Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where Does The Time Go?

I apologize for the lack of posts recently, I have suddenly become far busier than I anticipated.

My regular posts should resume again this time next week.


Wishful Thinking

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kudos To The BPS

There have been a number of robberies in the Jennings Rd. area recently including an incident at my own house involving gas from a bike and some spare gas for the lawn mower.

Tonight on my way home I came accross a police car with two police officers apparently just keeping an eye on the area. The BPS never seems to have much of a presense across the island but it was good to see them out and about deterring crime.

It's not often I find myself able to say this but: Kudos to the BPS, for being out on patrol and hopefully keeping criminals at bay.


Now if only somehow we could control the rising gang violence and gun crime as well. A little gas from a fuel tank is one thing but, a gun and someone being shot is a completly different story. Those are the ones that need to be dealt with, these guns and the people who own them need to be tracked down and brought to justice. Bermuda is heading down a slippery slope when it comes to gun and gang violence and it's up to our Government and the Bermuda Police Service to turn us around. However we as the community have a part to play as well. Bermuda is an extremly tight-nit community. Everyone is everyone's aceboy or acegurl or even family and this undoubtadly leads to issues when it comes to evidence collection. I think it's important that people begin to realise that no matter who it is, they're a criminal and they need to be brought before the law. This is not to say that there isen't a need for initiatives to keep Bermuda's youth on the right path though. Reporting some is punishment, whats more important is prevention. Honestly I don't know how to fix Bermuda's social problems but, I'm sure there are some people out there who have ideas. These ideas need to be brought forward and discussed, initiatives need to be pursued. Mirrors has been a great success, so a Kudos to our Government there too but, more needs to be done but, I think it's well within our powers to do it.

I dearly hope Bermuda can prove that this isen't just another bout of

Wishful Thinking

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Look How Important We Are Now!

Strengthening Bermuda's Ties with Washington
Submitted by PLP on 16 September 2009 - 6:03pm.

Next week, the Government of Bermuda will officially open a new office in Washington, DC. The PLP Government previously opened an office in London. Ensuring strong and productive ties with Washington and London is vital to Bermuda's political and economic interests. Premier Ewart Brown commented on the office opening:
In our 400th anniversary year, the opening of an office in Washington, D.C. is a watershed event for Bermuda. It will immeasurably strengthen the links between our two countries and position Bermuda well on critically important issues.
We look forward to having a permanent presence in Washington to ensure that Bermuda's interests are well represented in the American capital.


Oh goody! I'm so excited! Bermuda's very own ego boosting Washington D.C. money waster!

Thank god we'll now have an office in D.C. to do all that important.. uhh.. Washington D.C. stuff!!

Now we can finally exert all that influence we hold over the U.S. and at last we'll be able to get something done without all those travel expenses. God forbid that ministers might have to travel to D.C.! That 1.79 million dollars is so much better spent ensuring that we have dedicated staff within close range of such high importance locations as the "Canadian Embassy, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Archives and the Newseum". What ever would Bermuda do without the National Archives at our finger tips!

So what if we have a consulate in Bermuda, we'd much rather go straight to the big man on the hill right? Bermuda carries a lot of weight up there you know, once we were mentioned by Obama in an offhand remark while he was talking about something completly different! We also accepted four Uighers, Over here! Look at us! We're Bermuda and we're important now!!

I once thought that Bermuda's money would be spent on things Bermuda needed, like education reform and iniatives to fight crime.

I guess that was just another bit of..

Wishful Thinking

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

America Weighs In - Bermuda Uighers

Reading through the BBC today and what did I find?

"One of Mr Fried's successes was the deal he struck with Bermuda, which took four Guantanamo prisoners, all of them Chinese Uighurs - an ethnic minority from north-west China. However, Bermuda is a British overseas territory and Britain was not informed until the last minute.
"The British government, it is fair to say, cannot be considered part of the deal," Mr Fried says.
"This was worked out between the Americans and the Bermudans. I will say that I've been admonished by the British government in very clear terms."
'No Plan Bs'
He defended the agreement with Bermuda, however.
"We are very grateful to the Bermudan government and the behaviour of the four Uighurs has been exemplary, which really bolsters our contention that they were not any kind of threat."
"These are four people who are enjoying freedom who would otherwise be in Guantanamo." "

In response I present only an exert from the Bermuda Constitution:

"Section 62: Governor's special responsibilities
1. The Governor, acting in his discretion, shall be responsible for the conduct (subject to the provisions of this Constitution and of any other law) of any business of the Government, including the adminis­tration of any department of government, with respect to the following matters—
a. external affairs;
b. defence, including armed forces;
c. internal security;
d. the police. "

Important section highlited.

