We have to travel difficult road ahead together
The Premier's response to the Progressive Labour Party's overwhelming victory in the General Election last week deserves kudos. In it he has demonstrated statesmanship, using the occasion of the electoral success to “reach out to all Bermudians, but especially those who did not support us”.
In pointing out that “we have an incredibly difficult road ahead for this country and it is going to require us all to work together”, David Burt was formally pulling down the curtain — at least for now — on the partisan polarisation that is implicit in the Westminster system.
The Premier acknowledged the significant margin that his party now holds: “This is an awesome honour and now is not the time for arrogance. It is time for humility and reflection.”
In retrospect, there was some evidence of that same spirit, even during the campaign. This was reflected in comments made by Christopher Famous during a media interview on the eve of the election.
Famous, an exemplary parliamentarian, made it clear that while he and his opposite number, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, represented different sides, they both stood for unity in their community.
The interview with the newly elected Jason Wade regarding his upset victory over Leah Scott, the One Bermuda Alliance deputy leader, proved revealing.
Wade explained that he had not only received mentorship from veteran colleague Zane DeSilva, but that he also had guidance from his opponent, Ms Scott.
In a follow-up interview, Ms Scott further explained how Mr Wade and her son were good friends, and she reiterated that she remained available to assist this new representative of Constituency 30.
This spirit was also evident in Constituency 9, which formerly had been represented by Trevor Moniz for 27 years — predominantly as a United Bermuda Party MP and then with the OBA.
Vance Campbell had represented the PLP in that constituency during two previous elections, and he took on a third at-bat. This year he was joined in much of the canvassing by John Barritt, a former MP of the UBP and OBA. Campbell's resulting victory demonstrated a shift, with implications for the bigger picture.
These three examples point to the spirit that the Premier was speaking to — encouraging all of Bermuda to come together and engage in a “time of humility and reflection”.
Covid-19 has offered a two-sided challenge that has required a spirit of collaboration. We have been successful thus far in addressing the health aspects, thanks to good governance. Post-election, there is a need to ramp up in addressing the economic and social fallout. Additionally, there is abundant evidence that the unprecedented state of play for the US presidential election may add to that fallout. A reality that is beyond our control.
That said, each of us in Bermuda has some control in engendering that productive spirit as we negotiate “the incredibly difficult road ahead [requiring] us all to work together”.
• Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda