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Bean part of the problem, says activist

Infighting within the Progressive Labour Party shows its members are more focused on leadership than policies to improve the welfare of the black community, according to race activist Eva Hodgson.

Dr Hodgson added that Opposition leader Marc Bean has failed to come up with any policies that would uplift blacks from their inferior positions socially, politically or economically.

She was responding to recent articles in The Royal Gazette, which reported how three PLP MPs turned on their leader over comments he made during an interview with Ayo Johnson's Politica website. In that interview, Mr Bean urged politicians of all persuasions to put an end to the “politics of plunder” and using the political process to enhance their personal positions, while suggesting that businesses could hire who they liked, “something that black Bermudians have to understand”.

In a resulting exchange of e-mails, Mr Bean — who has been on medical leave since a stroke in March — was branded “wild, psychotic and disrespectful” by Zane DeSilva while Derrick Burgess accused him of being divisive and a bully and Wayne Furbert said his remarks were “deeply concerning”.

Dr Hodgson, a longstanding critic of Bermuda's political system, said she believes the whole discourse was misguided, telling this newspaper yesterday: “This is what I mean when I talk about the political process being undemocratic. Any time anything comes up it is always about the leadership or maybe about the caucus. You never hear anything about what ought to be done to address the economic disparity between the black and white communities.

“Marc Bean said something to his members about coming up with three proposals to uplift the black community but I have never heard him make a proposal about the uplift of the black community except to say they need to pull up their socks and compete.

“Every time he says it, it fills me with rage because why do we have this disparity? Some people go back to slavery — I go back to 1834 at the point in which slavery stopped. At that point the government introduced policies which were intended to keep the black community in an inferior position socially, politically and economically.

“The reality is that there was some progress before we had political parties, under the Progressive Group who were concerned about the issues and not about leadership. “It addressed the social issue of segregation and we successfully got public desegregation. Then you had collective leadership that addressed the issue of universal franchise.

“Once that happened we started party politics. The black community has made no progress since because we stopped worrying about the black community and started concerning ourselves with the party or the leadership. These articles underscored it for me.”

Dr Hodgson said when she read the interview with Mr Bean she found herself agreeing with his accusations against the party but could not understand why he did not also apply them to himself.

She continued: “The irony is when I read the piece he did with Ayo Johnson, everything that Marc Bean said about his party and his colleagues — all of it applies to him. Being concerned about their own egos? All of the things he was saying, while I was reading it, I agreed with it, because they all applied to him. But if he can see this applying to everyone else but not himself then it is significant. “He says he is stressed out about his leadership role. Why isn't he stressed out about the economic disparity between the black and white communities?”

During his interview, Mr Bean suggested that Bermuda was a welfare state, but Dr Hodgson argued private organisations like Family Centre exist because the government does not have a welfare state.

“He says the government doesn't have a role to play where blacks are concerned, they need to just compete,” Dr Hodgson said.

“Everything has been established to disadvantage the black community in the first instance with government legislation and policies and he says they don't have a role to play?

“I am all for black entrepreneurship but when someone like him says the government shouldn't be involved when it is the government that has established the disparity, it infuriates me.”

Mr Bean has told The Royal Gazette he stands by his criticism delivered on the Politica website.

Respected voice: Eva Hodgson

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Published August 16, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm)

Bean part of the problem, says activist

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