Self explanitory if you ask me.

Never a Dull Day in the Devil's Isles

Rather than a focused, long blog entry I'm going to give my version of a daily news roundup for all the stories that interested me. Figure it'll be nice to have a variety of posting styles so I guess I'm just experimenting with a few now. So bear with me until I find my niche.


Breaking News: Jailed for empty magazine clip

An American woman was this morning jailed for ten days after bringing an empty magazine clip into Bermuda.
Lori Du-Bell, 61, of Naples, Florida, appeared in Magistrates’ Court earlier this week when she pleaded guilty to bringing in the clip. At the hearing she told the court she had forgotton it was in her bag.
She was arrested last Thursday after one Customs officer found the empty magazine in her carry-on bag at L.F. Wade International Airport and a second officer discovered nine 9 mm rounds in the bathroom trash of the plane she had had arrived on.
This morning she appeared in court for sentencing when she was jailed for ten days.


Now is it just me or does this appear to be nothing more than an honest mistake? I mean come on.. She's a 61 year old who panicked and actually threw the ammunition away before landing in Bermuda. She is guilty of nothing more than a stupid mistake, at most she should have had the magazine confiscated and perhaps a small fine if they really really wanted to make a point out of it. But, prison for 10 days.. a bit much for a tourist. A bit of understanding and compassion could go a long way. No it wouldn't save Bermuda's tourism industry but, word gets around and little things matter. They often become more than the sum of their parts. But.. What with the the recent gun crime and the clamour for harsher penalties it would leave the courts open to critisism if they didn't punish her. Much the same as the Ministry of Immigration came under fire for approving a work-permit for an American convicted of importing drugs.


Barritt ponders political future

"Yesterday, the veteran MP told The Royal Gazette he would "stay to the last drink" as his soul-searching colleagues continue to explore the need to change following high-profile walkouts from reformers.
However, he said he has grown tired of Bermuda's stagnated party politics and wants to see members on all sides of the House of Assembly working together for the better of the Island — something he may not be able to do from inside the UBP in its current form."


I admire both the loyalty and the acceptance that loyalty can only go so far shown by Mr. Barritt in his statement to the Royal Gazette.

Barritt is someone who I see much as I see Michael Dunkley, articulate, intelligent and well meaning but, someone who will no longer have much of a place in the grand scheme of things due simply to his race and status as old guard UBP (I hope I'm wrong). Recently he has spoken out for the need to open up the PAC meetings to the public, a topic I'm fully in agreement on and I think it would be a huge loss to the UBP to lose him.

I am of course taking his statements at face value, I haven't been led to believe he's untrustworthy but, in the end I will accept that it could be argued he doesn't actually have Bermuda at heart but, his own agenda. While I'm sure there must be some element of "I need to set myself up so I can stay in politics if the UBP goes down", I personally believe that that is the farthest his agenda goes, I do believe that other than that he has his constituents at heart.


"I don't think it's just about the UBP. We have to discuss how this Country is better served. We need more coalition and alliance with different groups; not just on the UBP team — it may require being on the teams of other people and other groups.

"If that becomes your focus, a lot of this other stuff may change — branding, that follows like night follows day.
"I personally think it's a good thing that people are looking for other things. They don't want the rigidity of party systems any more. In Bermuda, with limited resources and with the number of people prepared to get involved, we have to look how to make the most of what we've got.
"I hope people continue to move the process along."

Agreed. Once again I can't be 100% sure he's not just saying what people want to hear but, if he is really behind it then I am in full agreement. Partisan politics need to end for Bermuda to move forward.


"Mr. Crockwell, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Pettingill — like fellow UBP defectors Wayne Furbert and Darius Tucker — will not be resigning their seats and risking by-elections. But Mr. Barritt said: "When you have been around as long as I have, and you go back to people to get their support, if I feel that the Country needs to go in a different direction — and it's a better direction — and I'm unable to take my party with me, I have to go back to the people who voted for me and explain my position to them.
"That might mean resigning my seat and saying to people: do you agree? Telling people I feel very strongly about this, I want you to have an opportunity to say what you want. As Independent or whatever. As I understand the law, there's no requirement to do that, but if I get to that point, where I'm at variance with my party, I would be looking to go back to the people who supported me." "


Once again I am in Agreement. I have always supported going back to a by-election if you are to break from your party. Grants the new independant candidate some legitimacy as well as ensuring the wishes of the constituents are adheared to.


