Don’t be angry, be resilient
Vic Ball, the former One Bermuda Alliance senator and unsuccessful candidate for Constituency 9, Smith’s West, Vic Ball, recently penned an op-ed in which he called on Bermudians to be angry.
That’s the feeling that the Opposition wishes to incite in all Bermudians.
In times such as these, we should instead be resolute to see ourselves through, determined to come out of this stronger. We should remain focused and committed to the safety of ourselves, our families and our community.
Mr Ball claimed that “none of this was necessary” and that we should have followed the Cayman Islands example.
What he does not state is that the Cayman Islands has closed its tourism sector for more than one year, resulting in thousands of Caymanians without a job. Here in Bermuda, we considered it a moral obligation to those working in the hospitality industry — airport workers, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, hotel workers, holiday rental owners, etc — to get our tourism industry back on track, and we did that successfully last year.
Our government has successfully negotiated the homeporting of two major cruise lines — Royal Caribbean and Viking Cruises — commencing in June, which will bring more than $40 million in direct revenue, work for thousands in hospitality and 50 additional jobs for Bermudians.
We have to ask what exactly is the OBA and Mr Ball’s solution for the thousands who work in the hospitality industry? Should they just be on permanent unemployment benefits and live on $500 per week from the Government? Should we tell St Regis to not book visitors?
What Mr Ball also failed to mention is that since August 2020, our retail sector has seen sales grow month over month. Our real estate sector has seen record activity over the past year as well.
This is because, as a government, we took a balanced approach with people's health, safely opening our economy and taking stringent measures to control the pandemic as cases spiked.
However, despite the best of efforts, the world is now experiencing record spikes with numerous variants. Whether it be Toronto, New Delhi, Brazil or Bermuda, the world is having to grapple with an ever-evolving pandemic.
Unfortunately, there have been some of us who have not complied with well-intended, public-health regulations. The resultant seven-day Stay At Home order was a necessary pause to ensure our health services could catch their breath.
The Government has clearly stated that there will be adjustments at our border, and those adjustments are necessary to keep out new variants, so for the OBA and Mr Ball to be repeating what the Premier said two weeks ago under the guise of an attack is disingenuous.
Bermudians in tourism should ask the OBA: what is your policy?
We fully understand that no one likes to be stuck at home all day, miss school or not be able to socialise. We miss our friends and family as well.
However, to be angry at each other does not resolve the situation or change the realities of what the entire world is facing. We can all do a little better, there is space for improvement all around, but sowing division is not in Bermuda’s best interest.
Do not listen to someone who wants us to be divided and angry, versus being positive and working together to beat this pandemic.
Let’s be determined, resilient and committed to safely rebuilding our economy.
Bermuda, we will get through this rough patch and once again be a global example on how to handle this pandemic.
• Owen Darrell is a government senator and the Junior Minister for the Cabinet Office, Education and Public Works