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Waiting for the order to change course

Bermudians from all walks of life are deeply troubled over what it will take to shift from a course that seems headed for an economic dark hole that could plunge our Island into depths of despair that only those who witnessed true hardship during the latter stages of the Second World War could attest to.

Our present economic situation is such that many hard working Bermudians struggling to keep a family, with hopes of educating their offspring, are wondering how they will be able accomplish such a task in the face of dismal predictions from financial experts that unless this or that is done soon Bermuda could find itself with no means to sustain our functions economically.

Many of our older citizens are wondering how such a prosperous Island could drift into such a dire financial state when, several decades ago, Bermuda was the envy of other countries for its economic success with investors and a flourishing tourist industry. One aspect of that period was that even with negative social policies many Bermudians, black and white, were aware that ultimately we are all Bermudians first, and when things were rough, especially during the war, there were acts of goodwill between the races that proved that racial inequality in any society could never last.

Although great social strides have been made over the years, many Bermudians today see political divisiveness as a potential threat to further progress, as issue after issue with strong political undertones seems to muddy the waters creating confusion over priorities. This is shameful because many Bermudians, black and white, toiled to build this Island despite social obstacles of the past, and that sacrifice should not be forgotten during these challenging times.

Obviously there will be no let up in political sword fighting over just about every issue, but the people who witness these daily clashes will begin to question whether gaining political points has become the main objective, instead of what is best for Bermuda and its people. The SAGE Commision report, with recommendations aimed at trimming Government expenses in order to regain our economic footing, will undoubtedly generate considerable debate since many lives could be shaken depending on how recommendations are adopted.

What is most important here is not what might be done, but how it is done in the interest of avoiding, as much as possible, further hardship among families throughout Bermuda. This is vital because unless every single person is sharing in any economic sacrifice it will appear as though the vulnerable will take the hit. It is easy to

say we have to make tough decisions, but remember the lives of hard working people will always be more important than finding ways to improve the public purse.

The SAGE Commission, in its study of the Island's economic plight, was undoubtedly aware of that aspect during its deliberations in seeking solutions and knew implementing some recommendations could be highly sensitive even if they are necessary in trying to turn things around. It is equally important to have a higher

level of communication between Government and the people on any steps taken in order to avoid misconceptions and misunderstanding on just what is planned and why.

A lack of proper communication appears to be at the centre of the uproar over the planned closure of the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre at the east end, which has been operating since 2009. Research must have taken place to determine if such a facility of that size was necessary for that part of Bermuda. No one would argue that some type of medical facility for emergencies is a good thing for a section of the Island that could be cut off should there be a serious bridge problem. It seems logical that residents of that part of the Island should have been well informed about any potential closing of the facility, before any public announcement was made. It would

appear that was not the case.

When there is a communication break down on matters concerning day-to-day problems, especially dealing with health, one should expect a few sparks to fly. Again we need to cool our heads, and our leaders must spare no effort in keeping the people properly informed. Let's hope this will be the case as we move forward in tackling our current economic problems. We need to solve problems, not create more with divisive attitudes.

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Published November 25, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated November 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm)

Waiting for the order to change course

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