Breaking News: Thieves target nursery for second time

A children’s nursery was targeted by thieves this morning — the second time it has been broken into within a week.
Police said that at 7.35 a.m. today they received a report of a burglary at Kiddie Academy on Laffan Street, in Pembroke.
A spokesman said: “Details are unclear at this time, however initial information suggests that a computer and other items were stolen from the premises.”
Last week thieves broke into Kiddie Academy, stealing a laptop, $100 cash, chocolate milk belonging to the children and a bottle of wine from an office party, before starting a fire in the building.


Disgusting. Cane them.


Crockwell: Constituents 'relieved' and pledging support

I am glad to hear that Crockwell has the support of his constituents. Of course the best way is to face a by-election but, I am a trusting guy and am willing to take him as innocent of lying unless I am presented with evidence to make be believe the contrary. As good as it is to see a new party, it will be useless if it is founded on a cracked foundation, that is why it is so important to ensure the support of constituents before making such a move.


Big task for new party amid UBP turmoilIt will be tough for the defectors to shake off their UBP baggage and not further divide the country

"While efforts to bridge the polarization gap are to be encouraged, the party in power has found it can benefit fromdivisiveness. Nothing the UBP or the new-BP can do will dissuade the PLP leadership from pursuing this deviant and divisive path."

I think this extract best sums up the opinion piece by Stuart Hayword. As I pointed out in my last blog post we can see the beginnings to the mudslinging already on the PLP blog. I have little doubt that the PLP will try as hard as they can to ensure the new party (I refuse to call it the NewBP because I feel that is another element of the labeling that is to come) is seen by their loyal voters as just another big bad UBP. Something to be defeated at all costs, solidarity, racial unity etc. blah blah. The usuall bull.

At first I had hopes this party could break through that but, I realise how naive I was being now. It is going to have to fight through it. They have a better position, they have the benifit of not needing to deal with the stigma the UBP had. However on the other hand all of these candidates were members of the UBP and this is only going to hinder them further. It's another sad reality in Bermuda politics that the government will do anything to ensure they can divide the population along racial lines. I had hoped that the new party could over come that..

I guess in the end that was only..

Wishful Thinking

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Comedy of Errors?

ZBM News today reported on a report commissioned by the UBP to identify failures and necessary changes following the general election loss.

From memory the issues suggested ranged from going out and doing some good in the community and setting up their own radio station to combat the effect of Hott 107.5 which the report stated was having an effect on voters. Of course it also mentioned the ones that we are all common with, name change, image change etc.

I guess now I have my answer as to what changes the UBP should/could have made.

More worryingly however the report suggested that rather than Michael Dunkley being so visible in the lead-up to the last election he should have taken a back seat to a group of black "surrogates". Is it just me or does that seem to be what the UBP has been accused of all along? Using black's as a front for the whites in control? I am very happy to see that the UBP did not take that low road, I have a lot of respect for Michael Dunkley and to see what I believe is an intelligent and well meaning man using such pathetic political strategies would have been the end of that respect.

However it's all irelevant. Dunkley will never again have a place in the forefront of Bermuda politics because of his race and because of the perception of him being from the old guard and this applies to many members of the current UBP (likewise there are many PLP members I'd like to see getting involved who will undoubtedly be asked not to simply because of the stigma they may bring with them). I understand however that the new party must strive to distance itself with the UBP in particular and the labels the PLP will most certainly seek to apply to it. In fact the PLP has already begun it's smearing of the new party on it's blog:

"The Progressive Labour Party is pleased to welcome a third party to Bermuda's political landscape. Led by Shawn Crockwell, the formation of the new party represents the culmination of an internal feud between the powerbrokers that control Bermuda's opposition. The Crockwell Party is a new investment vehicle for the same, old longstanding opponents of the PLP to try and regain power.
We in the PLP look forward to engaging in a lively debate of ideas with the latest member of Bermuda's opposition."

