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Bermuda facing a tough year

As the festive lights of the holiday season flicker off for another year, hopefully some of the wonderful spirit so prevalent at this time of year will motivate people to tackle crucial issues that face Bermuda.High on the agenda is violent crime, with increased gunplay and disregard for law and order. While our beautiful island has not been overrun by this unwelcome activity, the impact has touched just about every section of our community.The Police, who are on the front line of this struggle to preserve dignity and peace, deserve full support from every segment of the community in order to stay on top of things.That’s a difficult task when confronting a new breed of criminals who are prepared to use violence when challenged. A positive sign is that public cooperation has improved, and this must continue.Nonetheless, when taxi drivers are being targeted for robberies and more and more of the elderly are afraid to travel alone or unlock their doors, public safety is still the top issue.This is a Bermuda no one envisaged a few decades, or even a few years, ago. However we must face up to it.Other matters weighing heavily on the minds of many Bermudians is the country’s awesome debt and the economic squeeze that has hit so many families already trying to copeWe all know raising children these days is a challenge, and so one can only imagine the task when the family income is threatened. The problem runs deeper than that. The illegal drug menace continues to eat away at our social infrastructure, with practically every family affected one way or the other.As the country tries to move forward, in a climate of uncertainty, many are far from pleased to have three political groups bashing each other, reminiscent of fiddle playing while Rome burns.Democracy is wonderful in providing a platform for diverse views, but Bermuda seems too small for three political groups vying for power. We know that can always be debated.Sometimes there are situations that demand a unified approach, as we saw in the United States following the 9/11 terrorists attack. In other words, political lines should be crossed in the interest of what is best for the people.Democracy works best when any Government is kept on its toes by a strong opposition. This is not the case at the moment. With so many unanswered questions still hanging over various issues, the road ahead could be bumpy for quite a while.If our political leaders are unable to move away from the mindset of party first, then we are in for rough ride.This is never a problem when a major hurricane is bearing down on Bermuda. We know only looking out for each other will see us through. Somehow that spirit escapes us in dealing with the current problems of the day. No one wants to be on a sinking ship with fights over what to wear before boarding lifeboats.Bermuda can move forward and it should, but only when our leaders are prepared to put the people first, in facing that long bumpy road ahead.