The following submission was presented during an often heated Town Hall draft consultation regarding Government’s proposed Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP), with the presenter expressing concern over an apparent lack of meaningful inclusion of the Black male element, while many of the Island’s fishermen took direct aim at Planning Minister Walter Roban for his lack of attendance, which many inferred to be further demonstration of a lack of integrity, courage and concern toward them as fishing industry stakeholders and supposed partners.

“Panelists, I’ve nothing much to say about the actual fishing, aquaculture and the hands on matters and methods associated and contained within this Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme (BOPP), but more so as to the prospective economic impact of things contained in the proposed draft and, more importantly, the perspective revenue gathering and distribution.

“I don’t know if many would agree that fishing and fishermen are a rough breed that often reflect and smack of those of and relative to the grassroots sector, to the street rather than the elite, uppity, bourgeoisie type.

“Yet in going over this document, considering that big business – with its requisite consumptive capitalist modus operandi and the risk reward assessments based in actuarial science and analytics quotients, what I see are the KPMGs, the Moodys no doubt there’ll be the EYs, JP Morgans with their tentacles among the sea grass, along with the usual cast of alphabet multinationals.

“And with introductions associated with the Economic Context seeming to point above and beyond those of the laymen, who may be IQ challenged, educationally bereft and not versed in all the Wall Street and key-worded marketing chatter those without attachment or clear route into this world of high finance, leveraged proposals and ventured capital I am drawn to ask, ‘What does this draft perspective have contained within to enhance the outlook, prosperity potential and means out of the current state for our young Black males, who are destroying themselves for lack?’

“Lack of opportunity! Lack of belonging! Lack of achievement and acknowledgement! Lack of self worth! Each a significant need among the human dynamic for healthy living, something our Black males and others at risk now find in gangs, even as they are ostracised from mainstream society.

“Where is the affirmative, actionable component that is inclusive of a sector of Bermuda that has little hope beyond the street corners, local watering holes and places of ill-repute.

“How are our lost souls to be incorporated in this scheme that demands more than anything funding and investment from a financial industry that largely has ignored and continues to disassociate themselves from the grassroots sector of the economy at any rumoured sign of things deemed too native and unbuttoned.

“For fear of what? I don’t know. Perhaps their own conscience?

“An industry clad with white collar, but certainly not unsullied fabric. One fully known to commit acts not dissimilar as to that which we find our young Black men doing now. It is that they simply have better skilled, trained, well paid mercenaries in tandem with expansive PR or corporate communications and community action teams better at covering misdeeds … misdeeds of unimaginable scale.

“Are there real, implied management programmes that target those Bermudians that need the most assistance in rising from literal ashes.

“And I’m not talking about just skinning and filleting rockfish, hinds, tuna and snapper no offence to the fishermen that do I’m talking about real training for real opportunity for upward mobility that can inspire their comrades.

“Or will this end up, as is customary, where the 1% get 90% of the take and ‘Joe Blow’ gets not even a trickle, but a slow, insignificant drip.

“We have here a roadmap littered with good even grand intentions. My question is: “Will this BOPP aid in producing the tidal wave that is needed to overwhelm and redeem the core matters that no longer can be brushed aside as if occurring in a vacuum, but threatening the well-being of all  things social, economic and political?”

The submission was also sent to Premier David Burt, Minister Roban, as well as to those charged with administering the draft consultation process, with acknowledgement of receipt received from all except Mr Roban, along with promises of further consultation.

The meeting was the last of three designed to garner community input to a programme promoting the use of sustainable means and conservation of Bermuda’s territorial waters, while advancing methods for the generation of resourced revenue from.

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