Since December 17th many politicians and political thinkers have been focused on understanding why the PLP lost and what the next five years will hold for Bermudians.

For many families however, those issues take a back seat to figuring out how to pay their bills, feed their children and find a job.  

Bermudians are deeply concerned about rising costs that are destroying their quality of life. In some, there is a growing feeling of being displaced, pushed aside and unwanted in their own country.   

More and more, our people are becoming dissatisfied at a social, economic and political structure that benefits the few and down presses the many.  Some have given up on political solutions to what are essentially social and economic challenges. 

By their vote and by their absence, Bermudians voted for change and The PLP has to change as well.  We lost on December 17th, but we had lost touch, lost our way and lost our connection to the people long before that historic date with destiny.  As many of our mothers taught us, “Those who do not listen, must feel.”  We did not listen, you expressed your dissatisfaction, disillusion and disappointment and we felt it at the polls.  Now we are ready to listen.  

Because of our collective action and inaction, you had come to believe that all politicians were the same that our promises meant nothing and that no matter who formed the government your life wouldn’t change in any appreciable manner.  The lessons we’ve learned are simple; if we don’t stand for you, you will not stand with us.  If we do not focus on the things that matter to you, The PLP will not matter to you.  If we do not acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them and never repeat them, you will not acknowledge that we have changed and will not support us.

Over the coming years, we intend to show you that we have learned, have changed and can be different. We will do this not through flowery words or through outlandish promises, but by our action.  First, we are reaching out and reconnecting with you through town hall meetings, open mic nights and of course, canvassing.  We will take your advice, criticism and when necessary chastisement, in the interest of building a new PLP that speaks for you, works for you and fights for you. 

To change, we must encourage, support and enable a new generation of leadership to step to the forefront.  New ideas, new ways of doing things and a new vision will have to be welcomed, embraced and given an opportunity to prosper.  All while honoring and cherishing the wisdom and experience of those who came before us.

To transform into a new Progressive Labour Party we must, with our partners in the Unions, craft a 21st century vision for Labour.  The PLP has learned that to be Pro-Labour we must also be Pro-business, as it is businesses and job creators that create opportunities for jobs for workers.  We must expand on this lesson and craft a vision that moves beyond discussions of wages and benefits, but to one of ownership and empowerment.

We have learned that “nanny government” has stifled the growth, development and political and social maturity of our people.  We suffer from a collective dependency with a focus on consuming instead of producing.  To change and combat this, we must craft a vision that creates a path for individual self-determination with a view towards expanding our perception of what we are capable of and what we can do for ourselves.

As we change to reflect the changes in our people, we must also remember the values of those who came before us.  Values that speak to fairness and a vision of a Bermuda where if you work hard, educate yourself and persevere you will not be obstructed or impeded remain our values.  Values that speak to faith and not being content to prosper while our neighbour suffers remain our values.

We lost power on December 17th but have gained something better.  The opportunity to get back to our roots, take a long critical look at ourselves and make real lasting positive change in both our Party and in our country.  We in the Progressive Labour Party know that we still have a long way to go to earn back your trust, faith and support. But we are prepared to put in the work to earn it.  You require and deserve a strong voice that will put Bermudians first, that will champion the forgotten and the suffering and that will empower our people.  I hope that you will join us as we build a Progressive Labour Party that can accomplish all of these things and even more.