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Commentary: The politics of kumbaya in Bermuda
Published on March 27, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Christopher Famous

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
John Lennon

Recently there have been increased calls for bi-partisanship and cooperation amongst the political parties of Bermuda. This call has not only come from the people, but also from business leaders and some politicians themselves.

Whilst the notion of both parties working together is noble and desirable, it seems near impossible.

Take as a prime example some of the suggestions put forth by the PLP in our recent Budget Reply;

• Online gaming
• Modification of banking credit card fees
• Modification of tax structures

Every last idea was thrown out of the window by the OBA. So to those that say the PLP is not putting forth ideas, they are dead wrong. It is the OBA who is rejecting every idea the PLP brings forth


Christopher Famous is a Caribbean real estate developer and business owner. Raised in various Caribbean islands such as; Bermuda, Jamaica, St Eustatius and St Kitts and Tortola. He has a weekly social and political column in The Bermuda Sun. Feedback to:
Flip the script. Whatever legislation that the OBA brings forth, they simply run roughshod over any suggestions the PLP makes to improve the legislation. The justification? They imply that the PLP is either silly, or have no idea of what we are talking about.

What the OBA does not realize is that what this translates to many Bermudians is that their ideas and concerns are neither valid, nor of any value to the OBA. For many, it seems that the only time the OBA will listen is when Bermudians down tools and/or march.

While I agree that this may be appear to be an extreme reaction, it has become obvious that this is the only language OBA understands. For good reason, many people of this Island no longer trust the OBA or take them at their word.

Back to Kumbaya

Over the years I have met many OBA supporters, MPs and Senators. Whilst we don't see eye to eye on everything, we have a very cordial and respectful sense of humour with each other. Well, that's most of the time. I personally would love to believe we can sit and hash things out for the betterment of all.

However, more often than not, the interests of the persons they represent, are diametrically opposed to the persons we represent. Hence, the never-ending death march we have been locked in for 400 years.

So where do every day Bermudians go from here?

At times, I honestly do not know what to tell the many Bermudians that are frustrated and tired with how the OBA is going about things. Many have reached the end of their rope. I am not going to sit up here and say, “Okay, let's all join hands and sing as one,” because, quite frankly, too many OBA proposals or policies are detrimental to many of the people I know.

What I will say is that it is entirely up to the people to demand more of all elected officials. The will of 65,000 residents will always outweigh the will of 36 MPs.

Politics is but a window

As Bermudians we are separated into at least four different societies, based on:

• Race
• Nationality
• Economics
• Class

And as expected, our political parties represent these demographics accordingly. What is most important to acknowledge is that politics is but a window into the perspective of these societies. If the societies are at odds with each other, so too will be the political parties.

The best hope for “Political Kumbaya” is “Social Kumbaya”. Every one of us has that responsibility to seek both harmony and equality. Demand and develop peaceful solutions amongst yourselves, do not rely on 36 politicians to hold hands.

The question that now remains is: how many of us truly do it or want it?

Everyone is crying out for peace yes
None is crying out for justice
Peter Tosh
Reads: 1776

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