WEDNESDAY, NOV. 23: Photographer Ras Mykkal is hoping to snap up a seat in Parliament for the Opposition OBA.
Mr Mykkal, a sports photographer for the Bermuda Sun and dub poet, is expected to be announced as a candidate within the next week or two.
The former PLP supporter said he had become disillusioned by the PLP’s failure to change the “colonial political system” it inherited in 1998 and lack of progress in forging a distinctive Bermudian culture.
Mr Mykkal, who has just published a book of his sports photography, added: “A labour party can’t govern in a colonial system unless they change it or adapt to it. It’s obvious they didn’t change it.
“The ideology of the UBP was colonial — it’s obvious now, after 14 years, that the ideology of the PLP is no different.
“We don’t have that coming together for support and identity. What we have given birth to is people who feed off the bottom, if you can put it like that, who will find their own ways of making ends meet — and that puts everybody at risk.
“I supported the PLP because I was very much against a colonial system that stifles growth. If you look across Bermuda, we have talent in sports, the arts and entertainment, but it doesn’t grow and doesn’t mature.”
Mr Mykkal said that Bermuda was still split — not only on black and white lines, but also on national origin like Portuguese; even the international business community is divided along nationality lines:“We’re divided into all these little groups and we lack a culture — but that’s the only thing that holds people together when they come from very different backgrounds.”
He cited Invictus — the film about the post-apartheid South Africa rugby team that won the World Cup — as an inspiration.
Mr Mykkal said: “Nelson Mandela used sport to unite a country — sport and culture is what brings people together. There’s a lot Bermuda can learn from that, about how to heal old wounds and move forward collectively.”
But he added: “Over the last 14 years, I’ve had meetings with numerous ministers as well as Premiers and I might as well have been talking to the wall because they never really seem to have worked out how to run things.”
Stressing that he was offering his personal views rather than those of the party, Mr Mykkal added: “I don’t think any member of the PLP Government could mention independence — it’s so far from their agenda. We’re like a 60-year-old man who is still living with his mother.
“If the PLP had taken steps to change the system and allowed people to take an active part in the life of the country, fine. But I haven’t seen anything that looks like progress in that area.
“Education, opportunity and responsibility are very important when you’re taking people out of a bondage system and getting them to believe in themselves. But none of this has happened.
“I have ideas which I shared with the PLP, which haven’t gone anywhere. I decided to give politics a shot to see if I can make a difference.
“People think the OBA is a rebranding of the UBP — I beg to differ because it’s a completely different ideology. Those OBA members who came out of the UBP, the older members, they understand that there has to be a change, there has to be a difference. They know they can’t have the same ideology.
“People forget some members of the UBP joined the PLP as well — and I’d question if their ideology changed or if the ideology of the PLP and the UBP members who went there were the same.
“I was a PLP supporter; I was never a member and there will be loyal party members who will not be happy with what I have to say.
“But countries are about leadership and people working together to make things better. Colonialism is about the bottom line, it’s about being a business, not a country. A country is about economic stability and social development of its people.
“The good thing about the people who came out of the UBP is that they have political experience — people like me are enthusiastic but we lack that experience. I just know that, when I look at Bermuda’s politics, we’ve never had a social contract and Bermuda’s problems are social.
“And I know that I bring to the table ideas about how to get Bermuda socially on the right track and the building of national pride.
“Bermuda is like a diamond, but a diamond doesn’t shine until it’s cut and polished.”