TUESDAY, DEC. 18: With this new OBA Government, Bermuda has made its second ever substitution in the high stakes game of national politics. Though all politics is always local, the never-ending game of politics itself is often played out on a global field. This is particularly so out here at 32N64W.
Yes, DayCare for single mothers and FutureCare for seniors are important and quite rightly can be major issues. But those issues, local and warm and fuzzy as they are, are mere small balls on a global field in a big eternal global game.
No matter what local issues are considered important, those issues — even the warmest and fuzziest — must still be paid for with dollars that flow out sometimes more easily than they flowed in.
For those who say that dollars don’t matter, that human beings matter more, try bringing a baby into this world, nurture it, care for it, feed it, and clothe and educate it without ever using even one single dollar. More than that, try living just 30 days in Bermuda — or anywhere else — without ever using, directly or indirectly, any Bermuda or other dollars at all. And, just to be sure that I’m understood – not sneakily using somebody else’s dollar instead.
The distillation of what happened yesterday is that Bermuda has put a new team on the field. On the global stage in the global game, using foreign currency that must first be earned, that team has to start getting Bermuda out of a largely self-inflicted economic depression.
This new team must do that even while dragging the ball and chain of huge Debt Service Costs wrapped around its ankles. Despite that handicap, the new team must still run and jump and twist with the same speed – or better - than the other Premier League global players of Ireland, Caymans, Guernsey, Switzerland, etc…
This new team has to help Bermuda’s private sector reverse the decline in foreign currency earnings; reverse the decline in jobs overall; reverse the decline in job opportunities for Bermudians; and reverse the decline in the overall economy that is causing Government revenues to continue falling.
Starting this new phase in the old game, the new team must make sure that it starts out by being honest and direct with all of us lot out here at 32N64W.
One of the hallmark occurrences with any government or political party that stays in power too long, is that the party begins to ignore and cover-up its own bad decisions and mistakes. Many of us lot saw that in the run-up to yesterday’s change-over.
In over-describing its successes and under-describing – sometime not even mentioning – its mistakes and failures, a political party can end up delivering a swatch of bad information and flawed data to a public that needs access to good information and sound data. This can only be counter-acted by giving good information and good data.
The second, but parallel activity, is that the new team must start reducing Government’s costs and thus its spending. This will mean cuts in personnel costs as well as cuts in operational spending. But even while necessary cuts are made, the new team must ensure that all essential services are maintained and that Bermuda’s fragile social order, already under severe threat from gun violence, crime, and a self-created economic depression, does not deteriorate any further.
To do all of this, the new team must be genuinely — not rhetorically — transparent. It must be genuinely direct – not obtuse and non-commenting and non-answering. Above all else, this new team must genuinely embrace all residents and all Bermudians – and not just those who can be described as “our people”.
The new team must throw all of its energy and intellect into playing a fresh new game on the same changing field even while strapped down with real legacies and that handed-on ball and chain. The new team must get us all running and moving in the same direction.
It’s a tall order, but it’s do-able.
Now get on and do it.