What has the PLP done to make our lives better?
Most of us in Bermuda are asking ourselves right now, what has this Progressive Labour Party government actually done to make the country better? To make our lives better? Has it improved the education of our children? Has it delivered meaningful investment in our economy that creates jobs? Has it made the island safer? And has it improved our basic infrastructure like the roads?
The answers to all of these are no, no, no and no.
Here’s what we know the Government has been doing recently: Curtis Richardson seems to have been using his political position to intimidate his landlady. David Burt, the Premier, was on holiday in California, before jetting off to a crypto conference. Wayne Furbert is learning on the job as the Acting Minister of Public Works. As to most of the other 30-odd MPs and senators, it is hard to say what they are up to other than taking a paycheque.
The Premier continues to fail basic tests of leadership. He is unable to fill an important ministerial role such as public works with a capable, competent leader: someone who knows how long things will take and how much they cost.
We will be eager to learn if Mr Burt can pass the test of applying basic discipline to Mr Richardson, especially given the recent Parliamentary Code of Conduct that was passed, never mind basic standards of decency and leadership.
Finally, the entire Cabinet is failing the ultimate test posed by the coronavirus.
They are unable to respond creatively and dynamically to the quickly changing situation, instead falling back on stodgy bureaucracy and inflexible policies that are holding back Bermuda.
In the Royal Bermuda Regiment, I learnt the Corporal's Creed which states that “my soldiers’ performance is a reflection of me”. This government’s performance reflects poorly on David Burt and the entire Cabinet. In an ideal world, and in the interest of all of Bermuda, the remaining PLP back benchers would hold David Burt and the Cabinet accountable for their dismal performance. However, we have learnt not to expect anything from the silent 30, and it will be up to the voters.
Voters will hold politicians accountable to bring the commitment and energy that will create real change in Bermuda, and to be leaders that work for the interest of the public. Voters will demand a government that can carry out its basic functions with competency and compassion. So that one day, the answers to the following questions will be yes, yes, yes and yes.
Can my children get a good education? Can I get a job that allows me to live with dignity? Do I have a decent place to live? Am I safe and healthy?
We look forward to that time.
• Douglas DeCouto, PhD, is a One Bermuda Alliance election candidate for Warwick North East (Constituency 25). This op-ed was written before the Premier accepted Curtis Richardson’s resignation from the Senate and as a junior minister