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The elephant in the room

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The Government, its system of benefits and its pensions have grown so huge that it’s like an elephant in a room built as a doghouse. That construct which rewards people for being loyal has matured, and now those loyal MPs are there sitting in place because they were put there to fulfil a role for a party.

At one time when a little of the old morality remained in the nostrils of many MPs, you could count on at least seven or eight — even nine — who had some backbone and would push back against leadership.

I can take the liberty to recall those such as Randy Horton and Wayne Perinchief during the premiership of Ewart Brown. It got to the point that Dr Brown ultimately resigned. Clever selection thereafter attracted those whose characters were more akin to creatures who hide in the bushes and crawl out on their bellies only to be fed. After they have picked up their cheques, they slip back into their dark crevices.

This is what we were breeding for 60 years. We have successfully grafted creatures who are devoid of all political senses and who fail to react to the stimuli of responsibility, moral character and compassion for their fellow Bermudians.

It is universal: the unions, both blue collar and white collar, and now the teachers have evolved at the same time by having the same gene programmed into their DNA. So we have a colossal failure of proportions that could have never been imagined ten years ago, let alone 60. Anyone who pushes back gets pushed out of those unions as well.

The elephant wants more and it is shaking its head and stamping its feet when we don’t feed it or give it the attention it seeks. We can’t change the Government because the 30 are well-groomed and no one dares break rank and mess up the meal plan. Then, if you change the Government, it is impossible to elect a group that will not keep the elephant fed. As such, the civil servant must be an elephant enthusiast or lover.

In times such as these, one has to be like John the Revelator, who said “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” or the words when it was said, “there shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down”.

I recall December 4, 2008 when I introduced what would have been the All Bermuda Congress. I stood saying this was a referendum on the United Bermuda Party. I ran in a by-election, replacing Jon Brunson, in the constituency of Southampton against Marc Bean and Charlie Swan. I canvassed the entire area and I recall the parishioners saying: “Khalid, I love what you are saying, but a vote for you is a vote for the PLP and we cannot afford to let our man lose.”

I tried to convince them that what I wanted was to set a new standard a new way where everyone is included because we would all become members of a congress, with each having a voice rather than a shortlist of party members with little to no voice. I wanted then to introduce a framework where my entire constituency, had I won, would retain the right to decide who stands — open primaries — and also the ability to recall me if they felt I was not performing.

I received 24 votes, including my own and a few family members. I recall the media coming to me asking how I felt after such a loss. My answer was that I did not lose, Bermuda lost! I continued to say, “you will regret it and that day may be soon”. (At this point, pause and please go listen to Lionel Richie’s Still.)

(Welcome back.)

I have stolen nothing from anyone, nor have I ever tried to deceive you, I tried my best to direct two parties towards doing the right thing, and as the record shows and my detractors continue to hold it up and remind me — the latest being Christopher Famous — I was rejected and unsuccessful with either, and lived with failure as my record in politics. But through it all and upon reflection, can anyone truly say I failed? No, I could not convince the masses to do what I believe to be the better way, but where are we now?

Bermuda, we have been taken. We had a man who first proclaimed to be a Black liberator, and touted a former beret cap to prove it, and then he took the country to its proverbial knees — not for Black but for Brown. Now we have a protégé who has inherited a broken and corrupted system, seemingly trending the same way with the same minister and cartel flanking him, minus one who is heading to court.

I have basically walked off the political stage with only a pen in hand and I pray for the country. Maybe some wave of fortune will bring Bermuda back, but it has never happened that things get better for a country when good people say and do nothing.

It is as though we have an addiction to liars and thieves because that’s what we have got. In life, all one can do is put forward their best; the rest is up to nature.

Quo Fata Ferunt, I do love you. Still.

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Published March 27, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated March 28, 2023 at 9:39 am)

The elephant in the room

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