I do hope Phil (The Limey) Wells will reconsider his decision to quit blogging which he posted today.I understand his frustration and despair at the current political climate but now is not the time for commentators like him to quit. When free speech and criticism are being stifled and the Opposition in disarray, those with something to say and the ability to articulate it well, as he has done – many times courageously – in recent years, need every encouragement to keep saying it. If a ship is heading for the rocks, you don’t stop sounding the alarm just because no one’s listening or paying attention. For sure, these are likely to be challenging months ahead for the Island’s media but faced with the evidence that Bermuda has an electorate that can’t see anything beyond the colour of its own nose, both the mainstream and alternative media need to be more vigilant than ever on its behalf. While I too agree with Tom Vesey that the most effective criticism for now can only come from within the PLP, I disagree with Phil, when he says:
“I’ve come to believe that by continuing to criticise the government, I will only make things worse. The election demonstrated that criticism does not hurt the PLP. On the contrary, it makes it stronger. Any external criticism validates widespread feelings of victimhood within the party and helps unite its various factions.”
That may be the case right now and I understand why some commentators feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall. In the same way, surely criticism needs to strengthen any opposition, not muffle it.I too am a Limey in Bermuda. I’ve been here 25 years, have one born-Bermudian child and two other children born here who think they are Bermudian. For all its faults, I love Bermuda and its people and this is home for me and my family and whatever some sections of the PLP think, I do have an opinion and as a taxpayer I have a right to express it – even if my PRC status doesn’t allow me to vote. I’m not pro one party or the other – perhaps naively, I just want to see a Government that fairly represents ALL of Bermuda with integrity and honesty.Without any opposition, democracy in Bermuda is on a very slippery slope. Freedom of speech is something we take for granted and right now, all of us – black, white, Bermudian and expat – need to defend the right to speak without recrimination.There’s a lot of healing to be done in Bermuda in the wake of the election and we all need to be part of that process, not walk away from it. That’s why we need to continue to hear as many different voices as possible – including yours, Phil.