Opinion

Dream of an inclusive society must prevail

Over the many years that I have been writing, I have tried always to be honest and impartial, which meant at times suppressing my own self-interest and avoidance of reacting to knowledge of continuing injustices, particularly when levelled at me. Often I can recall being enraged and needing to distil my anger, and deciding to take the higher road and speak to the broader wellbeing of the community rather than use the pen to vent my own frustrations, even if justified.

However, transparency is important in politics and journalism, therefore its only proper to disclose personal interest, which has a way of allowing the public to gauge the objectivity of arguments that are placed before them. I am not immune to personal bias, my opinions are not revelations from a higher state of consciousness, rather they are observations based on experiences and reasoning from the best of my intellectual ability.

Therefore I must disclose there are two items, which could affect or colour my thought processes, and on both I have tried to be judicious by offering my ethical or rational opinion, rather than raw sentiments. Both are public matters and are hinged on legal process; hence it would be sub judice to offer detail. But, given their eventual publicity, would not want future discovery cause me to say the infamous words “I had to deceive them”?

The first issue underscores my unfortunate distinction of having litigations against all three governments, each being matters of repression. I clearly understood the left and right-wing political drama of the previous two governments, but the present government being no different was a disappointing continuation of bullying and gross insensitivity, which can only be regarded as malice by successive elitist hierarchies.

The second matter was the cancelled waterfront contract, where the Government had to create retroactive legislation to deprive the developer of his contract. If the contract was illegal, all they needed to do was go to court and have it annulled. However, because the developer’s contract was not illegal, they had to resort to potentially illegal and dark means to disrupt the contract. That they made no attempt to ameliorate the contract and offer a renegotiation that may have led to a mutually satisfactory arrangement, but instead hastily took the extreme position of cancellation of the contract, showed a reptilian response, rather than a thought-out, pragmatic approach to something that might have been beneficial.

Bermuda’s politics in the main has been fairly stable and even predictable. At times it is moved by sentiments that have peaked. In 1998 there was sentiment that can perhaps be summarised as “We have seen enough of the UBP, we are not happy, it’s time for a change”. In 2012 the sentiment was “We have seen enough, we must put an end to corruption”. In quick succession, the 2017 sentiment is “We do not want any more elitism and exclusionary political agendas”.

The words of the Minister of Finance, who said “we need more time to finish the job we started” can best be rebutted by the sentiment: “That’s what we fear. We see you as embarking on the programme of eliminating the very possibility of ever gaining the means for empowering the majority of the population, and you want time to finish it off and drive even that fleeting possibility into oblivion.”

People live on hope and need to find a meaningful purpose to live. I can only provide advice on the premise that there is an attainable hope. Mediocrity and lack of vision are recipes for failure for people at the bottom, and the safety net for the status quo. If one fails to plan, then they plan to fail. Even a failed dream is better than going nowhere. Therefore, now that both platforms are out, I am truly supporting the item in the Progressive Labour Party platform to revisit the waterfront. Note this is not a partisan decision, but rather a rationale based on hope.

Connected to that idea is a whole world of possibilities with economic and social ramifications that are attached. It’s the first time that a political party has laid a bold initiative of this type in its platform. That project and related matters will eventually cause thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars of needed investment capital to our shores. That it may come through other hands is the political lever or fulcrum upon which the country’s political decision rests.

Do you want to continue with the “creep slowly and wait for the trickle-down”? Or aggressively, and with due diligence, aim for the dream of building an ideal inclusive society. The choice in reality is as clear and as simple as that.

Do I want to return to corruption? The answer is an emphatic “No”. I am reminded of an old leader, Umar bin al-Khattab. When he assumed the leadership, in his address to the nation he promised his people that he will guide them properly. One of the audience lifted up a copy of the constitution on his sword and told him “you don’t have to worry, we will make sure of that”.

So it is for Bermuda. There may be some individuals who think they will have a turn at the piggy bank, but the impoverished public have no appetite for that, and the proverbial sword is waving in the air. The country needs and desires progress, and the public want real change. It’s not an easy mandate to fulfil, but that is where we are.

Lastly, I have reached the age of maturity and am fully acquainted with my own mortality. I have no need to fight or aspire for my own enrichment. My commitment is to use my avarice as a benefactor for society and I will commit to the kind of guidance that leads to long-term growth and benefit to Bermuda and all its people.