New One Bermuda Alliance MP Scott Pearman has urged people to see beyond their differences and work together for a better Bermuda.
Mr Pearman, who delivered his maiden speech in the House of Assembly on Friday, said a better country was a place where people felt safe at home, had jobs that provide satisfaction, and were able to raise a family.
He added it also meant an island where schooling prepared Bermudians to realise their dreams, and where seniors were looked after.
Mr Pearman said: “This is a vision of a better Bermuda, where people of good will step forward and work together for the greater good, for the benefit of all those who dwell in this special place — our island home.
“It is not a difficult concept and I believe it is within our reach if we resolve to come together, recognising and accepting this fact of Bermuda life that we have more in common than that which divides us.”
Mr Pearman, elected in Paget East in a by-election on June 7 caused by the retirement of veteran politician Grant Gibbons, said people too often focused on “what separates us and divides us”.
He added that it sometimes took a hurricane to bring people together and that the feeling of community lingered even after the storm has passed.
Mr Pearman said: “When the leaves are gone and the trees are stripped back, we can see more clearly one community all around us.
“A Bermuda with many facets, a Bermuda with many histories — but one Bermuda all the same. We can see that we have more in common than that which divides us.”
But Mr Pearman added that Bermuda “was a small community with some big problems”.
He said more and better jobs were needed, along with better education to ensure young Bermudians are trained to fill those jobs and achieve their goals.
Mr Pearman said increases in healthcare costs, the national debt and the island’s “massive, unfunded pension obligation” also had to be tackled.
He warned that Bermuda also faced external threats that could “sink us economically”.
Mr Pearman added it was important to guard against jurisdictions that would take business away from Bermuda and those “who would regulate us to the point where there is no business left to regulate”.
He added: “We must guard against those who seek to dictate to us, who demand that we must do things that they themselves won’t even do.”
Mr Pearman said the island’s success depended on “on our skills and our common sense and upon the friends we make”, as well as the visitors and job creators who come to the island.
“If we put up barricades, we will fail.”
Mr Pearman said that before standing for Parliament he had asked himself what he hoped to achieve.
He added: “My answer was to work hard to create opportunities for all Bermudians, not for one particular segment or another, but for all because we work best when we work together.
“Yes, we have different views on any number of things — that’s what makes life interesting.
“But we can respect those different views, we can respect the people who hold them, because if that principle of mutual respect forms part of our new foundation, then so much else can follow.”