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Killing the Bermuda spirit

With rumours of a general election soon once again circulating, the people of Bermuda will have front row seats as the tug of war of political power players takes centre stage.

Yes, we have seen it before, this battle of who knows best, against a backdrop of who actually did the best when it comes to the everyday lives of the populace. This is where the crucial battle will be focused as those in power seek to convince supporters that there is no need to change while opposing political forces will endeavour to prove Bermuda needs new leadership to move forward.

Those arguments are especially critical as Bermudians hope to climb out of a period of uncertainty and doubt about the direction the country is moving.

With a history of division on racial lines, even in this new day of social progress, no election is held without the undercurrent of voting trends that emerged largely from that sad period of social injustice. There are many on both sides who place this higher than solving critical problems of the day when they cast their ballots.

However a major hurdle will be the ability to rise above emotions and anger over the past, in order to get a clear picture of what Bermuda is really facing and what steps should be taken to improve a situation that is quietly killing the true Bermuda spirit.

There are still many Bermudians, black and white, who move about in their daily chores hoping for a better climate that will also benefit our children and our future. They are also aware that much will have to change in coming to grips with major issues that confront our society.

The economic situation is staggering. The number of families being affected is expanding rapidly, and how we reached this stage disturbs many who feel watchers of the public purse failed in their duty, even though economic storm warnings were flashing for all to see.

Even those without accounting skills know that something went dreadfully wrong in guarding the public purse, and that cannot be brushed aside with lofty promises of making things better now. This is where we must be careful to keep emotions at bay because too often when criticism is levelled on this subject it is viewed by some as Government bashing. That could be expected since democracy provides that outlet of expression.

There are many unanswered questions over the handling of the public purse and any Government of the day must be willing to earn up to having made crucial mistakes if it turns out to be the case. It should never be assumed the people will simply smile and say, let's not worry about that.

Despite promises of transparency and accountability, something must have happened along the way that caused a shift in having those values as a priority. Much of this will be swirling around in the heads of voters when they make that step that will favour one political group or another.

People seemed to have reached a stage where they have lost faith in a political image. What they really want is decisive action to tackle problems such as crime, joblessness, healthcare, dismal tourism along with the underworld of illegal drug activity. All of these factors take a heavy toll on family life, and the foundation for any society rests with the quality of the family.

If Bermuda is approaching that fork in the road, some soul searching and hard decision making will be required from the populace. Elections have a way of bringing out the best and the worst of politicians at times, and that too is democracy at work. However Bermudians are not looking for a nasty spell of political rhetoric in the lead up to going to the polls. They know they want something better, and whoever makes the best offer might get their support.

Our future will depend on working together in a new age of transparency and accountability. That could be a tall order, but that is what we need.

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Published March 04, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated March 04, 2011 at 9:19 am)

Killing the Bermuda spirit

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