PLP Backbencher Expresses Disappointment with Mindset of Some Party Members

Concern that the Progressive Labour Party is not living up to its promise of a more equitable Bermuda, devoid of racial discrimination.

It comes from former Tourism Minister Jamahl Simmons. Mr Simmons making his feelings known as he delivered a statement during the Motion to adjourn, following last Friday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

“ I rise today, Mr. Speaker, out of a sense of obligation to the people who elected me, out of obligation to my personal morals, spiritual and ideological imperatives and a sense of obligation to the ideals, beliefs and philosophy of my party, the Progressive Labor Party.

Ideals such as those articulated within our very first election platform: equitable taxation, ending racial discrimination, economic parity and welfare programs, as well as educational, housing and electoral reform.”

“ Four years ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to govern this beautiful island; elected by people who believe that we had been humbled by our time in the wilderness as opposition and who were willing to give us not only another chance, but a big chance.”

“ The ideals of our founders from so long ago still resonated; but like all of our political forebears in the Progressive Labor Party before us, we who believe in the elevation of the small man are offended by and forced to contend with a certain mindset.”

“ A mindset that listens to the cries of non-Bermudians wanting to buy a piece of the rock, but is deaf and whose hearts have been hardened against the cries of born-and-bred Bermudians struggling to find an affordable place to lay their heads.”

“ A mindset that listens to the cries of foreign investors for tax relief and benefits, but is deaf and whose hearts have been hardened against easing the burden in real and transformative terms for those who cannot make ends meet in their own country.”

“ A mindset that hears the cries for those who want to grow Bermuda’s population, but is deaf and whose hearts have been hardened against the cries of those pleading for more to be done to give our own people the hope and means to just stay here and who are also deaf and whose hearts have been hardened against those crying for plans to bring back Bermudians forced to leave their home for a better life and better opportunities.”

“ A mindset that has no problem contemplating term limits on government assistance for the island’s poor and working class and the introduction of budgeting classes for those on Financial Assistance, but has no issue allowing financial assistance in the form of tax and other concessions for businesses to roll over into perpetuity with no demand for them to become better managers and custodians for their own finances.”

“ A mindset that hears the cries of ‘lock up the criminal’, but are deaf to the cries of the workers whose employer steals from them, pocketing money that was supposed to go towards their health insurance or pension.”

“ A mindset that either defends, makes excuses for, or is impotent when it comes to those who price-gauge us and only grudgingly employ us, yet whose hearts have been hardened by those who are demanding action.”

“ A mindset that calls decisions that disproportionately and negatively impact the poor, the working class and black Bermudians ‘tough,’ when it in reality is business as usual.”
“A mindset that believes that the end justifies the means and that deception, intimidation and arrogance are acceptable.”

“ Like me, so many of my constituents have expressed their disgust, dismay and their desire to see this mindset fought, conquered and defeated. Like me, they believe that the mindset that I have just spoken of has dominated the narrative, the approach, dominated Bermuda and dominated an economy that has left too many Bermudians behind.”

“ Our people want to see that mindset defeated, conquered and wiped away and want to see a change to one that recognizes the things that Bermudians need, deserve and are entitled to; the same respect, attention and the same sense of urgency that the elite, privileged and non-Bermudians receive.”

“ They want to see a change in mindset, away from one that, for too long, has looked upon the poor and struggling Bermudians and sought to either blame them for their condition or assumed that they had committed some sin for which they were being punished. They want to see a change of mindset.”

“ When my constituents and I see parts of the government’s economic plan that we debated earlier this month, they and I still feel hope, but we need more and our people deserve more than hope.”

“ Today, many of our youth see Bermuda, Inc., as a broken and failed model and are speaking out on how they want better for themselves and their children . . . we are seeing groups emerge today that are in direct line with the original ideals of the Progressive Labor Party. Ideas emerging from this change mindset are growing and ideas that were once considered radical and even unthinkable are now becoming rational and urgent.”

“ We can elevate the poor out of poverty. We can stop the prison revolving door and we can take broken men and women and make them whole. We can invest in our people and give them the support to get off the walls, get trained, hired, promoted and even get their own business. We can transform Bermuda into an even greater land of opportunity and bring our people home to work, live and flourish. All it will take is the defeat of and change from a certain mindset.”
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