We need a clean election to move forward

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  • Opposition leader David Burt (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Opposition leader David Burt (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Just about everyone in any democratic jurisdiction knows that in a General Election to decide who should be the power of authority, undercurrents of vicious and sometimes despicable accusations and counter-accusations rage in a battle for the minds of voters. Too often truth and respectfulness are sidelined as tensions increase between candidates who have a tendency to put the party ahead of the people and their needs.

In Bermuda we have no fear of the Russians interfering with our General Election. But that does not mean there are no deep concerns about how far candidates and their supporters will go to either maintain or gain political momentum. In our unique, rather small community setting compared with larger places with millions to contend with, we still have issues when it comes to how we see each other as Bermudians, and not as aliens simply because of opposing viewpoints on the best way forward. Differences of opinion should be fully understood by the entire community as a basic human right, and also as an intricate part of the true meaning of democracy.

A clean election will not prevent anyone from having an opportunity to express approval or disapproval of any initiative put forward by the One Bermuda Alliance Government, or the Opposition Progressive Labour Party. Those with strong feelings either way should be mindful that being respectful will go a long way towards bridging the gap of divisiveness, which remains a stumbling block in trying to keep the island growing towards a healthy diverse society, and determined to keep our history of social injustice confined to the history books.

Reality dictates that there are still emotional wounds from that era that are not fully healed, with much work still needed in the process of building a society where each person is judged on character and merit rather than ethnicity or racial factors. No one side can bring that about. Everyone who takes pride in being a citizen of this beautiful island will be required to be a part of rebuilding that would benefit generations yet unborn. It is a responsibility we can only hope all candidates will promote as they lay out their plans for what is best for Bermuda.

Electioneering waters can get quite muddy and that is nothing new. Bermuda is quite familiar with how our shoreline waters become so messy from a storm that even the fish have trouble getting around. However, when the storm clears and calmness returns, visibility allows us to once again see beautiful fish beneath the surface.

The Bermuda electorate must keep that in mind on the approach to the day when each eligible voter will use the ballot box to make a quiet statement that they hope will bring about a solid path to a better Bermuda. Another factor that should be kept in mind is that there are no losers, as long as the good of Bermuda is held as the highest priority by those selected to serve.

Winning an election is one thing, but winning the hearts and minds of all the people requires dedicated commitment to truth, transparency and willingness to keep the golden principle that the people will always be bigger than any political party because, after all, the people will always be here. It could be wishful thinking, but there is no harm in urging all candidates, party-affiliated or independent, to at least try to make this election as clean as possible. If so, it will be something our young people could build on.

Surely, that is worth a try.

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