Opinion: Divide Between The “Two Bermudas”

February 7, 2014

[Opinion column written by Opposition MP Michael Weeks] Over the past year, you may have heard the PLP often talking about the need to break down the divide between the “two Bermudas.” Today, I’d like to take this opportunity to explain a little bit about why Bermuda works best when Bermudians are put first.

When we talk about two Bermudas we are referring to:

  • The mindset that says there are one set of rules for a few and another set of rules for everyone else.
  • When who you know, or the color of your skin, has higher value, than what you know.
  • When there is one set of wages for one group of people, and another pay scale for everyone else, despite equal or even superior qualifications and experience.
  • When some of us are unable to earn a living wage, and are living from hand to mouth and paycheck to paycheck with no chance of advancement. No matter how hard or long we work.
  • When the full weight of the law is applied to some. While others get away scott free.

We often say that our people are our greatest resource. However as long as some are driven by a mindset that says elevate a few and leave everyone else behind, then we are neglecting our greatest resource.

To address this divide, we must first look at helping our people to make better life choices. From taking advantage of the educational and training options available, to family planning and increased savings and investments.

We must insure that we invest in our people from the cradle to maturity, insuring that they have the skills, resources and opportunities to avoid creating self-inflicted obstacles and impediments.

Next, we must examine the structural impediments that are creating two Bermudas. This starts with education. With new leadership comes a new approach and a new way of doing things and real transformational reform of education is at the top of the PLP’s agenda.

For too long there have been issues of wage equity, exploitation of foreign labour and discrimination against Bermudians in the private sector.

As a start the PLP proposes:

  • Requiring all businesses to include the salary range in job advertisements to minimize opportunities for wage disparities based on race, gender or sexual orientation.
  • Introducing tougher penalties for violation of the Human Rights Act including a provision to name and shame.
  • Increasing penalties for Immigration and work permit violations.
  • Strengthening laws and policies to protect work permit holders from intimidation and exploitation
  • Instituting Human Rights Protection for our Seniors in the Workplace

Many of us have been blessed with opportunities that our parents and grandparents were denied such as;

  • Attending University
  • Home ownership
  • Career advancement

Though organizations such as the unions, friendly societies, PTAs and the PLP much has improved but breaking down the barriers between the two Bermudas is the next necessary step in the positive development of our country

The PLP believes in a Bermuda where Bermudians come first in opportunities. We will never be satisfied as long as injustice, inequity and the opportunity for each of us to reach our full potential is restricted.

Bermudians come first in our vision, first in our plan and will be the first to benefit regardless of what Parish we live in, which church we attend, or whatever skin tone one may be.

We will continue to work with all Bermudians who want to make this vision of Bermuda a reality.

- Michael Weeks

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (83)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Sisu says:

    “Bermudians come first in our vision, first in our plan and will be the first to benefit” – Unless of course we are in power. Where we give out record numbers of work permits. And not just for highly skilled jobs. We give them out for jobs any Bermudian can do. Including those which require little/no skills or experience. Our words have no bearing on our actions. As seen in reality. Not hyperbole. And we are just playing politricks. We are the PLP.

    • Portia says:

      I’m curious – if the PLP had refused to give out those work permits, would they have been called anti-business for taking such a stance? Would they have been accused of hurting local companies and holding back progress by not allowing them to get in the workers they needed and wanted?

      The previous administration may have given out a record number of permits – but I think we need to remember, the economy was very different during that time. There was a surplus of jobs, and I do think many companies who applied for permits actually did need more workers to meet demand.

      I’m not saying that ALL permits that were issued were justified, but I do think we need to make the distinction between then and now.

      • Betty Trump says:

        Extreme economic inequality not only hurts family well-being, it hampers economic growth in our communities and in Bermuda as a whole. In the U.S. today, the richest 1 percent of households owns 37 percent of all wealth. This toxic inequality has historical underpinnings but is perpetuated by policies and tax preferences that continue to favor the affluent.

        Most strikingly, it has resulted in an enormous wealth gap between white households and black households. Recent policies do nothing to close this wealth gap. More must to done to close this growing wealth gap, and it will eventually help to address the racial issues that are boiling over in Bermuda. The problem is slowly growing bigger and impacting the great divide that we see in Bermuda today.

        The biggest drivers of the growing racial wealth gap as pointed out by researchers are:
         Years of homeownership •
         Household income
         Unemployment, which is much more prominent among Black families
         A college education
         Inheritance, financial supports by families or friends, and preexisting family wealth

        Guess one can ask the questions as to why economic inequality become so entrenched in our society today? This may be due to the characteristics or policies and institutional practices that create different opportunities for increasing wealth in white and black families.

        Bermuda has a long, long ways to still go in addressing racial economic disparity, gap, racism, equal educational opportunities and jobs.

