OBA invites public feedback on key topics
The One Bermuda Alliance last night threw open its doors to the public to help put together its election platform on crime, education and the economy.
About 50 supporters took part in brainstorming sessions led by leader Craig Cannonier and Shadow Ministers Michael Dunkley, Grant Gibbons and Bob Richards at the Seventh-day Adventist building on King Street.
Mr Cannonier said his group, which focused on crime, named rehabilitation in prisons and better education from a young age as their top two suggestions for breaking the Island’s cycle of violence.
“We need a co-ordinated approach to crime that includes a foundation of education, education, education,” said Mr Cannonier as he summarised the discussion.
“We must start by ensuring our young people from a young age get a decent education. Right now we have a system that doesn’t educate them so they are choosing alternatives; one of those alternatives is a life of crime.
“We need that coordinated effort to get a good education system.”
Mr Cannonier, who joined Senator Dunkley to lead an hour-long discussion on crime with about ten members, said of the prison system: “It’s okay to incarcerate these guys, but they are going to be out in five or ten years and be in a system where they can’t find a job.
“We are going to have to educate these young boys, to teach them the skills so they have the opportunity when they come out to go back into mainstream Bermuda.”
At last night’s event, members sat around eight tables discussing ideas before reporting their conclusions to the rest of the room in a concept suggested by shadow education board member Toni Spring.
“The idea is that the community share their thoughts to help us decide how we put together our platforms,” said Mr Hollis.
“It’s a refreshing way of doing it. I would like to thank Toni Spring for coming up with the idea. She said if we can come together in unity we can move forward.”
Dr Gibbons said his group spoke of the importance of preschools teaching children to a standard that gets them ready for primary school; St George’s South candidate Suzann Roberts-Holshouser said one of her group’s conclusions was that schools need to work harder encouraging parents to get involved.
Mr Richards’ group discussed issues including how to increase investment in Bermuda. The Shadow Finance Minister said the comparatively expensive cost of doing business in Bermuda could be turned to its advantage.
He said people are prepared to spend more money on brands they know and trust, adding: “Bermuda is expensive, there’s not a lot we can do about that. But if we provide the quality, people will be prepared to spend more money.”