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Leadership comes with an unwritten code of honour

Scolded by the premier: Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

As a columnist I don’t wish to be partisan by failing to speak about any matter of public concern. The recent remarks that the Minister of National Security confirms to have been said by him are graphic and concerning.

No, it’s not the first time a minister holding an important post has committed a gross act. We have had children fathered in cases we know of, and I’m sure we would all be surprised and taken back by the acts we know little or nothing about.

Part of leadership is modelling, which is a social function. Actions as leaders set the tone for society. It is not that we require perfect morality, but we see right now what’s happening in the United States when there is a lack of enforcing a code for leaders.

Yes, and at times I have thought they have gone to far with #MeToo. However, what is more disconcerting is the hypocrisy when some individuals’ entire career has been compromised and in some cases destroyed for their misdeeds. Then to retain a president, a blind eye is cast for issues and acts that would make some those who have resigned look like kindergarten kids. It has been said you don’t know a man until you give him power.

This not a Progressive Labour Party matter; this is a leadership matter where both party leaderships have had individuals who used their position as a prop. It happened as far back as the days of the United Bermuda Party, and more than likely before them. The One Bermuda Alliance did not escape scandal, either, if we should recall.

So we don’t need to go on a witch-hunt. But when incidents arise, what remedy do we need to show we do not tolerate this type of behaviour? It was good that the minister apologised and it was equally good that the Premier scolded him for his behaviour.

I was present at a big hotel when a patron asked the female bartender the price of a beer. When she told him, he noted the high price and asked her if that came with a “little h**d” also.

Given that he and the gentleman that he was with were seemingly important businessmen, they used their influence among some unlearned staffers and managed to evade being arrested and legally confronted over this act and comment.

But what about the poor bartender, a married lady out at night trying to make a living? What about her concealing this from her husband to prevent him overreacting?

An apology may perhaps be politically correct, but does it help the victim? Is it enough to set in place that we as a country will not tolerate that behaviour from our leaders?

In law, it is about what happens when one gets caught running afoul of the law. It is not a simple, moral judgment against an individual because everyone at some stage is guilty of something.

The minister may be a fine individual, but the ethical question is what should happen when he is caught. The tragedy is when the matter turns into a political contest between parties. We just need to look at the US and see this drama in classic form. The Republicans are wearing the toughest armour to shield from a continuous barrage of attacks from the Democrats about the words and actions of the president.

We do not need that scenario in Bermuda, but if you read social media you will get a semblance.

Let’s be fair and not allow our leaders to feel comfortable by usurping what should be honourable positions to defame us.