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Action, not words, needed

One of the reasons so many people in democracies around the world are sceptical about politicians is that too often they have interests other than for the people, as they strive to gain or retain power in a highly competitive arena.

This is not to say all politicians have devious objectives in seeking office. But the gut concerns of the people always seem slightly off the political radar screen, when it comes to action. Instead there is never a shortage of beautifully crafted promises, especially in the lead up to a general election.

Most hard working Bermudians struggling to stay on top of tough economic conditions do not have a great deal of time to wade through oceans of political material, even though it would better equip them to judge who they feel would serve them best.

As a result ,voters use performance as a gauge and that is always the case in any democratic society. When people lose faith or confidence for whatever reason in this area, no amount of sweet talk can reverse the mood without dramatic action that removes doubt about placing the people first.

The question is: What could have happened over a 13-year period of the Progressive Labour Party Government, that would leave so many people deeply troubled over their performance.

Did they do everything wrong? Of course not. So why is disapproval throughout much of the island to a degree where some feel that in the political arena the gap between politicians and reality is rather wide.

No one wants a Government to fail, just as they hope a child will not fail, but would follow golden life rules to become a successful citizen to make their parents proud. It is the same with any democratic Government. ... once they are perceived as a failure in being transparent with accountability, no matter what else they do, nothing short of coming clean will clear the air.

For some time now, bitter and sometimes rude criticism has been levelled daily at Government over a number of issues that include mishandling of the public purse, with no heads rolling, or anyone being held accountable.

No Government should expect the people to be silent over large sums of the public purse handled like a grab bag for opportunists. Neither should any Government expect the people to accept an explanation that steps have been taken to prevent a repeat of such activity, without a full public probe into exactly what happened. The people really want answers and justice.

This is not the time for brushing aside unfinished business, with a barrage of colorful initiatives, and a multitude of promises so vast it almost has a DisneyWorld touch. This country is far too small for opposing political views to produce vicious, nasty exchanges online or otherwise, when we simply need to use as much common sense as possible.

As long as there is a scary insecure atmosphere with job losses and hard pressed families, along with Bermuda's enormous debt, there will be little cheering for words without positive action.

Anyone following the grave world economic state, and you don't have to be a glorified accountant, will know that trying to boost tourism will be extremely challenging since many of the areas being targeted have drastic economic problems themselves. People travel less when wallets shrink. We need our best intelligence to attack this problem and many others. It's not just a question of making decisions. It is a matter of making the right decisions.

Perhaps there is a hard lesson in the recent Penn State scandal when the University Board had little choice but to fire a legendary coach and the university President, not for what they did, but for whhat they failed to do. The matter involved a coach who allegedly molested young students for a lengthy period while the school authorities were aware of the allegations but took no positive action to halt the practice or report the perpetrators to the proper authorities.

The university's trustees lost no time in making it clear that the school and its football programme were not bigger than decency, and respect for responsible behaviour from those in leadership roles.

While opinion among students over the decision was divided, the board was adamant that inaction by these two men may have caused untold damage to victims of sexual abuse.

Here in Bermuda during this critical period we need honesty, credibility, transparency and accountability in order to move forward. Only then will the populace have their faith restored in those chosen to lead the country during a most challenging period. There is no excuse for inaction.

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Published November 17, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated November 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm)

Action, not words, needed

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