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Caines: protest pushed me to become MP

Minister of National Security Wayne Caines said that the December 2 protests marked a turning point that spurred his journey into Parliament.

During an impassioned maiden speech in the Motion to Adjourn on Friday night, Mr Caines said he felt compelled to commit to politics after watching from the sidelines as his fellow countrymen fought for what they believed was right for Bermuda.

They were protesting against the airport redevelopment project, with some blocking the House of Assembly, when there was a clash with police officers who deployed pepper spray.

Mr Caines told MPs: “I felt sick to my stomach of what I saw. I felt sick to my stomach of myself. How could I sit on the side and watch others stand up and fight? How could I sit on the side and watch my colleagues put everything on the line when I was gifted with so much and blessed with so much?

“That was a turning point in my political existence. I knew that I had to step up to the plate. I could no longer find or use excuses for not serving the people of Bermuda in the House of Parliament.

“To be clear — I have always served the people of Bermuda but things crystallised last year. I could no longer walk separated from the political leadership from within my country. And so the question becomes what legacy are we leaving for the next generation?”

Mr Caines, who previously served in the Senate during the Ewart Brown administration, saw off the internal challenge of former premier Paula Cox to win the right to run for the Progressive Labour Party in Devonshire North West at the General Election in July.

He then reclaimed the seat for the PLP by convincingly defeating Glen Smith of the One Bermuda Alliance, as well as Ms Cox, who was running as an independent.

On Friday, Mr Caines spent much of his speech thanking the people who had contributed to his success over the years who ranged from parliamentarians, fellow canvassers, teachers, instructors, his “church family” and his own family.

He made particular mention of his wife Maxanne and his 20-year-old daughter Maxanne Jr, who he said had acted as his campaign manager in the run-up to July's election.

“She put together an innovative, engaging and professional campaign. She showed political wisdom beyond her years and I would venture to say that she is destined for great things.”

While Mr Caines faces some of the biggest challenges afflicting the island as Minister for National Security, including the scourge of gang violence, he also spoke of the more parochial issues affecting Constituency 14, from the challenges at Cedar Park to the need to support Prospect Primary School. He revealed that he and his group of canvassers knocked on 1,200 doors in the run-up to the election.

He also emphasised how Bermuda must stay ahead of the game and grab the opportunities that come along.

“It is the responsibility of us to create a Bermuda where everyone can thrive. This government understands that we must make moves quickly into cryptocurrencies to create new and legitimate opportunities for Bermudians.”

Highlighting “escalating crime and the lack of jobs”, he pledged: “Your government knows the concerns and we will work tirelessly to find solutions.”

He also hoped Bermudians can live more cohesively and work together for a better future for all.

He said: “We can stay on this road that is divided by class or colour, by private school, by public school, by black or by white, by the haves or the have-nots, or we can choose to see the best of who we are by confronting the evils like race, acknowledging the pain that divides us.

“I believe that we can make Bermuda a better place for all. I believe that we are on the cusp of transformational times.

“I decided to dedicate my life as a public servant because I love my country, because I cherish the Bermuda of today and I believe in the Bermuda of tomorrow. I cherish the potential that I see in the people today.

“However, I believe that if potential becomes action we can change the trajectory of our children tomorrow. I believe now more than ever that for the sake of our society and for the sake of our children we can work together as one country, one people to shape the Bermuda of tomorrow.”

UPDATE: this article has been amended to reflect that Wayne Caines said he and his canvassers had knocked on 1,200 doors, not 12,000.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security

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Published November 20, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 20, 2017 at 3:52 pm)

Caines: protest pushed me to become MP

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