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Young people, you are the change we need

Generation X: usually defined as the generation born between 1965 and 1981

The political scene in Bermuda is in desperate need of refreshing change. Young people, you are the change that Bermuda needs. The dilemma is that while there is a great need for young people with innovative ideas, fresh energy and a new vision, these young people must beware of rushing into frontline politics.

Having previously ignored the advice that I now give, I entered on to political stage at a very young age. I have seen those who are in politics for the wrong reason, or who entered politics for the right reasons but rushed in and did not set up a solid foundation professionally — and when politics was done with them, they found themselves unable to find work or clinging on to any political position they could as a means of survival, as opposed to providing service to their fellow Bermudians.

Before us, many have rushed on to the scene, demanding that those before them relinquish power and embrace a new generation. This has led to nothing but conflict and bitter divides among those who otherwise could have been great counterparts. Regardless of whatever party one supports, there is no secret that your affiliation, support or connection with one party, or a member of that party, can result in exclusion from opportunities, jobs and scholarships that otherwise might have been afforded to you.

I dare say even an exclusion from certain social circles and segments of the community. It is sad, but a reality nonetheless, and if our past and present representatives are honest, they will tell you of these truths. These things lead me to the conclusion that it is better for young people to build a solid foundation for ourselves, and our families before entering into the realm of frontline politics.

There are many things we can learn from our present state of affairs to ensure that we stop this recurring cycle, which has led to political calamity. First, we must remember that you should only enter politics with one goal in mind: public service. Politics and public service can be a ruthless and sometimes thankless job. There will be those who try to tear you down, tarnish your reputation and see your demise despite your good intentions. Don’t worry. You can handle it. Just be prepared for it and have something to fall back on.

Take the time before putting your hat into the ring to learn from those who have walked the course before you; experience is invaluable. You will learn what to do, what not to do and what to expect. These individuals can assist you along the way and provide useful guidance. You will be forever grateful to these individuals, but always remember — be beholden to no one or anything except your duty to your fellow Bermudians. Always maintain your independence of both of mind and deed.

I am not saying that we should not voice our opinions, but be weary of binding yourself to certain positions or allegiances before you have the ability to withstand what comes along with that. Engage in dialogue with the members of your community and your fellow young people. Join the youth wing of the political party of your choice, get involved at the grassroots level so that you can begin to learn, serve and put in the necessary work so that in the future, when it is time to step out on the front line, you are qualified and prepared.

Travel abroad and explore the world and all that it has to offer. Get your education, qualifications and experience in other jurisdictions. Soak up the various cultures, economies and meet people from all over the globe. Build yourself professionally, focus on a family if you desire, and all of these colourful experiences will not only enhance you personally and professionally, they will make you an ever greater representative for our people when the time comes. You deserve it and, most importantly, Bermuda deserves it.

Return to Bermuda having experienced the world and being a “black belt” in your field of choice. Stop at nothing short of greatness. We have reached the time in Bermuda when every fleeting moment must count for something done, something achieved in the cause of a greater, unified and prosperous Bermuda.

Young people, it falls to us to tear off the shackles of petty, ruthless, selfish and divisive politics that has ruled our island for far too long. Regardless of your political persuasion, we can agree that the handwriting is on the wall that Bermuda is in desperate need of change. As we continue on our individual journeys, let us serve notice upon our island that we are preparing ourselves for service, and that we will return and, despite our differences, come back with a unified effort, united determination and common goal for a better and brighter Bermuda for all.

You are the youth of today and leaders of tomorrow. Generation Next.