FRIDAY, DEC. 14: For the last six weeks, PLP candidates have been in our living rooms doing their best to convince us that the PLP has changed under new management.  On Monday voters have an opportunity to chart a new path or stay on the same course that currently has us circling the drain. 

There are no do-overs after the 17th. As such, this is our chance to say “no” to a party that: continues to mislead us about the crisis in public education; lies to us about Secret Reports two weeks before an election; chooses to aggravate racial tensions for political gain; and defends politicians who seek profit at our loss.  Most of all, this is our chance to say “no” to the constant disrespect that has been shown, even under Premier Cox’s leadership.

In the July 14, 2009 Royal Gazette, Dr. Eva Hodgson vividly summarized the respect problem, as well as the consequences we face when the PLP fails to put the needs of the country before the wants of their MPs.

“An uncontrollable Ewart is a problem for everyone, but the real tragedy with Ewart is he is the best leader we have had, the most constructive person, has the most creative ideas. But his lack of respect for the people he’s serving and the Cabinet’s lack of responsibility towards their constituents and their inability or failure to influence Ewart has been our tragedy. We must take collective responsibility.”

Unfortunately, instead of taking collective responsibility, we have seen multiple other PLP MPs follow Dr Brown’s example.  Despite this, staunch supporters like Chris Famous urge us to stay within the PLP family, “come hell or high water”.  What Famous fails to realize is that “Standing Strong” with any family member, no matter what they’ve done, is a recipe for disaster. No organization can accomplish great things with such a self-destructive ideology.

Renee Webb commented on Famous’s type of manipulation of black and white voters in the July 13, 2009 Royal Gazette, when she came to the defence of a white friend. 

“Currently the Government can use it to stay in power, there is a victim mentality that exists particularly among black males that says ‘I am like I am because of what the white man did to me historically’. That is amazing to me that in 2009 people can use victimization status instead of taking responsibility for their own life. It’s all a part of what the society has bought into. The black male has bought into that he’s a victim. Unfortunately the Premier plays that to the max...

“...A white person saying anything against the PLP and the Government is going to be classed as racist. It is only going to end when people take responsibility for what is happening.  But you have a leader who has no problem playing the race card — absolutely none.”

All of this was supposed to change under Paula Cox, but such hopes were crushed when she appointed LaVerne Furbert to the Senate. And when it came time for her to take responsibility for Leroy Bean’s inexplicable candidacy, she played the race card by suggesting that the real issue isn’t corruption but that we have a black government. Just like Brown, Cox dropped the race card to sweep controversy under the rug. Its singular purpose was to silence critics. 

The consequences for us is that Cabinet Members who should have been removed long ago stay in place, and opportunities are created for new candidates who we’d never consider working for, working with or hiring. And, this is all done in the false name of black empowerment.

Yes, under Cox, history has repeated itself. There is still a great lack of respect for the people they’re serving, the Cabinet has failed in its responsibility towards constituents and the PLP’s inability or failure to do what’s right has been our tragedy. But, there is an alternative.

For those of you who want to end the cycle Hodgson and Webb have described, read all three of the OBA’s plans for yourself.  Give full consideration to their broad vision on public education, the economy, Government spending, crime and social services.  Therein you will find a framework that can allow Bermuda to reinvent itself.

Compare the integrity and skills of the candidates, and be sure to reflect upon the PLP candidates who have stepped down. Empowerment through an OBA Government seems possible, but only if we hold them accountable. Keep the end in view, Bermuda. Ring the bell, get off the bus and vote OBA.