Growing concerns about priorities
An increasing number of Bermudians are becoming confused and disturbed, about priorities, especially in the political arena, where transparency and accountability, have become nice sounding words with little meaning, in the heat of conflict between the OBA Government, and the Opposition PLP.
No one is right all the time, but it takes courage and honesty, to openly admit an error in judgement, regardless of repercussions from political opponents, who usually lose little time in taking advantage of a stumble, when it involves the other guy.
What is often forgotten by too many politicians, is that the people who may appear to be asleep, can sense when an issue is being poorly handled, either to protect an individual, or a particular party.
Over the years, Bermudians irrespective of which political group they support, have witnessed countless incidents where transparency was practically ignored, in the interest of keeping an image intact.
Those who expect the highest standards from elected leaders, have great difficulty in sustaining trust, whenever there is a problem which requires a clear honest response, but instead are given a jumble of words that leave key questions unanswered.
Priorities spelled out prior to a general election seem to fade too quickly once the seat of power is established.
This is why political ambitions, often hidden in election campaigns, ignite a sense of mistrust when they surface later, making it almost impossible to trust any politician.
Leading nations of the democratic world, are constantly confronted with this problem, and with our small population, we should be a shinning light, displaying common sense, logic and a truly co-operative spirit in dealing with issues of the day.
However that is not the case.
The not so cold war of politics, has evolved to a degree where priorities have become jumbled and the people are beginning to question whether real concerns such as improved care for many of our seniors, brazen crimes that have residents nervous, excessive speeding on our roads, along with issues such as changing illegal drug laws, and introducing gaming as means to boost the economy are getting lost in the shuffle.
We constantly hear the cry that more jobs are needed to sustain Bermuda. That is really not the critical problem, although few would disagree with that assessment in seeking to rebuild a deeply troubled economy.
What is bothering many Bermudians is that our priorities have shifted, and unless we can reaffirm commitment to our core values such as respect and honesty, we could be drifting of course like a ship without a rudder, or an aircraft without a GPS system.
If our priorities were in order, there would be little need for debate over whether our senior population, many of whom helped to build this island, should be left in the shadows, struggling to make ends meet in a new world of what appears to be thoughtlessness in their day to day challenges.
The old Bermudian pride, keeps many in silence, but that should not be mistaken for a signal that all is well.
Rebuilding Bermuda requires much more than simply finding ways to boost the economy. It will require intelligent, honest discussion, between all of our leaders without the stigma of political ties that poison efforts to bridge the gap between differences.
Our house is not quite in order when it comes to priorities. We have more educated and qualified Bermudians than ever, and yet we seem to rely on outside expertise, on matters that we should be capable of handling.
Yes, there will be occasions when outside expertise is necessary, but that should be better managed with care to avoid public mistrust in keeping Bermudians first.
It is always a tough call, but Government has that responsibility to be seen as spearheading efforts to improve the plight of all Bermudians, in a climate of transparency and accountability.
Anything short of this, has the potential to raise questions over whether much has changed in how we conduct the peoples business.
This is not a time for politicians to hide behind well crafted statements, or blame the press for exposing some irregularity.
The job of the press is to ask questions in seeking truth, whether politicians like it or not.
But most of all, the voters are entitled to demand nothing short of seeing that Bermudians including our seniors are not sidelined in the quest to garnish political support at any cost.
This is also not a time for attacking each other, unless we have no intention of moving forward together to rebuild not only our economy, but to keep as our highest priority, the building of good values such as transparency, honesty, and accountability in all of our affairs.
Most Bermudians want this. The priorities of the people and their needs, must never take second place to political ambitions. The voters are watching closely.