Tonight, we stand at the crossroads of history with an important choice… stay on the current path …or redirect our course to save our Party and our country.
Bermuda is at its most perilous point. Our problems are far greater than we are being told. Some will dismiss this as just an attack on our government and our Leader but there are those amongst us who know that these criticisms are based on fact, not fantasy, and on reality, not personality.
5 years ago, we came into government after 5 years of OBA policies that were ill- conceived and benefitted far too few. Sadly, the track record of the past 5 years under our Party Leader has not only failed to reverse that damage… but compounded it.
Tough times are here and there are tougher times ahead. The suffering of our people is only going to get worse as our economy declines, our pensions become more at risk and our healthcare system continues to collapse. I do not exaggerate when I say, we are on the brink.
My political colleague and competitor would have you believe that the way to get out of this problem is to give away $125 million of Bermuda’s money to overseas developers. This is a dangerous gamble.
We all want to see the Fairmont Southampton reopened and restored. Bermudians want to work, not be given handouts, and it is a critical component of our tourism industry.
But those who refuse to learn from the OBA failure of Morgan’s Point are doomed to repeat it at South P.
And those who ignore that our tourism workers were disrespected and deprived as they were refused redundancy payments cannot be trusted to have our best interests at heart.
The lack of transparency around this deal and the urgency to get it signed regardless of the consequences suggests that: Either our Party Leader doesn’t know what he’s doing…
or he is so desperate to cling to power that he would gamble with all our futures for a public relations win…
or he patronizes us by thinking we couldn’t possibly understand what is at stake for us, our children and future generations of Bermudians.
Our Party Leader has asked us for more time.
But do we believe that more time would change the prevailing view of our people that the PLP are arrogant, out of touch, and not doing enough to improve our collective lot in life?
Our Party Leader has asked us for more time But do we believe that more time would heal the divisions within our Party and erase the feeling that we aren’t being heard, aren’t being included, and that those who disagree are treated like the enemy? Silenced. Ostracized. Banished.
We have more political power than ever before but has that stopped the flood of Black Bermudians leaving for other countries?
We have one of the largest Parliamentary majorities in history but do our people feel any less marginalized when it comes to jobs and opportunities?
We have more political power than ever before but is it any easier for Bermudians to survive in our own country?
We have one of the largest Parliamentary majorities in history but are we any closer to fulfilling the promise of self-determination for our people?
The path that we are on is a movie we’ve all seen before… a movie entitled ‘Election 2012’. And we all know how that one ended.
More time won’t fix these problems…. only a return to our core PLP principles will.
The Party Leader has tried to blame Bermuda’s challenges on others’ failure in execution…. or on our MPs… or on party members who wish to sabotage him… or on our civil servants… or on anything other than his leadership style and approach.
Over the last five years, our Party Leader has failed to listen. He has failed to listen to advisers.
He has failed to listen to colleagues.
He has failed to listen to friends.
That failure to listen, that failure to be inclusive, and that failure to lead are being visited upon all of us as a country and it would be irresponsible for us not to challenge him.
During this campaign, the Party Leader has tried to characterize me as somehow less PLP than he is… demonize me as an out-of-touch, profit-over-people banker; a conservative; and a Johnny-come-lately to Alaska Hall.
When he knows that these are all lies.
He has tried to portray me as someone more interested in facts and figures than our social fabric, out to cut the civil service through austerity measures, and a worshipper of trickle-down economics who will sell out my people to impress international business. When he knows that is a lie.
What I am is the personification of PLP values. I was raised by a mother who worked hard to instill these values in her children. Despite her physical challenges, and her economic standing, she supported this party and their leaders, volunteered at every election, at a time when we were the perpetual opposition and had no glory of victory. She embodied the values of hard work, honor, integrity, perseverance, and caring about your fellow man. These lessons have been essential to my life. They are the same ones that Lisa and I have worked hard to instill in our children.
These values are precisely why I ensured that our people were paid unemployment benefits in 3 days at our most dire time. We must keep our promises to Bermudians in need.
I was raised with PLP values and am committed to protecting those values, truly elevating the condition of our working people, and protecting our vulnerable families and seniors regardless of the cost. Doing anything less would be spitting in the faces and soiling the legacies of my mother and all the strong Bermudians who have helped shape my values. It is why I insisted that Government pay Southampton Princess workers the redundancy payments they’d earned from years of service, so they could feed themselves and their families. We took on the burden for them, fought for our coffers to be repaid… and won.
We all know that everyone who publicly supports the Progressive Labour Party immediately has a bullseye placed on their back. I am under no illusions of what I will face as Party Leader. But my success has been built on the foundation of PLP values and I have never forgotten where I come from.
