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Deliver or risk defeat ...

Bermuda is about to enter a new chapter in its political history, and much will be expected from those seeking to restore pride and confidence to this island, despite the dark past of social injustice which continues to impact the thinking of those who are reluctant to turn the page.

A litany of events in recent years has caused drastic attitude changes in the populace and how they feel about the current direction the island is moving, along with concern over the quality of our leadership.

This is no tightly held secret, especially in a small society where people grumble more behind closed doors, to avoid confrontation with those they need to be in contact with on a daily basis.

Beneath the surface of the shifting political scene, are those who are obsessed with their own agenda, to a degree where the populace rightfully questions their commitment to improving the plight of every citizen instead being so quick to defend one political group or the other.

Unless we as a people are willing to discard the emotional shackles of the past, that prevent us from moving ahead, we could very well be our worst enemy in the many challenges ahead.

No matter what happens in the next general election, the political landscape has been altered big time, hopefully for the good of the country. The former United Bermuda Party which had a golden opportunity to live up to its name, obviously fell short, despite some initiatives to improve the plight of Bermudians.

Many attribute that failure to the widely held perception that although prominent blacks were in their ranks, the UBP was mainly supported by many whites who were not ready to fully open the door of prosperity to the entire community.

Again that is not a tightly held secret, and even today with the demise of the UBP there are wounds yet to heal from some UBP members who feel betrayed. However that’s another story. One can only wonder what Sir Henry Tucker, who gave birth to that party would be thinking f he was around today. The lesson should be that any political party that fails to deliver for all of the people risks defeat.

The Progressive Labour Party struggled as an opposition party for many years, clamouring for a more level playing field in the quest to move Bermuda forward.

They too were confronted with a number internal clashes over how best to deal with lingering injustices that were spurned from the dark period of racial segregation, and convince the populace that they were not out for revenge if given the opportunity to govern.

As time marched on and many social barriers came crumbling down, the tone of Bermuda began to change. The invisible social barriers were still there, but more and more Bermudians, black and white, were catching a glimpse of a new day approaching with closer cooperation, the key to a better society.

No one is naive enough to expect dramatic change over night or even in our lifetime, but most are convinced that the journey to the brotherhood table the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King evoked is picking up pace.

The Progressive Labour Party finally were voted in to govern with waves of jubilant supporters in anticipation of a long awaited change toward a more inclusive Bermuda.

In recent years with what many see as serious Government blunders in handling the public purse, support has waned with many PLP supporters openly declaring they can longer support a Government that seems more concerned with staying in power, than serving the people.

In other words they saw the Government as failing to deliver what people were expecting, and in any democracy the people have the right to hire and fire the Government of their choice. That right must always be respected.

The One Bermuda Alliance, the new political party on the block, will undoubtedly attempt to learn from mistakes made by the former UBP and the PLP Government, as they set about the enormous task of trying to convince the electorate that the time is ripe for a new captain at the wheel. They know the road ahead will be bumpy.

Most of all, despite political differences, whatever the people decide must be respected, because keeping democracy alive is the door to true freedom. That freedom should always be our ultimate goal.

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Published September 06, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated September 02, 2011 at 2:01 pm)

Deliver or risk defeat ...

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