        @Portia YES !! PLP had refused to give out those work permits, would they have been called anti-business for taking such a stance? Would they have been accused of hurting local companies and holding back progress by not allowing them to get in the workers they needed and wanted? This was the political agenda of the day to paint the PLP in any negative light possible or to be seen as doing damage to Bermuda. Now we have work permits given out to non-Bermudians in post that can be filled by Bermudians by this current government.

        • haha says:

          The FUNNIEST thing about Betty Dump is that you can tell when another person writes something (obviously being 3-5 ppl being Betty Trumps). It’s either your grammar just got amazing or your another person. You’re a FRAUD! Or you just copied and pasted all of that! Nothing but hot air, garbage mouth, and false facts.

          • Bettty Trump says:

            I recall the Premier’s statement, in a Letters to the Editor, where he alluded to “deep-seated, inherited trends”.

            Such trends had resulted in “two Bermudas”: one thriving, and the other “struggling every day to make ends meet”. The Premier also speaks to these two Bermudas. So at least he now is willing to recognize that it also exist in Bermuda.

            • Colonel Mustard says:

              Betty, Portia

              My dears, its tough and it isn’t getting any easier. This economy is biting hard. I am choosing to spend my friday night in with a sushi takeaway and a bottle of Montrachet. Fear not I will be at Tuckers for lunch and in Harry’s tomorrow evening, comme d’habitude. Phew!

              Much Love, Bermuda East.

    • Betty Trump says:

      Mr. Weeks highlights some key points. HIs article is very insightful.

    • Extraordinary1 says:

      Thank you! They had their chance and messed that up and contributed to this situation so they need to give their ideas to people that know how to implement them cause they couldn’t. They all enjoyed their paychecks and building their lavish homes. While the ‘average BERMUDIAN’ which is me, is fighting to advance in my career despite having numerous certifications and a University Degree. ALL OF THE CANADIANS I WORK WITH OWN THEIR OWN HOMES!!! I DO NOT OWN A HOME AND DO NOT MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO AFFORD IT!!! I am living the Bermudian life and it isn’t that great. But the Expats are loving it and when they don’t they just go home and take their savings and live like royalty. Um even the blue color workers are enjoying the riches of their country that their Bermudian wages affords them. Oh it must be nice…

  2. Come Correct says:

    Good piece, but actions still speak louder than words Mr. Weeks. Empty promises from politicians on both sides get the people of Bermuda nowhere. I’m less than impressed with the oba right now although they still have time and the plp were far from better. This island needs some stability within government and the way I see we’ll be playing political ping pong with ruling parties for the next few decades if Bermudians aren’t truly put first through actions, not hollow words.

    • Tired says:

      I don’t disagree with you!

      Stability and consistency is needed, but WE as also need to be able to accept change as a country. WE need to ensure that the change that comes is welcomed and for the betterment of this country and the people of this country. Bermudians don’t always out Bermuda or Bermudians first. WE also need to speak up more for each other and reinforce that the government uphold what they say. Like I said, “I like what Weeks is saying, but it would be nice to see it done.”
      The OBA is horrible, (that’s my opinion and apologies to those that are offended) and PLP they need to step it up a lot. Much talk and no change!
      Before change can even happen, Bermuda as a whole body needs to stop fighting with itself. Black, white other and whatever always pointing the finger and playing the name game try uniting for once and make things happen.

      • Come Correct says:

        I agree, united as a people we would have the power to make change happen. Divide and conquer is an age old tactic yet most still fall for it.

      • haha says:

        Why is the OBA horrible to you?

        • LOL (original TM*) says:

          why ask things you know that posters will never answer?

          LOL crap i just…….lol

  3. Tired says:

    I like what Weeks is saying, but it would be nice to actually see it done.

    Bermuda put together for those in the Philippines after the typhoon and that was honorable. However, Bermuda can’t seem to put together for the people here and in need.

    Foreigners have more rights than Bermudians right now and that is beyond appalling. How many foreigners have jobs here and we have qualified Bermudians unemployed for those same jobs. Even the bare minimum waged jobs are filled by foreigners and yet half of Bermuda is out of work.

    Bermuda’s system is set up for you to fail. Government keeps making cuts and major cuts in all the wrong places. The more cuts we have, the less money we have in circulation, the less money in circulation to keep living expenses, pension fund, pay off debts and the list goes on.

    Stop talking and start producing what you have said, are saying or intend to say. Make Bermudians believe again. Try helping home before you help outside of home.

    There is a lot of talk about what needs to be done and how things can be changed, but little is being done. The PLP may not be in power right now, but the least they could do is start to put in motion for what they say and back it up.

    Bermuda needs a lot of changes, but who will really make them happen?

    You scrutinize the younger generation, but what is the older generation doing?

    How are you leading by example and showing the younger generation how Bermuda should be and how it should be run??

    • WillSee says:

      We,our economy, do not have any money thats why the cuts.

    • 32n64w says:

      Please explain how “Foreigners have more rights than Bermudians right now”?

