FRIDAY, JUNE 8: Would-be MP Ras Mykkal is taken aback but not surprised by the verbal abuse he’s suffered since being nominated as a candidate for the OBA.
Former PLP supporter Mr Mykkal says he has been called “traitor” “house n*****r”, “Uncle Tom” and “sellout” as he goes about his daily life.
Mr Mykkal is aiming to capture Warwick South Central, Constituency 26, at the next General Election.
Mr Mykkal — a photographer and recording artist — said that some in the black community had reacted badly to his change of direction.
He said: “It’s happened at sports events I’ve covered — I’ve been called names more than I ever have in my entire life.
“It’s not a regular thing, but it happens from time to time.
“I expect that and understand it, but the same people who call me names turn around and run the PLP right into the ground.
“I won’t walk away from that, though — I will always try to engage people and talk to them.”
He added: “I know Bermuda’s history and I know why people feel that way — I don’t take it personally. But what I hope to prove to people in the long run is why I got involved.
“It’s one thing to bitch about a problem and another to do something about it.”
Mr Mykkal was speaking just six months after he was announced as the OBA candidate for the seat.
He said: “There are a mixed bag of responses from the public — there are some who know me and my music and what I have said on political and social issues and are worried that I’m selling out — politics can be a dirty business.”
But he added: “I know what it’s like to be on the other side and complaining about what politicians should be doing in the best interests of the people.
“I decided to get involved because I felt I had some really strong ideas on how to make Bermuda a better place and I wasn’t happy with the PLP and how they were running the country.
“I made it very clear from the beginning when I joined the OBA that I would not have joined if it was a rebranded UBP. And I’ve made it clear to other members that we have to change how we think.
“There are people from the UBP in the OBA and there’s a segment of the community who don’t trust them. But, strangely, some members of the UBP joined the PLP and they seem to fit in perfectly.
“We have a blend of experienced candidates and new ones — black, white, male and female. But I’ve also made it clear we can’t just appear to be diverse, we need to be diverse.
“We have to be honest that things were done wrong under the 34 years of the UBP and that things have been done wrong in the 14 years of the PLP.”
Mr Mykkal — who covers sport as a freelance photographer for the Bermuda Sun — said that he had been appointed to an OBA board on social affairs.
He added that he wanted “frank and open discussions” on issues like race, marijuana, the stop list and the social ills afflicting the island.
Mr Mykkal said: “These are things all the parties have looked at — but only in a shallow way. The neat thing about social affairs is it crosses all the boundaries — it’ll take in culture, sport, tourism, crime, all sorts of things.
“It takes in a lot of ministries with the aim of strengthening them because they are all inter-related.”
He added: “We all have to change the ways we do things — we can’t be the UBP and the PLP any more. We can’t think like a business, we have to think like a country.
“Sometimes we have to give up a profitable idea because that makes more social sense.”
Mr Mykkal said that Bermudians had talent in areas as diverse as sport, the arts and music, but it needed to be developed properly, starting from the early days of school.”
He added: My goal for Bermuda is that we build national pride — and hopefully, racial issues will disappear.”
In conclusion, Mr Mykkal cited a quote by Albert Einstein that he feels is relevant to Bermuda: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a fateful servant. We have built a society that has honoured the servant and forgotten the gift. We need to honour the gift”.