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Clumsy decision-making

During the recent Olympics in Britain many gold medals were won because athletes knew how important it was to have a good start when the gun sounded. A poor start usually resulted in not being able to catch up to claim the prize.

There is not much difference in the world of politics, and in any democracy with free elections those who are chosen to carry the flag of change for the better are closely watched as they leave the starting gate to govern.

In a situation where confidence has been shattered by a previous administration the electorate is feverishly watching the new administration for any signs of crumbling transparency which could signal troubles ahead in being honest and truthful in all matters concerning the people.

The Opposition Progressive Labour Party took a pounding from many sections of the public over highly questionable matters including, of course, their handling of the public purse. Criticism was so severe it gradually eroded their base support, and left the door wide open for the newly formed One Bermuda Alliance to claim the prize at the polls. The people wanted something different and staked their chances with the OBA hoping a new day of Government transparency would unfold.

With so many critical issues at hand the last thing the voting public wants is a squabble at the starting gate over the hiring of consultants by the new Government for whatever in the midst of an economic crisis that has much of the Island still hurting.

The OBA should have been aware that the mere mention of consultants would touch a nerve in the community after the opposition PLP were pummeled for going overboard in this area with lingering questions over how productive many were, despite being paid thousands of tax payers dollars.

This is not an across the board condemnation of consultants since governments worldwide rely on them for various services. However the people are entitled to question anything that seems too far in the shadows to determine whether it passes the test of transparency and accountability.

It is here where the OBA appears to have lost its footing providing the Opposition with ammunition they did not have to be critical of the very thing they were so bitterly criticised for while in the seat of power.

What is even more troubling is that a poor start in this area could become a distraction from major issues that need full attention, not only from the new Government, but also from the Opposition in order to move Bermuda away from doubt and confusion.

A new Government, if it is to gain credibility, must show its hand early in doing the right thing, by operating in broad daylight on all matters concerning the people. Even the slightest sign of concealing, intentional or not, could be damaging to their image as a Government committed to transparency and accountability.

No new Government wants to be seen in a unfavourable light in the early stages because first impressions are not easily erased. It would seem the OBA needed consultants before they became Government. No experts are needed to know that the word consultant should have been on their stop list after so much heat encountered by the previous administration over this issue.

It will be interesting to see what type of damage control is implemented to avoid further disdain over what some view as clumsy decision-making that lacked sufficient thought before proceeding. It is not too late to clear the air, but in doing so there must not be a hint of a reluctance to be open with the public on an issue they feel is important.

This is not a time to make crafty press statements to explain what some feel is the unexplainable. All the people want is a Government that understands fully mistakes of the past and has no intention of a repeat performance.

It will be a tall order but the new Government had better get their act together in a hurry if they want continued support from the populace. It is as simple as that. The ball is in their court.

* What do you think? E-mail acting Editor Jeremy Deacon with your thoughts and clearly state if you are happy for them to be published. E-mail jdeacon@royalgazette.bm

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Published January 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm (Updated January 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm)

Clumsy decision-making

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