leader in Mr E T (Bob) Richards and Mr Craig Cannonier. Both gentlemen are committed to putting Bermuda first, getting it back on track and working again. Both gentlemen are committed to politics based on OBA founding principles that will serve Bermuda well today and forever. Those principles are Opportunity, Responsibility, Integrity, Transparency, Fairness, Inclusiveness and Service.
Bermuda's political leadership has lost touch with principles that should be the anchors for the Island's decision-making. Too many times, they have failed to put Bermuda first, and this has damaged the Island in significant ways. The shocking escalation of government debt in the past five years, now more than $1.2 billion, has really hurt the Island's ability to fight the recession in ways that keep people working.
For too long, Government ministers were taking care of themselves first, ahead of the people of this Island. This is a fundamental difference between the two parties and why we say in our advertising: “Not me first. Not Party first. Bermuda first!”
Putting Bermuda first is the number one commitment both Mr Richards and Mr Cannonier represent, along with the rest of the OBA slate on Saturday night. Party members will also hear from Messrs Michael Dunkley and Trevor Moniz who will vie for the Deputy Leader post, and Mr Michael Branco, Ms Karen Magnum and Mrs Jeanne Atherden who will contest for the deputy chairmanship.
All of these people are committed to change in politics making your government more open, more responsive, more accountable. But to make it all happen, we need you there. Come listen to the speeches. Cast your vote. Help bring about change that puts Bermuda first. It's time, don't you think?
Michael Fahy is the chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance