Trying to assess the state of Bermuda
Bermuda is still very special to most of us, despite the long journey from the dark chapters of gross social injustice emanating from the era of slavery. Although there are still mountains to climb in the quest to embrace each other, irrespective of race, religion or political differences, few would deny that tremendous progress has taken place. This has been accomplished not without growing pains, for certain, but this is a struggle that must continue.
However, along that road to building a better Bermuda, some things have changed in our way of life when it comes to basic values, and we would be in denial if we choose to avoid facing up to truths about values required for any society that endeavours to achieve peace, harmony, success in healthy and safe environment.
Opinions can vary significantly on the state of Bermuda today, depending who you ask, especially since there are so many factors to be considered, such as our present economic plight, which has resulted in the business arena being forced to make adjustments while being mindful that the heartbeat of growth in any society relies on having as many people at work as possible. It can be a delicate tightrope to walk, but it is a walk that cannot be avoided.
Making that walk extra challenging is that the island is still very much in the grip of political divisiveness, with strong views for and against the process involved in building a badly needed airport to boost standards in serving both visitors and Bermudians.
Most Bermudians with a leaking car and engine problems that grow worse with each passing day know that the solution is to purchase a new machine to meet their travel demands, especially if children are involved. There are times when many families are stretched to the limit, but somehow they manage.
The Bermuda Government has outlined the process involved, which, according to finance minister Bob Richards, is to be carried out through a development agreement between the governments of Canada and Bermuda, with arrangements in place to protect the island and its control over the new facility. There have been strong opposing views that the scheme could mean heavy debts in the future over the cost involved. Economic experts would probably be better able after extensive study of the plans to shed light on whether the process has validity or not.
We will leave that issue for a moment because there are other problems that need close attention. Schools are closed for the summer break, but only recently we had reports of many students attending class without lunch kits. In fact, many students arrived at school without breakfast, and that is a situation that runs against the grain of what Bermuda is supposed to be. Although efforts through volunteers help in getting meals to children in need, organisers have stated that much more needs to be done. Even one child sitting at a desk without breakfast is unacceptable.
Apart from that issue, we have serious traffic problems with so many vehicles using roads that are no wider than they were during the war years. And with modern cars and high-speed motor cycles, the potential for mayhem is always there. The situation is made worse with hostile attitudes from some motorists who show little regard for rules of the road or for safety. During peak rush hours, it can be quite scary.
It is accepted that with progress many things change, and most Bermudians are prepared to make certain adjustments where necessary. However, antisocial attitudes with a violent tone is disturbing Bermudians, who are beginning to feel a part of our culture is eroding. We often hear cries of this of that should be addressed after a serious incident. It has the ring of trying to start a fire brigade after the building has been reduced to ashes.
The state of Bermuda will not get better until the state of the family is made stronger. Although some may frown on this statement, back in the Forties most children attended Sunday school somewhere. It was simply a part of the family activity, and certain things would happen if it was not complied with. No need to mention what is happening today, and we will leave it at that.
The state of Bermuda is not in a bad way by any means, but we are faced with issues that should bring us closer together, rather than have us so divided politically — and often socially. No one person or group is in possession of all the answers to our challenging problems. Only collective calm thinking will usher us into a new chapter of a Bermuda that, while not perfect, should be an example for other societies. That can be achieved, but only if we are willing to work together.