A new chapter for Bermuda
Optimism should be the key emotional ingredient throughout Bermuda after the massive victory by the Progressive Labour Party, which swept the One Bermuda Alliance out of office as government with a powerful mandate from the voting public.
This was confirmation that the public were not satisfied with the OBA’s performance. The book of our political history, with its many twist and turns, has yet another chapter to add to the continuing struggle to build a fair and just society where every Bermudian will feel an intricate part of that endeavour.
The new government will undoubtedly lose little time in trying to put its best foot forward, and in establishing that it is not out for any type of revenge politics in seeking to carry out the people’s business. The PLP is fully aware that serving those people who did not vote for them is a government responsibility, and that anything short of this could be a negative in the long run.
The political arena is never a picnic, and those who offer to serve despite the challenges deserve full respect from both PLP and OBA supporters.
As Bermuda embarks on this new chapter, with hard lessons having been learnt from serious blunders over the years made by just about every political entity, one can only hope that Bermuda has arrived at a stage where transparency, truth and accountability are not just nice-sounding words to impress supporters.
Both the new PLP government and the opposition OBA should know from first-hand experience that it is critical to have direct contact with the people at all times on issues of concern. Both have paid a price for falling short in this area.
Keeping in close contact with constituents involves communication skills outside of Facebook and cleverly put-together press statements. While electronic technology plays a key part in communication these days, it will never be a substitute for face-to-face conversations that are so badly needed in the new world of politics. That can be quite a challenge in our present climate, where people are not as friendly as in bygone days. Nevertheless, losing direct contact with voters carries a price.
Most new governments are given a honeymoon period where they can form teams to handle certain projects, and even the media in most democracies provide a little breathing space unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
Some folks who did not support the PLP are probably unhappy with the outcome, but they, too, will need to dig deep to accept what has transpired, understanding that democracy is the tool to give the electorate a voice when it comes to leadership of a free country.
The PLP should be aware that the same people who put them back in office can also remove them should they fail to live up to promises. That is a challenge for any new government, and having a strong Opposition is also key in helping to keep everyone on their toes.
What most people want from this new chapter is a more respectful attitude from both sides in dealing with crucial issues in Parliament. Heated exchanges are to be expected, but personal attacks in the historic chambers should be frowned upon by all concerned.
Bermuda must move forward. Congratulations to the PLP government. We can only hope there will moments when the Government and the Opposition will find common ground in seeking solutions to problems that continue to be of concern to all Bermudians.
That is the only way to really put Bermuda first.
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