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Disappointing Hayward simply par for the course

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Jason Hayward has been unrepentant over his “don’t want your vote” rant in the House of Assembly (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“Remember, upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all”— Alexander the Great

Bermuda, the recent “I don’t want your vote” outburst by Jason Hayward should have awakened everyone to exactly why Bermuda cannot solve any of its major problems and why the country has not moved forward under Progressive Labour Party leadership.

It is painfully obvious that although the PLP has been in government for more than two decades and has overwhelming political power at present, it does not know how to use it for the nation’s best interest.

Mr Hayward does not speak like a national politician representing his entire country on the floor of its most powerful governing body. Instead, he dumbs himself down and takes on the persona of the powerless, disenfranchised individual speaking to his political base in a one-dimensional rant with the usual goals.

This effort is to deflect from his party’s poor performance and to portray himself and his party as the champions of the disadvantaged, Black working class.

However, this is the same government minister who is responsible for increasing the suffering of the middle class and the working poor by presiding over a dying economy with fewer options for good employment. This is an economy in which a recent poll says that 70 per cent of Bermudians are spending less or going without in order to survive. He must also take credit for governing over Bermuda’s economic slide to ruin while the gap between the rich and poor widens.

He is also the minister responsible for Bermuda’s 30 per cent youth unemployment, hopelessness among our elderly Bermudians, lack of affordable healthcare and abysmal retail numbers.

To add insult to injury, he championed a derisory and pauper’s minimum wage for the working poor that will ultimately seal their doom.

Unfortunately, Mr Hayward is leaving a pattern of failure in his wake while he personally benefits. We remember that he shamelessly betrayed the Bermuda Public Services Union membership by accepting a conflicted role in the PLP government to further his political ambitions.

I suppose that he and his PLP colleagues pat him on the back for paralysing the union from taking an adversarial role on its members’ behalf, precisely when they needed that representation the most. Anyone in their right mind who regards labour unions highly will have to admit the irreparable damage done that sets labour relations back decades.

Confronted with the inescapable disaster of what he has accomplished, Mr Hayward has taken the tried and tested page out of the PLP’s handbook. In these situations, his “can do nothing right” government resorts to distraction and deflection by raising and stirring racial emotions, and inviting Bermudians to distrust and fight each other.

He took it a step further by conjuring the spirit of Robert Mugabe. He sidestepped the ruin of Zimbabwe, but tried to convince us that the Bermuda of today is equal with apartheid South Africa. At a time when Bermuda requires all hands on deck to rescue us from our present economic ruin, Mr Hayward is arrogant enough to tell some Bermudians, presumably White, that he does not want their vote.

Basically, he then went on to outright bash the idea of diversity and inclusion, and state that he supposedly serves only those who vote for the PLP while the rest of the island be damned. I used the word “supposedly” because one is hard-pressed to say who the PLP is serving besides its own politicians and those that are closely connected.

This is the sort of behaviour and words that are used to raise racial tensions to dominate the news headlines that deflect from failure while the price of food escalates, citizens deal with poison dropping on to their roofs, hotels remain closed, businesses fail, capital leaves our shores, Bermudians flee to other countries for jobs and opportunities, young people are afraid to have children, education is in peril and the working class can’t pay its basic bills.

The PLP government, of course, pretends to bear no responsibility while the country descends into the abyss of eternal flames. It does not want us to be concerned and it wants us to blindly ignore the sobering reality that is staring us in the face.

To no one’s surprise, the Premier enters the controversy to play “good cop/bad cop”. He attempted to insult the public by pretending to apologise for Mr Hayward and offering the most ridiculous excuses on his behalf. Ministers do not have to apologise for themselves — their boss, the Premier, kinda sorta does it for them these days.

According to the Premier, the minister, who cannot speak for himself, had a long day and he was tired. His minister’s inability to control his mouth has potentially put our economy into further jeopardy and potentially further stalls our attempts to attract foreign and inward investment.

In any other business or organisation, the minister would have been asked to resign or been relieved of his duties. However, with our present government, he is likely a hero, with many PLP politicians leaping to his defence.

One PLP MP, while defending Mr Hayward during the latest motion to adjourn in the House of Assembly, chose to brag and take credit for how much money international business made between 2001 and 2007. He proudly told the country that he has been told that the United Bermuda Party had nothing on the PLP when it comes to increasing the wealth of international business.

He further boasted that he has also been told that if it was known that the international business sector would do so well under the PLP over the past couple years, there might have been no need for the One Bermuda Alliance. This MP needs a reminder that, while he brags about improving the wealth of international business, the labour class of our country is severely suffering.

While the middle class and working poor struggle for basic necessities, while the price of grocery items is increasing, while PLP voters are being poisoned by Belco emissions, while the Black middle class is being eroded, this MP brags about increasing the wealth of the White elites of the country.

Bermuda, if the consequences of this kind political leadership were not so devastating, it might be comedic and laughable for its ridiculousness. However, Bermudians, especially Black Bermudians, are on the receiving end of this reality and are feeling the socioeconomic pain. Even those who are better off are seriously worried about our nation’s future and have their plan B exit route already prepared.

Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the 2020 General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)

Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the 2020 General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)

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Published March 14, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated March 15, 2023 at 3:04 pm)

Disappointing Hayward simply par for the course

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