An artfully hidden begin to the name calling I must say. I expect to see attacks like this become far less subtle and far more open and hostile as the new party gets of the ground. And they haven't even had the chance to make any mistakes yet! Just wait until there is one mis-step, one out of line comment or one wrong person joins the party. And then BOOM, it's going to be status quo all over again.

Some suggest that the current new party isen't going to be the one that breaks the PLP but rather that it will lay the groundwork for yet another new party that will emerge with universal support and soar into victory. Unlikely as far as I'm concerned. Others suggest that following the breakup of the UBP the PLP too will split because the only thing holding it together is their common enemy, the UBP. Unlikely as well, as long as Dr. Brown retains his mysterious hold over so many PLP MPs.

Thinking back from the lead-up to the last election all the way to the present day Bermuda politics seems more to be like a comedy of errors every day. A failed opposition, a failed government and an electorate that failed to keep them in line. Why oh why can't Bermuda seem to acheive good governance.

It is beginning to seem that hoping for that is just... Wishful Thinking.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Raison D'Etre

While perhaps this should have come first, I'd rather get straight to what this blog is supposed to be about than give an introduction. Now that I've christened the blog however I can get around to introducing my Raison D'Etre.

I have always taken an intrest in current events, most of all in my home country of Bermuda but, it is only recently that I discovered a whole new area of political discussion other than over lunch with a few close friends in the blogging world. I began by reading, absorbing different views and opinions and eventually using them to add to the opinions I had already formed. Hopefully now I can add to that chorus of opinions and help spark a few lively debates

This is a crucial time in Bermuda, and more than ever I find that there is so much to comment on. So much to discuss. So much to debate. I hope I can contribute to those debates and therefore in some small way contribute to Bermuda's future because frank debates are exactly what Bermuda needs at this moment in time.

My Two Cents

Bermuda has reached a crossroads.

The United Bermuda Party, long lambasted as the white supremacist party of old and recently under renewed fire for being a weak, impotent opposition, has finally begun it's death throes. Six members of the UBP including three MP's and a Senator have tendered their resignations with the intention of forming a new party in the new year. This would appear to be the final nail in the coffin of a long dying political entity.

Or is it?

Many will cite the failures of the NLP which emerged from a split with the current ruling Progressive Labour Party as proof that it is impossible for any newcomer to break the stranglehold that the PLP and UBP hold over politics on this small island. The PLP survived that split, why can't the UBP survive this one?

Well the situations seem astronomically different. Bermuda's political realm has not been so open to the formation of a new party in a long, long time. The UBP is critisised almost daily in the media or in the blogging community and admitidly has done little to dispel those criticisms. Whether because it is a weak opposition (fact) or because it is the old racist party (fiction) these critisims have taken a heavy toll on the party. It's leader Kim Swan has approval levels close to those of our Premier Ewart Brown. Suprising given all that Dr. Brown has done recently, from complete disregard for the constitution to complete disrespect for parliment. Mr. Swan was never the man for the job but, internal politics must have won out because in the end he is the one sitting as Leader of the Opposition.

The six rebels identify a lack of reform as the reasons for their decision to break from the UBP and I think this is a cause that Bermudians can respect which is important if the new party is to move forward. However I have to admit that although reform of the UBP is talked about often I can never seem to figure out what that reform is supposed to entail. Moving away from it's past by changing it's name is one possible reform I can identify, another would be more democratic internal processes but, again it's all very vague to me. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.

The UBP is doomed, thats my honest opinion. UNLESS it can move away from it's past which it has proved it can't. The PLP has grown complacent, corrupt and incompetant during it's long stint in power, the simply fact that Dr. Brown remains Premier illustrates this fact. Bermuda's political system needs a major shake up, I hope this new party can be this shake up. The rebels are quite right that the racial divides need to be broken and this new party is going to have to be very careful to ensure it cannot be labled as the "New UBP".

The PLP has the ability to turn itself around, to step away from the race based politics and campaign purely on it's ideals for a better Bermuda. The new party has the ability to provide a strong opposition and even government when the time comes.
Unfortunatly for the UBP it would seem that their time is nearly over. Public perception is everything and the hurdles the UBP would need to overcome to be viable again are humungous. But, perhaps it's possible, I'd be careful in pronouncing a death sentance on such a long standing political institution just yet. The most important question is not whether the party will survive but rather if it will ever be able to contest the government again. If not then it is in for a very slow, very painful death.