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Victory for all with the right approach

Cup fever: Optimists sail around the harbour in celebration of the America’s Cup. The celebration also included performances on Front Street by the Gombeys, live music by Working Title, dancing by Rockfire, an appearance by the Bermuda Regiment and fireworks

America’s Cup euphoria is sweeping through Bermuda as the island prepares to host an event that is a great promotional opportunity.

Here is a chance to advertise Bermuda as a very special place that most of us have the privilege to call home.

Even with this potential boost to our economy, there are those who are sceptical about benefits.

Some feel only the elite will truly gain from this world-class competition in our waters.

However, this could be a shallow outlook caused mainly by a lack of information about efforts to ensure that every Bermudian is made a part of this historic milestone.

The organisers have stated that they would like to leave something special for all of Bermuda when this is over.

Hopefully that special something will be a new chapter in entrepreneurship by Bermudians who are capable of using their skills and talents in many ways. This will require a positive approach from all sections of our communities, and a co-operative spirit from large and small businesses.

It is a golden opportunity to regroup politically, and socially, but it will not be without challenges.

Beneath the glitter of what the America’s Cup promises, like most countries large and small we still struggle to work closer together in seeking solutions to problems that require a more unified and dedicated commitment to being constructively honest on issues of major concern.

While the sailing world will focus on Bermuda in 2017 to watch skilled teams compete in our blue waters for that coveted prize, if we in Bermuda man our sails as a solid society, upholding values for the world to see, the real prize will be ours.

Of course, we should always be on that course, even if we were not blessed with the honour of hosting such an event.

This means we must be careful not to count our chickens before they are hatched. Yes, we have all heard that before.

The key factor here is that as we attempt to move forward with the upcoming America’s Cup, and the development of a new airport, more clarity is needed for people to really feel comfortable that full consideration is being given to what this all means for Bermudians.

The America’s Cup has broad support throughout the island as we await the impact this should have on our economy.

However, a much-needed new airport which is to be built by a Canadian company with an arrangement with the Bermuda Government has raised a few eyebrows.

Although there are details yet to be finalised, some Bermudians are concerned that with the Canadian firm footing the bill it could give them power over who works there. That part of the arrangement should be clearly defined, before the first bulldozer moves in.

It is not a matter of being suspicious about the Canadian company, but without very clear guidelines to protect Bermudian jobs there could be an uneasy feeling that the arrangements are not fully transparent. Communication has always been challenging even with previous administrations, and when people feel they are not getting clear answers to questions, they usually suspect that something might not be quite right.

The right approach is to be clear and concise in all communication with the people on matters of great concern, no matter how technical or complex they may be. When people feel they are not getting the information they need, they are entitled to question those in authority.

Most people I speak with are in full support for a new airport, but they want to know that in the end it will be a Bermuda airport, with qualified Bermudians running the show.

That should be the key objective. It is understood that more details about the arrangement between Government and the Canadian company will be forthcoming in the months ahead, and perhaps there will be answers to many questions.

Bermudians simply want assurances that when the dust settles Bermuda will be the overall winner, and that would not only boost our economy, but will restore pride which has faded in recent years.