Move members raise concerns about range of social problems
Bermuda’s high cost of living, violent crime, healthcare and education system were among the concerns raised by a grass roots campaign group this week.
Members of Mobilise Organise Visualise Execute – Move – hit out at what it sees as a lack of effective government policies and called on the community to join their campaign efforts.
Speaking at a public meeting held at the Bermuda Industrial Union headquarters in Pembroke on Tuesday evening, which was attended by about 20 people, Charles Richards, the group’s secretary, said rest homes for seniors were underfunded.
“They are in sore need of resources,” he said. “Some of them don’t have lifting mechanisms for loved ones to be bathed properly or come out from their rooms and enjoy the air. Kitchen facilities need refurbishment and there are staff issues that need to be addressed.
“I am also concerned about the care providers. I believe that the system needs to be revisited, there could be some salary and benefit adjustments. They do not have any kind of health insurance so maybe the first step would be, if you become a care provider, you are automatically registered for healthcare insurance.”
Harry Matthie, Move’s vice-chairman, criticised the Progressive Labour Party’s moves to reforming public education.
He said: “I want to talk about the state of our education system. We need a strong voice to say they are barking up the wrong tree. They don’t do everything wrong, just most things in education.
“I am greatly interested in hearing others’ concerns and the failings that they see.”
Patricia Pogson Nesbitt, playwright, director and veteran educator, said children needed to be taught more about Black Bermudian history.
“I ask [students], what can you tell me about Bermudian history? They could tell me about Sir George Somers, Richard Moore and the Sea Venture … I ask them about Black Bermudians and they will mention Sally Bassett. Our children must know who they are.”
Sir John Swan, the former Premier, spoke about his concerns around increasing violent crime.
He said: “I saw it coming – because I saw people hurting and when the parents hurt the children hurt and the grandchildren hurt. I came here tonight because I feel so passionate about it, we need to get out of materialism and get into spiritualism.”
Willie Ferguson, Move’s chairman, also shared his concerns about the crisis saying: “We look at our country and we see young Black men killing each other. It was quite a while back when Sir John brought it to our attention and we didn’t pay attention.
“I have a service to my country, my community and my people – I will die doing it.
“There is hope and the hope lies within each and every one of us, not a government – we create government by voting for them. I hope that this time we vote we vote with our heads and make better decisions because we are not being represented properly.”
Chris Furbert, the president of the BIU, spoke on the cost of living.
He said: “The cost of living in this country is too high and until you bring it down people are going to continue to leave.
“When are we going to stand up and say enough is enough? We can get six reports from the Fiscal Responsibility Panel and each one of these reports tells the government you got to fix your tax structure. ”
Mr Furbert said the BIU plans to take out a full-page advert in this newspaper comparing Bermuda’s cost of living to other jurisdictions.
Mr Ferguson invited members of the audience to sign up to become members of Move, adding: “This meeting showed us we are not going be waiting any more for the government.
“We want to document your concerns because we need action. I have spoken to different organisations and they are all interested in coming together.”