The task ahead is larger than politics
Much of the island is beginning to settle down after a stunning election result, which led to the One Bermuda Alliance government being put out to pasture, so to speak. The Progressive Labour Party swept to power with a massive victory that left no questions over the OBA having lost its hold on community support.
While political pundits debate just what happened for the tables to have turned so dramatically, the focus now has to be on keeping our island infrastructure stable and solid in order to continue progress.
In the world of politics, when there is a change in leadership through the election process, too often in many countries there is a tendency for a new government to flex its muscles with new policies to maintain support from those who were promised significant change. That is to be expected in any democracy because there will always be differences in what people feel is best for the country and the people. That said, when an electoral decision is reached, it leaves a trail of those celebrating victory, and others unhappy and deeply disappointed.
What too many forget is that many problems are far bigger than politics because they affect people in every section of community life, and that is why most new governments generally appeal to everyone for support in efforts to move forward. Bermuda is very special in this area because with our small population, no matter what differences we have, we usually work and play together — and that provides an opportunity for a better understanding, which is helpful in building relationships.
Even with that advantage, Bermuda is not yet out of the woods in the area of divisiveness tinged with racial tones still lingering after a history of social injustice from a troubled past. What also makes Bermuda special is that throughout our history there have been blacks and whites who quietly ignored the era of injustice, and through their efforts helped to pave the way for what we have today. It was not easy for either side, especially when they knew many people on both sides were reluctant to cross those social barriers.
Our prestigious annual Cup Match, which is now a celebration of diversity, at one time was an event attended mainly by the black population. Few would have dreamt that the very first cricket match between Somerset Cricket Club and St George’s Cricket Club to celebrate emancipation would evolve into an event attended by people from every section of our communities, along with visitors from overseas.
It was a journey with great struggle mainly because of those who never shifted from the belief that Bermuda would see brighter days. True justice will find a way in the darkest social storms.
While most Bermudians are quite proud of what the island has achieved over the years, socially and economically, they also know we are confronted with problems with no easy answers for any government. While what happens in Parliament is important, also of importance is what happens at the kitchen table, as families struggle to raise children in an environment riddled with distractions.
Governments have enormous responsibility and we all should respect that. However, most Bermudians want to feel their concerns are being addressed by those in authority, and this can be achieved only by steady contact conducted with transparency and accountability. That, too, is a challenge for any government, but as long as they are chosen to serve the people, that must be a priority goal.
This annual Cup Match comes at a great time after a General Election because the people who help to make that historic event very special are larger than any political party. Bermudians respect our political leaders and those leaders must never forget what matters with the people and their lives is most important. The task ahead will be a challenge, but Bermuda did not get this far by throwing the towel in when things got tough.
As long as we keep cool heads in the middle of any storm, our chances of being winners will be far greater.
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