      List them for the avoidance of doubt.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Yes, and if they are BEYOND appalling I’d like to know what they are. If they are only appalling a list of less than 5 will do.

    • Unearthed says:

      “Increasing penalties for Immigration and work permit violations”.

      We already know that the department of immigration doesn’t enforce the work permit policy. Minister Fahy was so quick to abolish term limits but not so quick to enforce the work permit policy which protects Bermudian jobs.

      Our high unemployment rate in regards to unskilled labor jobs is largely attributed to companies not adhering to the work permit policy and the dept of Immigration along with Minister Fahy not enforcing it.

      It’s no reason for somebody to get on a plane and fly half-way across the world to make sandwiches or perform janitorial services in Bermuda when we have people who are more than capable here.

      If Bermudians can’t fill unskilled labor jobs, what chance will they have working in a Casino?

      • Blue Familiar says:

        Certainly there are companies that do not adhere to work permit policy and they need to be identified and dealt with, but there are also plenty of unemployed Bermudians who refuse to even consider working unskilled labour jobs.

        I’ve seen businesses that have such positions search time and again for local applicants. They might get one or two but when hired they either don’t or won’t do the job, or if they do, quickly move on to another position.

        I’ve even seen jobs in categories where there are supposed to be plenty of unemployed desperately needing work, but next to no response to the advertisements. I can’t help but wonder why this is so.

        • Unearthed says:

          Can you send me the list of companies who are looking for persons to fill unskilled labour jobs. I know some people who could truly benefit from having a job and will make the most of it even if its late hours or cleaning.

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        “Minister Fahy was so quick to abolish term limits but not so quick to enforce the work permit policy which protects Bermudian jobs.”

        Any proof of this/ As I would like to see it. For real I would.

  4. hmmmm says:

    I would like to see the source data for Mr. Weeks’ first 5 points.

  5. Justin says:

    As a white Bermudian male I am very offended by this opinion piece. This guy has given me no credit for self-funding by university education, completing university, getting a job, passing my relevant exams and working hard to better myself. He gives no credit to my parents who chose to send me to private school instead of taking holidays or even buying a home.

    All Weeks does is play up to the myth that all whites are rich and that you get ahead my having ‘connections’ instead of working hard.

    • Portia says:

      Justin, it is interesting that this article should be posted today, and that you should make that comment, because I was having the same conversation with my husband yesterday, oddly enough. I am a black woman, married to a white man, and I know that he has often felt the same way you do, that being white in Bermuda today is, in many ways and by many people, viewed as a bad thing.

      Like you, my husband’s parents worked to put him through private school. Neither of his parents were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, having come from humble backgrounds. Both of them had to work VERY hard to achieve what they did, with many set-backs, and never for a minute have they allowed my husband to think that anything but hard work was going to get him anywhere in life.

      However, not all parents instill the same ethics in their children, and this applies to all races. The truth is, there ARE some people in Bermuda, both black and white, who use wealth and connections to get what they want, and believe that they are better than others because of it. (This is not exclusive to Bermuda, though, it happens everywhere, since the dawn of time.)

      This is not somthing that you should feel offended about. Rather, the knowledge of it should make you feel better about what YOU have accomplished on your own. Completing university, finding gainful employment, and working on your own initiative is greatly to your credit. I can only say to you to the same thing I said to my husband yesterday – that you should always be proud of who you are and WHAT you are, and NEVER allow anyone to make you feel less worthy because of it.

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        If I did not knw any better I almost thought you were my wife……

        LOL she’d never admit posting on a blog though

    • clearasmud says:

      It is interesting that you identify yourself as a white Bermudian then imply a racial slant to this opinion piece when I took it to refer to the “haves” and the “have nots” which crosses racial boundaries.

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        So would you think that if say Rolf, Dr Brown or say Lavern Furbert said it? I know Mr. Weeks personally having worked with him and I am disappointed if this is how he truely feels. Like him I came from the blue collar work to an office job through hard work and alot of studding. I can appreciate being a Bermudian and not be a valued employee even though I did more work than most of the foreign mechanics I had as bosses. Hence my agreement with the union the other day. But this is a bit much as what maybe 5% of whites have money on this island or less as old money seems to be replace with New Money as the old money heirs seem to make bad to worse financial mistakes.

        LOL

        LOL

    • Unearthed says:

      As a white Bermudian you would be offended because you don’t see the world as a black person. People don’t think less of you because of the color of your skin. Actually people see that you’re white and in most cases think you’re smart.

      Typically white people attend private schools in Bermuda and have a better educational foundation. This is a result of good parenting and also due to inheritance over the years. Black folk don’t always have the resources or money to send their children to a private school. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to a private school. Heck, they couldn’t even afford to send me to a top university. I had to become successful through my own intellect and introspect.

