THURSDAY, JUNE 7: I am presenting myself for the next election because I love this country.
I believe deeply in public service and I believe Bermuda’s best days are still before us.
I joined the One Bermuda Alliance because I believe Bermuda must have a realistic opportunity for change – change to a government that puts Bermuda first in all things; change to steadier, more responsible government that brings people together.
Only by working together as one people can we begin to rebuild family, rebuild community and, above all, rebuild responsibility in our country.
These are the things I care about.
My hope is for a Bermuda at peace with itself.
But to get there, we need change.
To achieve this we’ve got to start addressing the deep and pressing problems that face us. As my Leader Craig Cannonier said a few weeks ago, the Government has never really got to grips with the big challenges, whether they be our beleaguered tourism industry, our public education system or our struggling economy.
We must have a government in place that is not afraid to take on the big challenges, and to act. We can no longer afford to have a government that pretends problems don’t exist, or that shies from the hard decisions needed to improve conditions for the people.
Only with a strong government committed to the people’s business can we hope to have hope for the future.
Bermuda today is at a crossroads in its economic and social life.
More Bermudians are out of work and more are working harder for less. More Bermudians have lost their homes and even more are watching their home values plummet. More of us have cars we can't afford to drive, bills we can't afford to pay and tuition beyond our reach.
I've seen workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can't afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs.
It is long past time to roll up our sleeves and get on with the business of changing our situation. I am proud to be part of a team that is prepared to do just that – to bring forward change to grow jobs, to reform education once and for all and to tackle the severe issues that give rise to gang violence.
One of our most important tasks is to rebuild trust in our political system. We can no longer abide the politics of division and governance that fails to put Bermuda first.
We have to commit to a values-based approach to public policy.
It means responsibility – living within our means.
It means integrity – with zero tolerance for fraud and corruption.
It means transparency – with open, accountable government.
It means inclusiveness – providing everyone with the opportunity to succeed.
It means service – for the people.
And it means a government committed totally to spreading opportunity – opportunity which can only come from a strong economy and safe communities.
These are the values of the One Bermuda Alliance, and they are the values that can bring real change to the Island.
There is one more thing, and it's about being honest about what government can achieve.
Real change will not come about only through what government does. Real change will come when we start working together, and commit more of ourselves to the Island. Instead of asking “What am I entitled to?” ask “What are my responsibilities?” Instead of asking “What am I owed?” ask “What can I give?”
Do these things and the sky’s the limit.
We can build a more responsible society, but it will not happen without change. The big risk is to stick with what has not been working, to stick with the same old politics, the same old players and expect a different result.
On a final note, I want to take this opportunity to pledge to the people of Smith’s South that I will continue working hard to represent your interests and fight for your concerns. I am your public servant.