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It’s OK having independence talk ‒ but for whom?

Dangerous talk: former US president Donald Trump (File photograph by Evan Vucci/AP)

Talk of independence has arisen again, but this time over cannabis. While I do support decriminalisation, I am not sure there is enough oomph in the overall community to equate it with the subject of sovereignty.

The word “independence” doesn’t scare me, either; it is people who want independence as an umbrella to cover their sins that scare me.

Not to compare, but it’s life and reality — Donald Trump has pledged to let all the January 6, 2021 insurrectionists out of jail with full pardons if he wins the next election for President of the United States. This is just to demonstrate that often there can be ulterior motives behind political moves.

It’s just what they do: every dictator loves a fiefdom they can control, and for them, it does not matter for how long because their aim is to fill their pockets and disappear.

It should be crystal-clear from my past few articles that we do not have a people’s government where the people are sovereignl; we have a kleptocracy where a small segment of the electorate that poses as a party is the real government — and, might I add, principal beneficiaries who govern as though they and company own the country much like the oligarchs of old. That kind of party politics is about winning the pot.

It would be grand if the thought of independence emerged from an ideal or from a particular goal that could be an example of the proverbial beacon of light on the hill. There was jubilation in America when it won independence. There was jubilation during the colonial days when countries such as India, Ghana and others, particularly in Africa, broke the yoke of colonialism. However, as life has proved, winning the battle is not necessarily winning the war. In fact, a lot of zeal from the enthusiast turned into more agony as the new, free and independent rulers used, for the most part, the same inherited system of governance, and the people suffered from nepotism. Instead of people, particularly skilled persons, helping to build the country, many fled from political persecution.

Leaders are too often blind with their enthusiasm and, unfortunately, there is always an element that loves to live close to power and will carry out their agenda and defy people if they need to. In and around 2000, Bermuda had its largest petition posting more than 20,000 signatures of registered voters. This petition demanded that any government seeking independence should consult the people through a referendum.

Politics should be about people; it’s their fates that are at stake, yet somehow we in Bermuda have the whole thing backward. There is a verse in the Bible that says “woe unto the shepherd that leads my flock astray”. People are meant to be one community and there are genuine people in this country that do want the best. There is no need not divide Bermuda for personal gain.

I have heard the talk about having a national flag, but I learnt years ago that one of the principal ideas of a national flag is that every person under it, is equidistant to the flag, and that they are all equal — no one is any closer.

So the real imperative is to create that political and social state of equality at least as an ideal before one considered even a flag. Otherwise, whose independence is it?

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Published September 10, 2022 at 7:56 am (Updated September 10, 2022 at 7:56 am)

It’s OK having independence talk ‒ but for whom?

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