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Misguided sense of entitlement

All Bermudians, just like citizens in many other countries around the world, are entitled to certain fundamental rights. As per our Bermuda Constitution those rights are: Protection of right to life Protection from inhumane treatment Protection from slavery and forced labour Protection from arbitrary arrest or detention Provisions to secure protection of law Protection for privacy of home and other property Protection of freedom of conscience Protection of freedom of expression Protection of freedom of assembly and association Protection of freedom of movement Protection from discrimination on the grounds of race etc. Protection from deprivation of property Provisions for time of war or emergency Enforcement of fundamental rights Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that people are entitled to a job, to have their bills paid, to have food put on their table or to ensure that they are put first just because they are Bermudian. Some Bermudians have a misguided sense of entitlement that they are deserving of some particular benefit or privilege just because they are Bermudian. This sense of entitlement cuts across all sectors of our community. Some in the old white community talk about the good old days when they were a 'privileged class'. They took these privileges for granted. Some regarded them as a birthright never to be diminished. Now some feel resentment that most of these past privileges have been eroded. Some think they should have everything that they had in the past. What is worse is that this sense of entitlement is being passed on to the younger generation. The younger generation just wants everything

now and feels that all they have to do is ask and not have to earn it. Some in the black community, because of racial discrimination and segregation, feel they are owed something. Some reject the notion that the playing field of opportunity has been levelled. No one can argue that we have not made progress over the past 50 years. We have equal opportunity for education and to create, earn and acquire wealth. However, we need to seize the opportunity, know-how and the will to transform our lives to build a better future for our families and our country. We especially have to impress upon our young people that they are expected to achieve a level of self-sufficiency, productivity and happiness in life. We need to encourage young people to channel their considerable talents and energies into positive expressions of empowerment and away from violence and self-destruction. We also need to teach our young people the importance of hard work and personal responsibility and demolish the notion of a sense of entitlement. Most Bermudians and the western world have enjoyed a disproportionately comfortable standard of living. For the most part we are well housed, our children have the opportunity for a good education, and a higher percentage of Bermudians travel overseas than perhaps any other country. We have taken this for granted for so long that now we grumble and even act like spoiled children when we are inconvenienced because we still believe that we should be given everything we want, when we want it, just because we are Bermudian. In order to free ourselves from the limitation that a sense of entitlement creates, we have to accept the following: l Some people have more than you because they have either worked harder and earned it or have not procrastinated and taken advantage of an opportunity. l Bermudians are not owed anything. Don't believe that the foreigner or the Government owes you anything. You should be grateful for everything that you have. l I have never known success to chase you down and fall into your lap. Success is only achievable by those who seek it out and work hard to attain their goals. Due to our constantly changing economic and business environment, Bermudians have to accept that we are going to be inconvenienced and made to wait at times. We must accept that hard work is and will also be a part of our lives. If you want success you have to work for it; if you want respect you must work for it; if you want wealth you must work for it. Bermudians cannot honestly expect to just do the bare minimum required of them and be entitled to everything that they want. This unrealistic view can destroy opportunities in these difficult and changing times. We as a community must be willing to make a sacrifice and change this attitude of taking things for granted and thinking that everything should be handed to us. Once we can substitute this sense of entitlement with a sense of accomplishment through personal triumphs, motivation and gratitude then we will deserve everything that we attain.

Sir John Swan