Jaché Adams: change cannot be achieved by maintaining the status quo
A government backbencher pledged to work for unity and equality in his maiden speech in the House of Assembly.
Jaché Adams, who was elected in Pembroke West in the General Election, highlighted Bermuda’s long history of racial inequality that was bolstered and supported by the Government.
Mr Adams noted slavery, the brutality seen by Bermudian slave Mary Prince, the seizure of land from families at Tucker’s Point and segregation on the island — all of which targeted a “unique group of people”.
He added: “Recent statistics show these very same people earn on average 30 per cent less in income, have an unemployment rate three times their counterparts, represent 98 per cent of those in correctional facilities and 93 per cent of the homeless in Bermuda.
“Beyond the numbers, the shocking part of this to me is that none of those numbers are a surprise to us. It’s as if society has just accepted this as the norm.
“The question remains, when does inequality end and the true equality we seek begin?”
Mr Adams said he would use his time in the House of Assembly to address the issue, but added that his intention was not to create division.
“When the PLP says it is focused on protecting the rights of women, it does not mean we will turn our back on men,” he said.
“When we say we will better include the disabled in the community, it does not mean that all able-bodied persons should be concerned.
“When we say were are here to help these unique people that have endured these unspeakable circumstances, it does not mean that the rest of Bermuda will be ignored.
“I am all about unity, equality and what is right for all Bermudians, but our history has shown this will not be achieved by maintaining the status quo.”
Mr Adams added that there must also be accountability, and that people needed to do their part to address their issues.
He said: “It is too easy to simply blame slavery, segregation and racism for their current condition, too weak to assume that change will come from complaining on the sidelines.
“This government is committed to opening doors, but their success is largely up to them.”