      I am educated in my field of study but because of the color of my skin everyone judges my intelligence level because of a predisposition that blacks are not as smart as whites. How do you think I feel? I’ve attended meetings were my manager would listen to a white person over my opinion simply because he or she was white. I have to work twice as hard to validate my skillset and knowledge.

      It’s human nature to stereotype and form an opinion. For this reason, it’s harder for me to gain employment, become promoted or advance because of the color of my skin. If you have to live your entire life with one strike against you, then you too would understand the reason why the article was written.

  6. WhiteTee says:

    While I agree with the divide I wish you would just say what you mean “white and black Bermuda” and be done with it.

    However, as a white boy Bermudian who:
    - Owns no property
    - Whose immediate family owns no property and whose elderly mother has been renting her whole life and cannot retire due to this fact and the cost of healthcare
    - Has no inheritance in the form of money or real estate
    - Cannot purchase my own property in my own island due to the banks’ down payment requirements, outrageous mortgage rates and generally inflated real estate market
    - Was the very first to go to College in my family
    - rents a house from a black Bermudian landlord who inherited the property in which I live and owns a few more via inheritance
    - Who has been in the same position at work for coming up on five years while spouses of Bermudians have been promoted above me (and no they are not white either)

    And do not get it twisted I am not an anomaly in the white community and if Mr. Weeks and his colleague actually tried to interact more with the average white Bermudians as opposed his rich white political counterparts he would know this. But stereotyping is much easier I guess.

    So where do I fall in these two “Bermudas” Mr. Weeks?

    • Vote for Me says:

      A suggestion is for you to reach out to MP Weeks, possibly with others in your same circumstances.

      You might be surprised at the outcome.

      • Independent says:

        @ White Tee,

        This man has a point. Truth be told the crazy’s on both sides cloud the air, so the moderate people on both sides of the spectrum get caught in the middle. One thing I can say in 2014, whether black or white, but the small guy always gets stepped on, in BDA and the world over.

    • Tired says:

      Stereotyping is typical in politics – a politician almost never sees the entire picture nor does a politician take time to rationalize all aspects before making judgment. However, people like yourself (both black and white people) should speak up more often and bring the politicians back to reality; along with those others that are single minded or know no better. There are many Bermudians like you (both black and white). Fingers are always being pointed in politics, but no resolution is ever actually put out. Many people cannot buy a house, many people have little or no inheritance and many people have to work 2-3 jobs and are still living pay check to pay check whilst living within their means. If you ever notice, a politician never makes the things you listed a top priority for change. Bermuda’s system is setup for you to fail not prevail. The changes we need will never come if we do not push for them; therefore people like you and I will never be able to purchase a house, afford for our mothers and fathers to retire, or be able to make use of our educational degrees to the fullest extent.

    • Bettty Trump says:

      @ WHite Tee…….Mr. Weeks is referring to the general statistical data of our population in this regards, in terms of wealth and jobs etc…, and not just the exception to the rule of folks like you. That is the big differences here. He is taking a view from the bigger picture and data that indicates where Bermuda currently is.

    • Sign Up says:

      @White Tee, I agree with you. I’m biracial, born to a poor white mother, who to this day struggles to make ends meet. I’ve also experienced racism from both sides.

      So although I am fully aware that there are white families on this island that struggle to survive, this does not change the fact that there is an obvious divide between the two races.

      Recent statistics revealed that on average, a white family makes over $1000 more than a black family per week. Bermudian population is roughly 60/40, yet that isn’t even close to the percentage of those incarcerated. The affluent neighborhoods are occupied by predominantly white families, whilst poor neighborhoods are blacks. Most gang members are black. Most executives for IB are white. Turn on the tv, read the news, pick up a magazine, it’s everywhere.

      The real problem isn’t so much that inequality between the races exist. The real problem is that society denies it, deflects it, ignores it, because it reminds us of our ugly past. You can’t expect to oppress a people for hundreds of years, and then magically release the shackles and expect real change in a mere 60. Blacks were given freedom, but they were never given equality.

      Most will probably dislike my comments, and that’s ok. But unlike most here, I’m in the streets. I’m in the ghetto’s one minute, and Tucker’s Town the next. I live it and breath it every day. We can all pretend that it doesn’t exist, just like a heroin addict refuses to accept he has an addiction. It will never go away until we are honest with ourselves and start taking steps to reverse the effects of oppression.

      • BERMYGUY says:

        WELL SAID TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU

      • Sisu says:

        Agree fully. But how do we move forward? And how do we reverse the effects of opression? I think the idea sounds easy but the execution is anything but. Education should play a huge role but is oft overlooked. And IMO is the true leveler of the playing field. But attitudes need to change. Drastically. Eduction needs to be seen as ‘cool’. And not a sell out to the euro-centric world. It requires work. Lots of work. Can it happen? I think/hope so…
        Reversing years of opression post-freedom cannot be done over night. And we need to relize this. Blacks living today don’t have it as good as they should. But that shouldn’t mean that blacks of tomorrow can’t. Attitudes need to change on both sides of the fence. It’s just a shame all of use here today won’t see the better days of the future.

