WEDNESDAY, SEP. 26: In our political system, we have a ruling party and an official Opposition.

Both the Government MPs and the official Opposition MPs are funded by the government.

The Opposition Leader is paid a salary (higher than regular MPs) and is provided with an office from which to operate.

So in essence, the Bermudian people pay for a government to run the island and an Opposition to ensure that an alternative vision is presented to the people.

This system is supposed to ensure that the island is represented to the best of its ability by ALL parliamentarians.

Ironically, in 1998, the change in government signified a shift from the core philosophy of this system.

We went from a ruling party with a very effective Opposition that truly believed it to be a Government in Waiting, to a system that has an Opposition that seems to be still in shock from losing the election.

Instead of a strong Opposition that presents strong alternatives or suggestions to improve current policies, we have an Opposition that spends almost all of its time attacking and undermining proposed and existing government policies, whether they are minor or major.

We have an Opposition whose stance appears to be one of “I can fix it, but I’ll only show you if you vote us into government”.

We have an Opposition that hasn’t a shown an ability to connect to the island population as a whole but still appear content to appeal to a smaller but financially influential segment only.

In essence, we have been cheated by an Opposition that we pay to be an Opposition that provides an alternative vision for Bermuda. Instead, we have an Opposition that is devoid of constructive criticism or ideas.

So, we now find ourselves being held hostage by an Opposition — whose MPs receive government salaries — who only tell us, “Vote us in and we’ll reveal our grand plans to save you.”

Sadly, we the taxpayers, pay these opposition politicians.

How can you profess to care for the island and continue to claim we are headed in the wrong direction but are content to hold onto your “saviour ideas” unless you are given total control?

Essentially, you are plotting to become what you accuse the government of the day of being — unwilling to care for anyone but yourselves.

How can a group with this stance be considered inclusive of all Bermudians when their whole mode of operation is to obtain power?

While I am confident of the PLP forming the next Government, I am hopeful that after this next election, one that will see eight new MPs regardless of the voting outcome, we will see a shift from these divisive Opposition tactics.

I also have hope that the next group of OBA or UBP MPs that form the next official Opposition understand and embrace their collective role in making Bermuda a better place.

If the government and opposition are constantly proposing positive ideas and policies to improve our island, we could be a model for the world to follow. We should not have to wait for an election for our paid Opposition to make a difference, so I challenge the OBA to start now.

These are difficult times for people all around the world. Now is the time that we should all be presenting constructive ideas. Instead, we have an Opposition that is so obsessed with power that they purposely offer up no ideas and no solutions. Just attacks and the promise of a raft of solutions, that will be revealed only if you vote for them. Bermuda deserves better.

Senator Diallo Rabain is PLP Candidate for Constituency 7, Hamilton South.