Full Text: Michael Fahy’s OBA Speech

September 11, 2011

michael fahy bermuda oba sept 10 2011Michael Fahy spoke at the beginning of last night’s [Sept.10] OBA Leadership elections, saying: “Our island is too small to have divisions. Each of us in this room has a real opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of Bermuda that we do not believe in division – rather we believe in opportunity and inclusiveness for all.”

Mr Fahy will step down as Party Chairman, with Thad Hollis taking over the post. The former UBP Senator and BDA Chairman said, “For me, the last few years have been one of gaining ten years experience in half the time!”

“There is no one else who can say they have been chairman of three political opposition parties and who has been part of the founding of two! It has been a journey to say the least – some up, some down.”

“We formed this party on a vision of change – to change the very face of politics in Bermuda – to end the divisiveness and endless bickering that has so often characterized the local scene. Bermuda cannot afford that any longer,” said Mr Fahy.

Mr Fahy’s full speech follows below:

Today is a historic occasion. Today we celebrate the true beginning of the One Bermuda Alliance, formed to put Bermuda first and bring about real change – change our island home so desperately needs.

Our journey has not been easy, but we have talked, navigated and even mediated to bring people together in the common interest of putting Bermuda First. That is what is so exciting. It is exciting that we as a group of men and women, who may have differing opinions, experiences and viewpoints can find compromise in the pursuit of a common goal.

Our island is too small to have divisions. Each of us in this room has a real opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of Bermuda that we do not believe in division – rather we believe in opportunity and inclusiveness for all. Our principles and values, to which all of you have accepted as members are our guide.

Since taking the interim chair I can report that the executive committee has worked hard to lay the foundations for those that follow. When we have doubted we have “kept calm and carried on” in the best interests of Bermuda. I can say hand on heart that each of the candidates for office you will hear from each want to put Bermuda First, even if their visions may be different.

When we launched in May, our interim leader, John Barritt, selflessly put Bermuda before himself and publicly undertook not to stand for leader at our first leadership elections today. John, your leadership has kept the One Bermuda Alliance on an even keel since its birth, demonstrating your diplomatic skills and experience.

You are rightly being recognized as one of Bermuda’s best and most respected political figures. I have enjoyed working with John. We have engaged in many a debate in the last four months and I look forward to more. John, you are a true statesman and are a fine example to the rest of the community on how we should be moving forward.

Now to the rest of my executive team, Craig Cannonier, Trevor Moniz, Michael Branco, R. Wayne Scott, Jeanne Atherden, Sean Pitcher, James McColloch and the back bone of this Party, our party secretary, Toni Daniels – I thank each and every one of you for the personal sacrifices you have all made in the last few months.

Countless volunteer hours have been spent on membership, IT, setting up an office, hiring staff, organizing and motivating. I really do not believe for one moment that most people appreciate or fully understand what has gone into what we have achieved to date and I ask all of you I have mentioned to stand up and accept a round of applause.

I can tell you that efforts of these individuals, working together, have brought us where we are – these tireless warriors who stay behind the scenes are the ones who deserve accolades.

For me, the last few years have been one of gaining ten years experience in half the time! There is no one else who can say they have been chairman of three political opposition parties and who has been part of the founding of two! It has been a journey to say the least – some up, some down.

I believe I have made decisions that I feel in my heart were needed for the OBA and for that I rest easy. To be a part of bringing about change in our political system does not win you many friends and you tread on many toes. There have been moments of enormous doubt.

Change is not meant to be easy – in fact accepting change may very well be one of the most difficult things to accept. What we have formed, by bringing people together with legislative experience with those who have visions of change, we can make this island great.

We formed this party on a vision of change – to change the very face of politics in Bermuda – to end the divisiveness and endless bickering that has so often characterized the local scene. Bermuda cannot afford that any longer.

Certainly we must fight for the betterment of Bermuda, but in my view we should be fighting to ensure that no one is left behind in our quest to fulfill our values of Opportunity, responsibility, integrity, transparency, fairness, inclusiveness and service.

We must end at all costs the divisiveness that we all know exists – with race, class, age, religion, sexual orientation or Bermuda will fail. That starts by healing and understanding. I feel confident that through the change we have begun we will achieve this lofty goal.

Like John, I took this role on an interim basis. In the midst of all of this change, my wife and I had twins – so it has been momentous change for my entire family as well. The time sacrifices from my family, my wife, young son and now twins have been immense I believe will be worth it.

I thank my wife Fozeia for her unbelievable patience and understanding and I thank the OBA for also understanding the pressures this put on me. Seeing the massive turnout and knowing what we can achieve makes that sacrifice mean something to me.

Taking over from me is Thad Hollis. Thad, as you know, takes the post of Party Chairman by acclamation. He is elected to a two year term and will now have the honour and indeed challenges of building on the foundations that have been laid.

His task will be immense. With an election looming it is no small task. I offer my unreserved support for Thad, who I have had the pleasure of working with professionally over the last few years. I have every confidence that he will represent the interests of the members of the OBA by following the principles that we have all agreed to abide by.

Bermuda is waiting to see what we will do going forward. We have the opportunity to bring real change and bring hope to every person in our island home. Let’s make it happen. Let’s put Bermuda First.

Finally I close with a quote from Bobby Kennedy, which I think encapsulates where we are right now:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

I thank you all for your support. Enjoy the evening and may God Bless Bermuda.

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