        • Sign Up says:

          So very true my friend. Hopefully I hang on long enough to see equality for all people. Black, white, man, woman, young, old.

          John Lennon’s Imagine pretty much says it all for me. What a world we would live in. Unfortunately, I feel human nature will always get in the way.

      • Independent says:

        # Sign Up,

        You hit the nail on the head. I have to agree with you.

      • haha says:

        Funny thing was it wasn’t just white people involved with slavery. Blacks first put other blacks into slavery and the Portugeuese.

      • Unearthed says:

        @Sign UP. That was by far the best post.

      • Truth Teller says:

        As to the biracial persons comment, in a country where racial hierarchy was established by whites of European ancestry you did not experience racism from both sides as you assert. The only RACISM that you have experienced as was the case of non-whites in general was from – as you allude – the white side.

        In a world dominated by white supremacy what really matters is not that you are biracial but that you are not white. Racial hierarchy in this country was not established by black people.

        You need to understand that the affect of white supremacy on the black psyche was profound and is still ongoing.

        Face the truth….

        • LOL (original TM*) says:

          Your a joke. How are you going to tell someone that what they exprienced in their life isn’t what they said it was? Are you sayin he is not intelligent enough to tell what he was experiencing? Once there were whites who said this to blacks and it still sounds like the high and mighty talking to the less intelligent.

          LOL you call your self truth teller but history for you must have started with the trasatlantic slaves

        • JustAskin2 says:

          White supremacy? Where?

        • Onion™ says:

          Wow!! I was off sick Friday so i missed this. Let me just say as another biracial person I too have had it from both sides as well as my sister and several other people I know. I’m too colored to be white and was apparently too light to be black. My sister also looks more white than black and the amount of times I have heard some make comments about her being an “expletive white girl” is too numerous to count.

          You sadly seem out of touch with reality go talk to a few mixed people I’m sure they will have stories for you.

    • Truth Teller says:

      White Tee,
      I really admire your frankness. However, you and I both know that proportionately white Bermudians who may fall in that category that who have outlined are a fairly small sample percentage wise as opposed to the black community. That is a fact as the stats bear out.

      What really needs to happen though is for those white working class Bermudians to stop acting like lemmings by voting along racial lines for the party which has traditionally represented white interests (OBA/UBP) and show some courage and join and vote for the PLP.

      Of course to do so will require some courage. The question is whether they are prepared to do so and potentially risk the degree of white privilege in Bermuda that has traditionally been afforded to even the poorest of white Bermudians?

      The ball is in your court. Only when that happens will we be able to create a “New Bermuda”.

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        No what I did check out the PLP. I found that with the exception of the few people in the PM group back then, not counting one person who became a candidate for them cause they just toed the line cause it will be ‘our turn” there words they were not very fond of any white person, Portuguese or even West Indians shocking I know. Crazy after that I did not even want to look at the OBA or UBP cause my friends were sure they were racist. Thus ended my idealistic want to be involved with politics in Bermuda. Hence I write as once bitten by the ‘bug’ you want to do something but there is too much jealousy and hate around it. So I defend what is right in my heart instead.

        LOL

  7. aceboy says:

    When you hold your fist in the air and claim to be a worker for life then you are loudly proclaiming that you made a life choice to be a worker and stay a worker. There is nothing wrong with being a worker. But, don’t whine about having to live paycheck to paycheck because of life choices YOU made.

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    Still beating the race drum. The only drum the PLP knows how to play. Bang bang bang bang bang bang……..

    Meanwhile it does not take much to look around & see plenty, even those without much education, get out there, work hard, maybe start their own businesses & be very successful.

    What are they doing different? For a start they are not consumed in hate. They get respect from earning it. They don’t expect to be treated differently. They get respected for who they are, not what they look like.

    • Bettty Trump says:

      The “RACE DRUM” unfortunately is the elephant in the room, that needs to be addressed in Bermuda in order for us to move on. It can not be hidden under the carpet in the room, as if it is not a real problem in Bermuda.

      Your uncomfortableness to discuss this subject matter, alone tells us this is a real problem in Bermuda. Your not alone, many feel and think as you do. It seems to be more difficult for a certain sector of our community. This speaks volumes when anyone talks about RACE or “White Privilege” they are quickly labeled as Racist. We need to deal with issues in Bermuda, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be for some, if not progress will not take place in Bermuda.

      Also it is very important to recognize that talking about race and economic disparity does not make one racist. It is healthy conversation to be had. Bermuda still has a long ways to go regardless. Funny I have many white friends overseas and this conversation is not difficult for them to have, but in Bermuda if it is mention or certain words are used, I am called racist.

      Come together Bermuda
      Much love to you !!

