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Bean: PLP must ‘adjust’ its actions

Opposition Leader Marc Bean told party stalwarts the Progressive Labour Party lost the last general election through their own actions, by losing touch with the people.

Some 300 party supporters turned out for the PLPs 46th annual banquet at Hamilton Princess on Saturday night.

Mr Bean challenged them to consider the legacy they will pass on to future generations while celebrating 50 years of “struggle, tragedy and triumph”.

And he lamented the loss of “Bermuda's first government of, and for, all Bermudians”.

“Through our own actions, our own decisions, and our own behaviour, we lost touch with the people who put their faith in us, the people who hoped that the new Bermuda we offered in 1998, would represent empowerment and freedom.

“It is from that failure that we have been cast into the political wilderness yet again.

“Yet, the time we spend in political exile, can be spent aimlessly wandering, senselessly infighting, and foolishly devoid of vision and purpose, or, we can move purposefully back to the values on which we were founded.

“At our best, the PLP has brought Bermudians together and moved Bermuda away from the darkness of injustice, oppression, and crony capitalism. Our founders had a very clear goal. They sought social and economic equality through the application of political power. We stand on the shoulders of greatness.”

Looking ahead he said: “Today's PLP, and tomorrow's PLP, must never take for granted the real sacrifice that our fore parents have paid for us to celebrate 50 years, let alone to have the opportunities of education and employment, which we now enjoy.

“Having gained and now lost political power, we must ask ourselves; what grade would our founding fathers give us? What would they think of us?

“Some may feel that in losing political power, the movement towards social and economic equality has taken one step forward, and two steps backwards, with the last 50 years having come to nought.

Now is the time he said to “usher in a period of stability, peace, material and spiritual progress” for true social harmony.

“Today, after 50 years of existence, and 14 years of political power, we see a Bermuda in a downward spiral, our people out of work, our families and communities trapped in a cycle of dependency and hopelessness — and our children locked into a fratricidal cycle of death and destruction.”

There's no time better than the present he said to “adjust our thinking, and our actions”.

“As a party, our future depends on cultivating a spirit within the people that encourages a willingness to do for self.

“This ethos demands a shift in mentality from one that depends on government to provide for our every need, and towards a spirit of creativity, entrepreneurship, self improvement, and self knowledge.

“This must have as its basis, the need for personal responsibility, and becoming the masters of our own destiny.

“In educating our children, we must re-educate ourselves to recognise our innate talents, in order to fulfil our life's purpose.

“No longer can we blame others for our conditions. We must learn anew, the value of savings, and living within our means.

“We must reverse the trend of becoming slaves to debt, and sacrifice current, frivolous consumption, while increasing savings and thrift ... the real way to create wealth and prosperity.

“Those of us who have savings must use part of it to invest in themselves, and more importantly, invest in others,” he said.

“As a party, we must be prepared to reduce the burden of government, and reduce our people's dependency on government.

“Like it or not, we also must pursue policies that reduce our public debt, reduce government spending, and put Bermuda on a trajectory towards having a balanced budget in the future.

“Fiscal responsibility applies to our public life, as it does to our private, individual lives. Those who inherit the party in 50 years deserve nothing less.

“As we are today, we are in danger of becoming an obsolete people of no use to business, no use to our society, and no use to ourselves.

“The business community is struggling to employ their own friends and families, so we can no longer look exclusively to them to solve our problems, provide employment for us, or give us a livelihood,” said Mr Bean.

“Now is the time for us to adjust our thinking, become innovative, and begin to look at ways to create opportunities for ourselves.

“We must change the consciousness of our people, from one that says “government must,” “IB must,” to one that says, “I must, and I will, do for self.

“Bermudians must become more productive, and more competitive, in order to be full participants in, and contributors to, the global economy. We cannot afford to be bystanders any longer.”

He concluded: “Now, the generation that our parents sacrificed to feed, clothe, and educate, must step up and contribute in the shaping of our island's destiny.

“Let us give those who came before us the confidence that our island's fate is in good hands.

“Let us give those who come behind us hope, that tomorrow will be filled with greater opportunity, success, and prosperity, than we have today.”

Photo by Mark Tatem Leader of the Progressive Labour Party, Marc Bean delivers the keynote address at the party's 46th annual banquet held at Hamilton Princess Harbourview Ballroom on Saturday night, October 26, 2013. Mr Bean lamented the party's loss of power in the December 2012 general election and said the party must 'move purposefully back to the values on which we were founded'.

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Published October 28, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 28, 2013 at 9:27 am)

Bean: PLP must ‘adjust’ its actions

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