Arising from the ashes
Is Bermuda salvageable or has it gone beyond repair? When we consider a debt including unfunded liabilities that may approach $5 billion to $6 billion on a declining and ageing population, the natural inclination is to envision a daunting proposition with an unavoidable cliff. We have gone beyond what Bob Richards wrote as a title for his book, Back from the Brink. It’s more like finding our way out of Hell or preventing drowning after falling off a cliff.
If we think things couldn’t get worse, well they have — and adding fuel is the emigration of many families taking their young along with them.
However, despite the gloom, Bermuda as an asset is still a potentially prosperous enterprise, much like a failed business that lost its market share through bad management. How many businesses in this world have we seen arise from disaster after management change? The good thing in our case is that there are still plenty of markets left needing service. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder; truth is, everything depends on the eye of the beholder — particularly opportunity.
We do have what amounts to an insurance sector which is perhaps the third largest in the world and which, with a bit of care, can continue to thrive. We may never see the kind of tourism we had in the past, but there is still a large portion of people in the world who will say they would love to visit Bermuda one day, albeit couched in the words they wish they could afford to come here.
Yet, there is much more, which I don’t have the space to elaborate on here, that needs to be presented as a complete business case and model for Bermuda. The real question is, how do we get to the place where there is the intellectual environment and space to be purely rational about all our options?
While we can look at the wayward-youth issue that drains our potential if they don’t become part of a productive instrument for society and the economy, the sad reality is that the biggest obstacle to progress is not them, but the Government and its negative influence on society. Their continued race-baiting and “apartheid” against their own native Bermudians detract from full participation. Once removed, watch the confidence in this place spring back like grass emerging from the winter snow.
There is nothing stronger on this planet than the human spirit. It is time the country be led to its highest potential and not its lowest. We are one human family called the “human race”, which is the only identity worth referencing. It’s time we made Bermuda the showcase for the world and build the “human family” — what we had commonly called the brotherhood of man. That should be the first aim so that everything else follows like the biblical verse, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. (Matthew 6:33)
Yes, the first objective is to fix our identity issue as being that of one human family. It should be easy in Bermuda because, for the vast majority, we are indeed cousins sharing the same DNA. The next step is to fix our economy with the best of our collective minds based on logic, business acumen and a sense of social development.
There exists an innate desire to redress past history, but this can be achieved only with a strong economic plan for the future. The Robin Hood idea of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is not the way forward. Let the rich get richer, but make sure in the process that all the boats in the water rise at the same time.
I do see the strong possibility, if not inevitability, of some Black Bermudians in today’s world and global market becoming billionaires. This can happen if we allow it — and when we do, that extended universe will bring prosperity to the entire island. Then people will return.
Instead, we have been living like crabs in a barrel and this present government leadership has only exacerbated the situation by creating giant crabs with longer pincers.
We need not be coy; we can be relentless in our description of this administration’s performance because it is as clear and evident as the eyes and nose on our faces what they are about. They cannot bring the unity needed to pull the country up from out of these doldrums.
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