Bermuda can not risk political immaturity
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Many religious people will recognise the above quote from the Bible, but regardless of your beliefs I think it makes a critically important point about maturity. Quite simply, it speaks to the need to grow up and do things differently when one becomes an adult.
As I watched Michael Dunkley deliver his America's Cup speech, and I see his name printed in international periodicals like the New York Times and CNN, I can't help but wonder about the dangers of political immaturity.
Just imagine if Bermuda's Premier had spoken about demonic political parties, gay marriage upending civilisation or had called an ex-Senator a ten cent political whore, who is passed between friends. Could we have secured an event like the America's Cup? Quite possibly not.
The America's Cup rules stipulate that the previous winner determines the venue for the following championship. That would be Team Oracle. Team Oracle is owned by Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation. In September of 2014, Ellison announced that he was stepping down as CEO, and will be replaced by two others.
One of the co-CEOs happens to be Safra Catz, who is now considered to be the highest-paid female executive in the world. I sincerely doubt that she would suffer Bermuda's ignorance towards women.
Multiple high-end brands can be found on the sides of these vessels. When organisations like NoW (National Organization for Women) and GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) see big business involved with misogynistic/homophobic persons, organisations and countries, they pressure those brands to sever those business ties.
To be clear, I don't think that any woman or homosexual should be subjected to chauvinistic, misogynistic or homophobic behaviour. But I think it's critically important for us to understand that such comments can destroy business opportunities.
Had Dunkley made such comments, the America's Cup may well have been lost to San Diego. Bermuda can't afford such mistakes. The same political immaturity that can kill our economic survival also drives the PLP's solidarity process for burying its failures, misdeeds and shortcomings.
Consider the fact that the PLP refused to even acknowledge the C33 allegations until after the OBA staged a protest during the Reply to The Throne Speech. Following the Sherri J interview, several PLP supporters attempted to justify the alleged comments, others attacked those who demanded accountability, and the remainder refused to comment. This failure to hold Bean accountable is also no different from what we saw throughout the PLP's fourteen-year rule.
No matter how many investigations, no matter how many reports about questionable conduct, no matter how many demonstrations of fiscal incompetence and no matter how many displays of sheer contempt for the voting public, genuine accountability was something we never saw.
By 2012, voters allowed the PLP to lose all moral conscience, and thus it ran one highly questionable candidate after another. It was as if there was a blatant assumption that voters had to prove their worthiness by voting for the PLP unconditionally. That assumption fell on deaf ears back then, but there's no sign the PLP has changed.
If anything, there's every indication that the PLP has returned to its 2012 strategy and is seeking every opportunity to awaken “delinquent” voters from their slumber. As such, the 2014 strategy still remains the same: say nothing, deny everything, do nothing, attack anyone and then wait for it to fade away.
Although two PLP MPs have displayed some courage by making vague comments about derogatory statements, the vast majority have failed to make themselves heard. Consequently, the PLP doesn't mature as long as its voters are willing to remain silent.
This self-destructive behaviour is to everyone's detriment because we are dependent upon the kind of foreign capital that demands we behave like mature, reasonable, accountable adults.
The world that Bermuda depends upon for its survival doesn't tolerate misogyny and homophobia in the way we currently do. With $2 billion in debt and a crippling recession, we can't support this. Quite simply, political immaturity is bad morally and it's bad for business. Those PLP supporters who know better must speak up, because their continued failure to hold the PLP accountable results in the perpetuation of volatile, vitriolic and reckless leadership.
Should that kind of leadership be returned to power, or should potential investors believe such leadership is a possibility, we should expect negative results similar to that which occurred prior to 2012.
This time however, we won't have the financial stability to sustain the damage.