      • Toodle-oo says:

        So Bette , as a self professed white person maybe you could tell us all about your experiences with your own big conversation .
        I know you must have had many , many over the years judging by your very strong emotions and concerns for black Bermudians .

        Tell us all about them . I especially want to hear how it is you deal with getting across the white perspective and the reaction you get from your audience .

  9. Unbelievebale says:

    I like Mr Weeks. I really do. But what makes ANYONE think that in one year of being the Opposition that the PLP suddenly have great ideas to fix Bermuda’s problems when they were the ones who put us here in the first place? Especially when the PLP still has the same players at the top of their power structure who put us in this position?

    Talk about the same faces huh?

  10. Blue Familiar says:

    Speaking as a mixed-race Bermudian I find myself wondering where I call in Mr. Weeks vision of two Bermudas?

    I received no inheritance from my parents.
    I did not attend university. But I have been employed for almost the entirety of my adult life.
    I am a home owner, but it purely due to the fact that my husband, also not university schooled, and I worked, scrimped and saved in order to do so and are now mortgage free due to this work ethic.

    That said, I want to address a couple of his points.

    1. The mindset that says there are one set of rules for a few and another set of rules for everyone else.

    This mindset exists, and I won’t deny that there are instances where it is a reality, but in my experience it’s the mindset that causes the greater problem.

    There is a huge group of Bermudians who are willing to make excuses for themselves based on this belief. “‘They’ won’t ever let me get ahead. So I’m not even going to try.”

    The true reality is that no one ever knows how far they can reach until they try. We praise MLK, Malcolm X and Mandela. Why don’t we try to walk in their footsteps in our own little ways.

    2. When who you know, or the color of your skin, has higher value, than what you know.

    Once you get over the first mindset you can start to recognise other things. Like the point that it’s always going to matter who you know and it may or may not have anything to do with your skin colour.

    It’s true in business, politics, and society, and it is not limited to any particular racial background.

    All these things are also true about this other point of his. “When the full weight of the law is applied to some. While others get away scott free.”

    3. When there is one set of wages for one group of people, and another pay scale for everyone else, despite equal or even superior qualifications and experience.

    There has always been inequalities in the work place, but I’m afraid that there’s more than ‘two Bermudas’ when it comes to this point. Women and the disabled first come to mind. So if we’re going to address the inequalities in the work place how about we address ALL of them, not simply the perceived ‘two’.

    4. When some of us are unable to earn a living wage, and are living from hand to mouth and paycheck to paycheck with no chance of advancement. No matter how hard or long we work.

    My response to this is going to be harsh but it won’t be the first time I’ve said things people aren’t going to like.

    There’s always going to be poor. Because there is always going to be circumstances that impact what a person can accomplish in life. Yes, it is possible that a person finds themselves in such a position through no mistake of their own making. But it is also possible that a person has consistently made poor choices that have put them in this position. It is also possible that a person simply doesn’t want to avail themselves of that which they could and simply want to be poor and whine about it, because they’ve bought into the ‘oh woe, poor me, mentality.’

    Yes, by all means, there should be things out there to help people, but don’t evr think you’re going to fix the problem completely.

    The rest of what is written, I don’t have a problem with. It sounds wonderful.

    Do I think that the PLP is capable of doing any of those things?

    Well, they didn’t do much for either of the two Bermudas while they were previously in power, though they themselves seemed to benefit nicely, so I wonder if they are a third Bermuda that they just don’t want to talk about.

    So, no, I do not believe that the PLP is capable of doing the things they talk about. Not yet. It’s too soon since they lost power. They need to spend some more time thinking about why that happened and take ownership of it.

    Then, and only then, do I think they may be able to walk the walk, instead of just talk it.

    • Sign Up says:

      You make some great points! In particular the whole inequality for women and disabled. Those are issues that are equally neglected in our society.

      I too believe that who you know outweighs the mere color of skin when it comes to advancement, for the most part.

      You’re also right that there will always be poor. Since the beginning of time. You can’t have rich without poor. I just wish the peanut butter was spread a bit more evenly over the toast.

      The fact that any of these issues exist in 2014 is sad to say the least. We’ve come so far, but have so much further still to go. We made it half way over the mountain and chose to rejoice in that fact rather than continuing the task at hand, getting to the other side.

    • Girl on Fire says:

      Loved this post! Great discussion – and I thought the posts by Portia and Unearthed were genuine and well-written.

      As a Bermudian who also came from humble beginnings, no inheritance, and obtained university education and qualifications through my own efforts, I completely relate to you.

      As a woman, I know exactly how it feels to be judged based on your appearance. I was once with a group of women when we were having a frank discussion about life in Bermuda. Someone said they had trouble seeing racism in the boardroom. And I said, well, that’s because you’re white. But what if we asked all the men we know whether they see sexism in the workplace, how many of them would say the see it all the time? And compare that to our own experiences as being referred to as ‘eye candy’ and having our comments dismissed or ignored (but promptly accepted when voiced by a male colleague), or being told we can’t possibly expect the same bonus as our male counterpart because he “has a family to feed”. Knowing nods went around the table.

