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Political leadership and what is expected

Great responsibility: being in the position of leadership in the political party system requires considerable commitment to transparency and skill when it comes to handling complex issues

Under dictatorial regimes, the people have no say over whether a policy is good or bad for the country. Dictators are not concerned about what people expect from them, but rather what they expect from the people — without question. It is a nightmare state of human existence that much of the world has battled for centuries.

Each year, thousands die trying to escape conditions where there is no freedom or human dignity. That is why in most democratic jurisdictions, leaders are expected to leave no stone unturned in upholding the highest standards of transparency, decency, respect and honesty in protecting the human rights of all citizens.

However, in the world of politics where motives are often obscured for a number of reasons, leaders are watched closely by the electorate since it is not uncommon for power and authority to result in a shift in commitments made while seeking office. When that happens, questions arise over whether the people are being served as the highest priority. No leader is perfect, and that is not what the people expect. They do, however, expect a leader to be seen and heard, and being dedicated to basic sound principles that are an example for others. Good leaders stand firm even when taking action that may ruffle feathers when they are convinced of doing the right thing. Being in the position of leadership in the political party system requires considerable commitment to transparency and skill when it comes to handling complex issues — both within the party they represent and in dealing with opponents on contentious matters. This means a good leader should think carefully before uttering words that divide instead of build bridges of co-operation that are needed to solve some problems collectively.

With our Parliament set to resume after the summer break, the One Bermuda Alliance government and the Progressive Labour Party will continue efforts to gain or maintain support from the populace as another General Election looms in the not too distant future. Most of the electorate, and that includes supporters on both sides, are hoping for positive, constructive sessions, irrespective of strong political differences.

There are too many vital issues at hand that need urgent attention for any repeats of members losing control of emotions or tempers with ugly exchanges during disagreements, while carrying out the people’s business. There will be heated moments from time to time, but members must be mindful that people of all ages are watching, and future generations need good examples to build on.

Bermuda is facing challenging times with what seems an increase in bold robberies, not to mention a gang culture that continues to destroy too many young lives. Of course, there is much to look forward to, with the America’s Cup in the new year and the news that our tourist industry appears to on the upswing with a steady increase in regular visitors.

While all that is promising, our leaders must keep an eye on the whole picture, which includes Bermuda and the people. Our parliamentarians will be dealing with a wide range of sensitive issues and one can only hope they will do this with the utmost respect for decency, placing that above party allegiance. The Bermudian people deserve nothing less.