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Waiting for a new ball

Usually in test match cricket when things get into a rut and the fielding captain is unable to make a breakthrough he relies on the introduction of a new ball to hopefully gain some momentum in changing the tone of the game.

In the political arena trying to introduce a new ball involves much more than rules of play and what might be best to improve a troubling situation.

Bermuda is currently in the proverbial test match of life and is scrambling to bring about change without calling for the new ball. A new ball in politics would simply mean giving someone else a chance to right the ship which is tilting badly and seems terribly off course.

Several years ago there were numerous warnings, mostly from the Opposition, that unless relentless Government spending was curbed we would all be in for some serious economic problems. Government officials scoffed at such remarks as scare mongering tactics to gain political points.

Around the world governments were scrambling to stay afloat after a worldwide economic recession sent major financial institutions crumbling, with the United States resorting to the proverbial new ball of bailouts to avoid total collapse.

In other words, the handwriting was clearly on the wall showing that we in Bermuda needed to make drastic alterations if we intended to stay ahead of the gathering economic storm. Somehow those in authority either completely misread the tea leaves, or choose to carry on as though Bermuda would be immune to what was happening in other parts of the world.

Finally a wave of reality has hit our ship so hard that the authorities are eating crow on those earlier responses to the Opposition and they are now urging wage cuts in just about every area in efforts to negotiate a path out of a dismal financial crisis. It is a troubling time for everyone.

If that was the only major problem we probably could find a way out despite strong political differences. However Bermuda is currently swamped with a number of serious issues including gang warfare, believed to have stemmed from the introduction of illegal drugs.

Imagine soccer matches turning out to be battlegrounds for rival gangs who no longer use sticks and stones. When a soccer match has to be cancelled because a number of players feared for their lives as a result of threats, we have a situation that is already out of control.

I recall attending soccer matches many years ago when one felt as safe there as being in their living room at home on a Sunday afternoon. Those days may be gone forever unless we can find a recipe for re -introducing values necessary for building strong, healthy-minded citizens. We will never have a perfect society, but we certainly should be able to save this island from sinking into the abyss of lawlessness that seems to be slowly destroying our way of life.

Several years ago I heard stories of young men who had to turn jobs down in certain parts of the Island because just being in a particular area could prove fatal. Now we have soccer teams more concerned about where they are likely to play than the strength of their opponents.

It is an ugly situation because a gang member could be living next to a non-gang member and it could be dangerous even to be seen talking together. That is a Bermuda most of us never thought we would see.

Solutions are going to be extremely tough. I don’t attend soccer matches anymore and many fans have openly stated they find behaviour today on and off the field unacceptable. Club officials know of this but it seems they are almost powerless to halt the trend.

In cricket terms if ever there was a time to call for the new ball it is now.

Dancing around the subject with a laundry list of tactical terms could be like juggling with nitroglycerine. Much of the public is in fear over violent crime, but the shoe should be on the other foot.

We need a bold new approach to bring about change. That will not happen over night, but Bermudas survival could depend on how we collectively deal with our crumbling social infrastructure. A new ball in the match might make a difference. It is certainly worth a try.

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Published February 20, 2012 at 7:00 am (Updated February 19, 2012 at 5:02 pm)

Waiting for a new ball

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