Straight-talking Bean defines leadership
What is a leader? The answer to that question varies from person to person.
For me, it is deeply rooted in the foundation of shared values and ideals. While none of us can claim to be perfect, we should hold leaders to the values of honesty, courage and a willingness to put the people above personal gain and personal glory.
These are the values that I see in my leader, Marc Bean.
Since getting involved in politics almost a decade ago, people have constantly told me, “Do not become like most of the politicians and lie to win my vote.”
Most Bermudians can see by now that Marc Bean is not such a politician. He speaks the plain truth as he sees it. To some, this is offensive. To some, their feelings get hurt. Yet, from where I sit, being inoffensive and sparing people's feelings does nothing to create jobs, to help build wealth, to put structure in the community or to put food on people's tables. For far too long as a people, we have conformed to the situation we are in because for many a “half of loaf is better then none at all”, with many of us OK with allowing others to scramble for the crumbs that may fall. So long as we don't rock the boat so much that our slice of bread falls overboard.
In reality, we often “find ourselves in the middle of everything, surrounded by nothing”. We must do better and we can only do better when we accept hard truths.
Yet Marc Bean is condemned as being “too honest”.
Since becoming leader, he has spoken out on many issues and condemned the dubious actions of those who hold the reins of political and economic power. While his critics and opponents have smeared him with many false and insulting terms, the one thing they cannot say about Marc Bean is that he is a liar.
When issues of the day are discussed, he speaks what he feels, be it marijuana law reform, LGBT issues, gang crime, race relations, immigration or anything else. Nobody can say that Marc Bean does not give his honest opinion. Some have issues with that, but I would rather a person truthfully tell me where they stand on important issues then tell me what they think I want to hear to get my vote, then turn around and go against everything they said when it's time for them to make decisions on my behalf. I rate honestly very highly.
As well as honesty, I rate very highly Marc Bean's commitment to people of colour being masters of our own destiny. For far too long, many of us have been made to feel like we are victims, as if the world owes us something because of the wrongs done to us and the wrongs that continue to be done to us.
Leader Bean does not pacify us nor throw us a pity party where we feel sorry for ourselves and cry out for help. Instead, he calls for us to wake up, come together and build. He calls for us to be masters of our own destiny. If things in this system do not work for us, he calls on us to be accountable and to build what will work for us: our own financial institutions, our own education systems, our own food sources, our own imports, to take care of our own seniors, our own youth, our own issues.
He calls on us to take pride in ourselves and to take care of our own business, and to stop begging others to do it for us when they have shown time and time again that they have no interest to. He calls on us to stop working so hard to be employees and to work even harder to be employers. This in no doubt puts fear in those who benefit from our demise and they would do all they can to destroy the image and credibility of anyone who would dare to attempt to lead such a powerful movement.
Lastly, although I have many examples of why Marc Bean is an able and willing leader, I will close with the courage and integrity that he has in not only taking the lead in endorsing the One Bermuda Alliance's Commission of Inquiry into the reports of the Auditor-General on the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Bermuda for the financial years ending March 31 in 2010, 2011 and 2012, which will expose any corruption, malfeasance or insider dealings that took place by any government official within the Progressive Labour Party during those times (a move that clearly shows he has nothing to hide, as he was a government minister in that time frame) but also his bold and humble move in taking the lead in pushing for the OBA government to table the Good Governance Act, which would put in place procedures to prevent any illegal or unethical acts from taking place by government officials in the future.
This speaks of a man without fear, a man of integrity, a man not afraid to tell it as it is, a man committed to getting the job done for the benefit of the people.
Marc Bean, Leader of the Opposition, is the definition of a leader.
• Makai Dickerson is the Progressive Labour Party's chairman for Sandys South Central (Constituency 34)