      I know that just because I don’t experience it directly, doesn’t mean it’s not there. But I have to give the same advice I received when i was a child. You have to be twice as good, and work twice as hard as a boy. It’s not fair, but it’s not any less fair than for the girl raised to be a sex slave or a child bride. I have a chance for a better life – it may be harder, but it’s still there.

      I have always known it would be harder for me. I just never let it stop me.

    • haha says:

      “This mindset exists, and I won’t deny that there are instances where it is a reality, but in my experience it’s the mindset that causes the greater problem.”

      THIS!!

    • Bettty Trump says:

      Well your Premier Mr Cannioner also call it TWO- Bermudas…so how does his theory work for you?

      • BlueFamiliar says:

        He’s your Premier as well, Ms. Trump, whether you happen to like the matter or not. You may not have voted for him, but it doesn’t change his position as our country’s leader.

        And should Mr. Cannonier put up an opinion piece that describes this, I’ll happily correct him as well.

        In the end, there is one Bermuda. We’ve got some problems, no doubt about that, but we’re all on this boat together and those who think there are two or more Bermudas best get their heads out of their collective behinds otherwise we’re going to continue to turn in circles until we sink.

  11. peception says:

    I would like to see both the PLP and OBAs definitions of Bermudian as if we are allowed to formulate our own from these forums, I (can only give my interpretation) get:

    PLP: Bermudians are Black males, born bermudian, who work in low income jobs

    OBA: Bermudians are Black and White males and females, born or given status, who make a strong salary and think those who don’t are lazy.

    Perception is the issue, the PLP in their efforts to support who they think are their core base do a few things. 1. they stereotypy their core base as out of work, black males, 2. Almost completely ignore females and 3. alienate every single white male (who by their very own words control almost all the economic power) and female voting bermudian….It is a crazy strategy for a political party…maybe it is brave but I have my doubts.

    Meanwhile on the flip, the OBA is stuck as if they defend any business, even a small one, they are accused of defending the rich white man, if they have leadership that is Black, those Bermudians are listed as house n… and puppets of the white man….

    My advice is for the OBA to continue their path, support the Union (as Fay did in this case), even adopt some of Weeks recommendations (although they already seem to be in place), try and forge on with partnerships with the investments and hope that these efforts show a different Bermuda in four years (next voting time), if Bermuda has improved then the OBA will win in a landslide, if it hasn’t then the PLP will take another crack at it.

    • peception says:

      lol Perception (I would have to be in the classification, white males who can’t spell)

  12. Lone Wolf says:

    Quote: “Bermudians come first in our vision, first in our plan and will be the first to benefit regardless of what Parish we live in, which church we attend, or whatever skin tone one may be”.

    IF … the PLP truly stand by that one quote, then I will vote for them.

    I am also a white, Bermudian male who works hard just to make ends meet from month to month. I’m not complaining though. Just observing.

    I am not afraid to vote for the PLP and I am not afraid to let everyone know it. I really don’t care what anyone else thinks of me to be honest.

    IF … the PLP show that they are for ALL Bermudians having equality (including whites, Asians, whatever) and they follow through with it, then I will vote for them.

    Peace

    • Toodle-oo says:

      The proof was in the pudding 1998 – 2012

      If you’re not the type who is easily fooled you’ll be waiting a long time to give that PLP vote I suspect .

  13. Navin Johnson says:

    When Mr Weeks was listing his points I thought he was referring to the PLP ministers during the 14 year reign of financial terror

  14. Mr. Weeks would never be writing this if the PLP were still in power.In my humble opinion Mr. Weeks and his Party would have some credibility on these issues if their actions during their 14 year reign of terror had not been almost the complete opposite. This is another in a long line of similar PLP propoganda piece designed to keep Bermudians deeply divided by RACE/education/economic/social/political status. It is not positive, or uplifting in any way. It does not recognise that considerable progress has been made. It is xenophobic, regressive and anti-business. Designed to keep investors out of Bermuda and prevent economic growth and job creation. Simply put the PLP is trying it’s best to prevent unemployed Bermudians from getting jobs because they need high unemployment to win the next election.

  15. bluebird says:

    POOR MR WEEKS,
    He and others are full of that stuff that comes from Horse stables.
    We have a VERY LARGE middle class Black population.
    80% of Morgages in Bermuda are owned by Black Bermudians.
    80% of Property in Bermuda is owned by Black Bermudians.
    Majority of Business’s in Bermuda are of Black Bermudian ownership.
    We definitely have the Richest Black Population in the World.
    POOR MR WEEKS and other do not mention anything about that disgusting word should I say it?? “work” Apparently it happens all over the world.

  16. matthew carvelho says:

    Peace and love its the only way! Then we will have a one bermuda! Blessings!

