Posts Tagged ‘plp’

Some of the commentaries worth reading today after yesterday’s election:

“If we want a better Bermuda, we need to do much more than vote in a new government. We are going to have to demand more accountability from everyone, but starting with ourselves.  Succinctly, we must start practicing collective responsibility.” – Bryant Trew in the Bermuda Sun.

“This election … proved that appeals to racial loyalty are not effective. The PLP attempted to make this election about race, especially in the last days, and voters seem to have rejected that in favour of an improved economy. Unemployment knows no bounds and even the anti-business rhetoric which infused the PLP campaign at the end failed to mobilise the PLP base and may even have backfired.” – Analysis in The Royal Gazette

“The PLP is reflective of all the people of this island. Yet they wish to label us as a black party only to subliminally tell whites not to vote for us … We know there are many PLP supporters and members of many different races. However, for a multitude of reasons they seem a bit hesitant to come forward and publicly involve and engage with our events and activities … Persons such as Dorothy Thompson, David Allen, Zane De Silva, Jonathan Smith and Dr Barbara Ball must not be the exceptions .They must be the norm.” – Christopher Famous in the Bermuda Sun.

“The new team (OBA) must be genuinely — not rhetorically — transparent. It must be genuinely direct – not obtuse and non-commenting and non-answering. Above all else, this new team must genuinely embrace all residents and all Bermudians – and not just those who can be described as “our people”. – Larry Burchall in the Bermuda Sun.

“The hope of this newspaper is that this election will open a new chapter in Bermuda politics, which will be less divisive, less reliant on race as a motivating force, more open to problems all Bermudians face and more constructive. The next few years will not be easy, but they can lead to a better Bermuda, provided all people are willing to work together for the betterment of all.” – Editorial, The Royal Gazette.

“The first job for the new government is mending fences. Because the biggest threat to our economic stability is the massive debt and a dearth of ways to repay it, I believe the OBA government must make peace with our income generators and take clear steps to woo them back. This will not be an easy task because of the race-baiting that has been a dominant theme in how previous administrations beat up on their political opponents.” – Stuart Hayward in the Bermuda Sun.

“Posturing, arrogance,  hubris, defensiveness, an unwillingness to change policies that aren’t working out … the list of damaging side-effects of UBP-PLP hatred goes on and on. And it has gone on and on, for way too long. There were understandable historical reasons why it developed. But the great hope that the OBA has offered us this week is that it need not go on forever. Bermuda, Bermudians and the Bermudian political system can move forward, grow and mature. The time has come, and here is our opportunity.” – Tom Vesey in the Bermuda Sun.

An historic shift

Posted: December 18, 2012 in Bermuda, bermuda politics
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For me, the most exciting aspect of last night’s stunning election victory by the One Bermuda Alliance was not the closeness of the vote but the fact that the Bermudian electorate – and specifically black Bermudians – had the courage to vote for change.

It was a watershed moment in Bermuda’s democratic development, as significant as the Progressive Labour Party’s historic sweep to power in 1998 after 30 years of United Bermuda Party rule. In the same way that 1998 was overdue and had to happen, the same goes for 2012.

I have always held the opinion that Bermuda would only become politically mature when black Bermudians, as the majority of voters,  had the courage to not only elect a predominantly black PLP Government but also to vote them out. The realisation that they truly do have the power to hold Governments of any persuasion accountable is a significant shift. This was an election that Bermudians of all races took very seriously and in which they voted on the issues, and less on emotion and historical allegiance. In future, the OBA and the PLP will underestimate Bermuda’s voters at their peril.

The OBA victory was as decisive as it was unexpected. Most pundits – myself included – felt it would be a close election but that as a new party, the OBA could not expect to win power in its first campaign. I had predicted a 19-17 PLP victory but from the moment Glenn Smith not only beat Premier Paula Cox in Devonshire North West but crushed her by almost 100 votes, it was clear change was in the air. In fact, by the time it was all over, the OBA were just 22 votes and a few spoiled ballots short of a 22-14 win, such were the narrow margins of PLP victory in Devonshire North Central, Pembroke Central and Sandys North.

The Bermuda Sun asked for my thoughts this week on the PR and advertising campaigns of the two major parties contesting next Monday’s election. Both Rhona Emmerson, head of aac Saatchi & Saatchi, and I agreed that generally, they were underwhelming and full of the same old rhetoric. [You can read the full story here].

We both commented on the significant use of socia media in this election by both politicians and voters. As Rhona commented: “This is the first election we have had the full force of social media or even [the opportunity] to comment on stories on newspaper pages. The long-term impact of that on the polls will be interesting to see.”

Barak Obama’s presidential campaigns have shown how important social media can be right down to a local macro level [See these blog posts on We Are Social and the New York Times for contrasting views of its impact.]

Social media has certainly been used more than any previous Bermuda election but I’m not sure how decisive it will be. If a friend “Likes” a party’s Facebook page or Tweets about a political video, how much will that influence your decision on polling day?  Is it engaging young first-time voters or putting them off?

I think social media has definitely played a significant role in encouraging Bermudians to be more open about voicing their opinions publicly but there’s a danger that it encourages more knee-jerk reactions than reasoned debate. Arguably the most-viewed online video was the PLP’s puppet ad [see below] – but did it do the party more harm than good as it was mercilessly ridiculed, including this spoof from Bermuda Memes.

I’d be interested in hearing from readers about what impact social media has had on them in this election. What sites/blogs/platforms did you follow most? Will it affect which party you will vote for on Monday? Has it helped you understand the issues better? Or has it confused you or put you off the whole process?

Post your comments below or on my Facebook page.

I don’t pretend for a moment to be an economist but you certainly don’t need to be one to appreciate that Bermuda’s economy is in bad shape. Whether you blame the global recession or the Government, it’s getting worse and shows no signs of recovery into 2013.

According to Bob Stewart, writing in today’s Bermuda Sun, the Island could well be heading towards bankruptcy. Could we really become another Greece? Mr. Stewart, who used to run the Shell Company in Bermuda and knows a lot more about economics than you or I, says that the failing economy and massive debt means Government simply won’t be able to pay for things like seniors’ healthcare and Government pensions. With life expectancy increasing, medical insurance and treatment costs going through the roof, the working population decreasing, and wages fast losing pace with inflation, the math doesn’t add up. It’s simply unsustainable.

Writes Stewart: “There are two major government obligations for which adequate money has not been set aside. These are medical insurance (mainly Future Care), and government pension plans of which there are two major schemes. The first is the Social Security Fund, and the second is the Public Service Superannuation Fund. To meet their obligations, without calling on future tax revenue both of these funds should be funded at around the 100 per cent level. Both are massively underfunded – around 35 per cent for each.

“The total for such unfunded retirement liabilities is somewhere around $1.5 billion which is in addition to the government debt of around $1.5 billion. In other words, Bermuda is in debt to the tune of $3 billion or around $60,000 per Bermudian, including children.”

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