Responding to an editorial by OBA Senator Douglas DeCouto, PhD, released to some local media regarding the government’s Southampton Princess deal, former deputy party leader and former MP Leah Scott said that an effective opposition needs to present real solutions to voters, rather than just ask questions all the time.
Here is a statement that Ms. Scott sent to TNN:
“Presenting op-ed’s that ask questions of either the PLP or the voting public, instead of providing answers and solutions is a common trap the OBA set themselves up for. I would rather see the OBA setting answers and presenting solutions and ideas, rather than asking questions. After all, they are the elected.”
“ We are all frustrated – covid, unemployment, joblessness, homelessness, racial and economic disparity, social unrest….the list goes on and on. And yes, it is the job of the Opposition to nitpick and find fault with the Government.
However, the ultimate goal, and the desire of the community, is for the Opposition to also set solutions. Realistically, for the OBA, the sky is the limit. They will not win the next election, or the one after that. But that doesn’t mean that they cannot be effective and viable NOW, as the Government In Waiting.”
“ Instead of constantly harping on what the PLP is or isn’t doing, the Leader of the OBA should be directing the OBA to set out their plan and agenda for the people of Bermuda.
Some of my thoughts are below, and the list is by no means exhaustive. But it’s a start….
1. OBA – what is your plan for the youth? We have an aging population, a declining birth rate, and young people taking their intellectual property away from Bermuda. Now is the time for the OBA to establish relationships and business partnerships to create programs that would compel our young people back home. How would they incentivize them?
2. Mental health among young people, here and around the globe, is on the rise. May is mental health month. OBA – what programs would you roll out to support young people who are in mental and/or emotional crisis?
3. Covid 19 has disrupted the education of an entire generation of our children. In fact, UNICEF has stated “The scale of education loss ‘nearly insurmountable’. I would like to see the OBA’s plan as to how it would address those who have experienced the greatest learning loss.
4. The country is in major debt, having paid out millions of dollars to support members of our community during COVID. So, unlike Chris Furbert, I appreciate that the Government respects that businesses are currently not in a position to implement the Living Wage/Minimum Wage plan. Be that as it may, I would like to know what creative initiatives the OBA would implement to advance economic equality across our island.
5. Finally, we must have a plan to address the challenges facing our young black males. Camille Busette, of the Brookings Institute says:
“To be male, poor, and either African-American or Native-American is to confront, on a daily basis, a deeply held racism that exists in every social institution. ” “No other demographic group has fared as badly, so persistently and for so long.” To meet this “appalling crisis,” Camille calls for nothing less than “a New Deal for Black men.”
She goes on to say “The elements of this New Deal will likely consist of intentional policymaking in the fields of education and training, the labor market, family policy (especially for fathers), criminal justice reform, and tackling concentrated poverty.”
While something like the New Deal would have to be a bi-partisan effort to be successful, it is something for both the PLP and the OBA to aspire to.
However, the OBA can begin now to create the framework for this. It is imperative that we change the outcomes for black men, as compared to Black women, white women, and white men. Who cares who gets the credit for it? Just get it done!
Bermuda requires leadership in office that will elevate women and create an infrastructure for our young people to grow and thrive. We need leaders who are able to advance our black and brown community by breaking down existing disparities and addressing economic and social injustices, while growing the economy, and taking whatever steps are necessary to catapult Bermuda into the next dimension.
Public service is not printing op-eds from time to time and sitting on a ZOOM meeting on Fridays. The OBA is woefully under-representing its voters, and is doing this country a huge disservice.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the OBA can implement an action plan. Their opportunity to execute any plan is at least 1 election down the road. However, they must HAVE, or appear TO HAVE, an action plan.
They must give us, the voter, something to believe in and to hope for, because hope deferred, makes the heart sick (Prov 13:12).
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