The Party Leader has asked for another term. In another term, if we continue as we are, we may have more money in the Party’s bank account but fewer party members and even fewer Bermudians willing to vote for us
In another term, if we continue as we are, we will have fewer Black Bermudians in our country …
In another term, if we continue as we are, the cost of living will still be rising.
All we have to look forward to are short-term quick fixes, a demoralized people forced to become more dependent on the government, a further-divided Party, and more Bermudians preferring to stay home on Election Day.
The party, the government, and the country need honest, informed leadership to get us through one of the most perilous times in our history.
We cannot lie our way through it…
We cannot manipulate our way through it…
We cannot save our country if we only tell you what we think you want to hear.
After 5 years of dictating his desires, the Party Leader is now fighting to save his job and seems willing to do anything and say anything to keep it.
In the weeks leading up to this election, a flurry of new programs have been promised. Everything from Casinos, Mortgage Guarantee Programs, Pension Reform, Tax Reform and, just in time for the Debate: Fairmont Southampton.
A 5-year track record should show results, not last-minute promises to get a vote. Relief for parents promised at the start of the school year has yet to materialize for many in need. We can ill afford 5 more years of empty promises and conveniently timed announcements.
I am not fighting for myself…I’m fighting for our Party and Bermuda.
And if I thought that our leader’s approach would work given a bit more time or that he could or would grow into the Leader we need, I wouldn’t be seeking your support tonight. I would be voting for him. But I can’t do that.
With your support and as your leader, I will dedicate myself to the hard work, the rigorous analysis, and to telling you the truth about what is happening in our country. The Party Leader has asked you not to focus on facts and figures.
Yet as Premier Brown often said, “If we cannot face it, we cannot fight it.”
If we don’t start focusing on the facts and figures we will never get out of the problems we are in.
A government that ignores facts and figures is a government that cannot give salary increases to government workers over multiple years or meaningful pension increases to its seniors to preserve their dignity in their golden years.
After 5 years of ignoring facts and figures, is life any better for most Bermudians?
You know it isn’t, I know it isn’t and it’s time to stop pretending that everything is going just fine.
Tonight, I offer leadership that will be: Based on We, not I
• Committed to honoring our party membership and executing our party platform
• Focused on restoring and strengthening a bottom-up culture within our Party where we return power to our grassroots
• humble, listening, inclusive, and never treats a member of the PLP with disrespect
• inclusive – embracing the talent of every member at every level of our Party for the benefit of Bermuda
I offer leadership that will:
• treat our MPs and Senators with respect and value their opinion even when there is disagreement
• leadership that will spend as much time on Parson’s Road as Bermudiana Road – always representing our Party and our country with dignity, maturity, and humility.
• leadership that will sincerely value the contributions of women and not intimidate or silence them when they embody the spirit upon which the PLP was built
I offer leadership that will:
• resolve conflict with teachers, principals, and parents so we can be the co- architects of a public education system that supports our students’ academic development and self-esteem
• leadership that will: see our young men in the grips of gang violence as our family who need help, rather than just a taint on our business reputation.
• leadership that will: respect our tourism workers and entrepreneurs who embody the heart of Bermuda
I am not perfect, and I don’t know everything…. But that’s why we have a team…. and with your help, we can bring the best out of our team and bring the best out of our country.
Just like they did in 2012 our people are shouting that we cannot continue on this path. Whether you choose to vote for a change in leadership or vote to stay on the current course, we would be wise to listen. Do not let their screams go unheard.
It is not too late to turn things around, but we cannot wait another term to fix it.
You, the delegates, have an awesome responsibility. You will select the next leader of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party and, by extension, the Premier of Bermuda. Our internal election has significant consequences for our members, our families, and our people. You hold within your hands the future direction of our country.
Whatever you the delegates of this great Progressive Labour Party decide, I will respect and honor your decision. I am PLP.
I am asking you to support me in my candidacy for Party Leader because together we can rebuild Bermuda.
Our future isn’t going to be built on lies;
Our future isn’t going to be built on political tricks Our future isn’t going to be built on things that sound good today but don’t change much of anything for our people tomorrow Our future isn’t going to be built on the wisdom and experience of one person, but our future will be built on the collective power and wisdom of all of us.
In these efforts I thank you for your prayers and many words of encouragement and support.
Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful, or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites, or repeats previous comments will be removed.
User comments posted on this website are solely the views and opinions of the comment writer and are not a representation of or reflection of the opinions of TNN or its staff.
TNN reserves the right to remove, edit or censor any comments.
TNN accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for the comments made by users.