Opinion

Battle lines are being drawn

  • Lost opportunity: former premier Michael Dunkley pictured with the America’s Cup trophy in 2014 (Photograph by Gilles Martin-Raget)

Usually, I like to stick to issues and let the politics fall on either side of the debate wherever it leads. However, politics itself is now trending, particularly when we have the re-emergence of the former home affairs minister Michael Fahy, whom many presumed would disappear, and the former premier, Michael Dunkley, making headlines and still churning.

But lately we have the People’s Campaign, with the union coalition and the Reverend Nicholas Tweed reasserting their presence. If these are not the proper ingredients for conflict, all we need to hear now is an attempt from Trevor Moniz to complete the scope.

As an aside, the New Year’s Honours List, in spite of the former premier blaming the process, which indeed may have been influenced by enthused 35th America’s Cup supporters, tells me the former government crowd had expected victory at the polls and that AC35 was meant to be the flagship leading the parade.

As previously mentioned, the America’s Cup was a wonderful event, great for the island and worthy of another shot if we could attract it. But its economic success was bloated and a bit overrated. More importantly, its promotion becoming elitist and not celebrated by a huge portion of the population is a lost fact, which the organisers still fail to accept. Their penchant for blaming the Opposition of the day is probably the best self-damning proof that they cannot understand how this event was a lost opportunity and how it could have been made to be a diverse reflection of the entire society. Particularly when we truly understand Bermuda’s rich biracial maritime history.

It is good that all the aforementioned persons are still engaged. With those pundits at the table, we have an assured clear right wing and left wing. The People’s Campaign has taken the position that it will hold the Government to be accountable on behalf of the mandate it was given on July 18, 2017. Naturally, that presupposes that the People’s Campaign can underscore what that mandate is.

Just for thought, was the election result more a demonstration of a voter sentiment against the One Bermuda Alliance or an absolute vote for the Progressive Labour Party? Does anyone truly know? The leader, David Burt, speaks of the campaign promises as the mandate he must follow, which indeed may be the case. But should he dig deeper to properly affirm the mandate with the One Bermuda Alliance’s untimely capitulation and shock election call, is it likely the voter sentiments were already drawn with only passing attention to campaign details?

Notwithstanding the massive result, Dunkley is drilling down on the PLP’s historical performance record, while Fahy uses his sword to critique the Government’s performance at present. There is no movement towards a happy medium; left to their devices, it’s “either my way or no way”. Put differently, the OBA stalwarts are saying the electorate will eventually discover they made a mistake and that time will vindicate them.

The reality is there is no argument that easily can be had against the former premier, and debate may be a useless exercise filled with verbiage. The issues confronting the country are unavoidably clear: we have a sagging economy, unemployment and social degeneration made more manifest by the youth problems. No government can talk its way through these problems; there is no rhetorical solution. The only way to win this debate is through performance. The PLP must revitalise the economy and set the country back on a course towards prosperity once again to shut the mouths of the naysayers.

It’s a “show and tell” where the language used is “action and results”. The PLP in this term must find the tools to rebuild our economy and create a new legacy of achievement. The argument cannot be won by protest or mass hype; neither puts bread on the table. The argument will be won or lost on what is on the drawing board at present. One interesting strategy or filibuster used commonly in the United States is the method of distraction, which interrupts governments focus. A government can either get lost in non-productive arguments and politics of deflection or keep busy on its agenda.

Four years is not far away and the true test will have been answered. We will either see a country heading towards a better future or matters will have worsened. Our processes will either prove to be antientropic, with all the potentates of a thriving economy and society, or remain in its present, unsustainable entropic mode.

Is the outcome predictable? Of course, it is. The economy will need to grow by a few percentage points or at the very least show the potential for such growth. No “invisible hand” will lift our economy; only a strong commercial agenda can do this. So there will be clear indicators and signs for those who can comprehend.