  17. Vulpes says:

    Mr. Weeks, why now when your party had fourteen years in Government to sensibly address so many outstanding issues? Was it because so many of your colleagues were busy attending to other business?

    It was not the OBA who marginalized so many of the most productive young people of this country to the point that they are seeking their fortunes elsewhere. Nor was it an OBA leader who marginalized and ostracized more than thirty percent of the population by calling them among other things plantation owners. When your party apologizes for these human rights violations, then perhaps the victims of this modern abuse might begin to forgive.

  18. Starting point says:

    Posters should be aware that this opinion piece was a troll. Notice no pro-plp folks are posting in this thread. I would bet good money that an email to the group of PLP posters normally in here all day went out to let them know not to post so that people will post without thinking and give them fuel for the fire.

    PLP hierarchy know the race game better than most lol to quote a famous non-human: It’s a trap (Admiral Ackbar)

    • clearasmud says:

      That conspiracy lives only in your mind!

    • Independent says:

      @ Starting pont,

      why you have to go there? The guy gave his opinion, and now you come up with a conspiracy of pro plp people not commenting? Lol Come on bra, you can do better than that. lol

  19. 32n64w says:

    Should we expect Mr. Weeks to publish a similar opinion piece with Caribbean News Now along with his fellow PLP colleagues who feel it’s ok to trash the island in overseas publications for political gain?

    http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/bermuda.php

    Weren’t the last few days about the BIU feeling FHP were being disloyal and disrespectful to them? But I guess its ok when the PLP does it … to the WHOLE COUNTRY.

    PLP – party before country since 1998; one overseas op-ed piece at a time.

  20. Kathy says:

    At the end of the day, it all boils down to education. I am a strong believer in a radical movement to close all the private schools in Bermuda. WHAT? you say! Yes, close all the private schools in Bermuda and FORCE everyone’s children to be educated together….properly! There should be no better education offered to the wealthy. The poorest of the poor should have access to the same education as the richest of the rich. The public school system needs serious investment which can only come in the form of extra donations from the business comunity, which right now, quite frankly are going to the private schools.

    We don’t need more “stuff” in the schools (smartboards, computers, ipads)…we need smaller class sizes. Class sizes not to exceed 12 students. Teachers should be of the highest educational standard. In this instance, we should all accept that non-Bermudian teachers with master’s degrees or higher in education should be fast tracked through the work permit line and all Bermudians should have to meet the same standard. It is for the good of our children! They should be educated together and given the same opportunity for advancement in our international business community!

    Japan has one of the world’s best-educated populations, with 100% enrollment in compulsory grades and zero illiteracy. While not compulsory, high school (koukou) enrollment is over 96% nationwide and nearly 100% in the cities. The high school drop out rate is about 2% and has been increasing. About 46% of all high school graduates go on to university or junior college.

    To the Japanese, education has always had important goals in addition to acquisition of academic knowledge, intellectual growth, or vocational skills. Moral education and character development are also among the central concerns. There is a strong consensus that schools have the obligation and authority to impart fundamental Japanese values as the foundation of proper moral attitudes and personal habits.

    Respect for society and the established order, prizing group goals above individual interests, diligence, self-criticism, and well-organized and disciplined study and work habits are all traits, which are believed to be amenable to instruction. The child’s learning experiences at each level from preschool through 12th grade reinforce their acquisition. Japanese teachers believe that the proper development of these values, attitudes, and habits is fundamental to success in the classroom as well as in adult life.

    Where does this leave Bermuda???? Are these things that are taught in our schools?

    • Blue Familiar says:

      While this is an interesting idea, it’s based on false logic.

      The problem is not the private schools.

      There was a time, not so long ago, that Bermudian students had a great education in both private AND public schools.

      Even now, education in public schools isn’t as horrible as people would like to suggest. It may not be up to the standards of the past, in part because of the lack of funding, which is where Government needs to step up and put some focus back on education, and in part because the family dynamic has fallen apart.

      Too many children these days are being brought up in unstable homes with parents who don’t appreciate that a child is a responsibility, not a right or a burden. They don’t teach responsibility, or basic manners or morals, aren’t disciplined at all, or are poorly disciplined.

      A teacher can be the best teacher on the planet, but if a child doesn’t have the discipline, responsibility and self respect to learn, changing the education system isn’t going to do a darned thing.

      And yes, what you say about the Japanese education system is true. But in Japanese society, those same values are imparted at home, from birth.

      Don’t expect a system to do what too many are unwilling to do in their own homes.

  21. Silence Do Good says:

    MP Weeks,

    Thank-you for your comments. I have been a long time labor supporter and a great advocate of removing racial and other forms of discrimination in society as we all embrace our cultures and others to be proud to be Bermudian.

    Here is where I believe the PLP keeps missing the boat and continues to inflame discrimination even within the social demographics and cultures of Bermudians. It is exactly statements like these that put the breaks on for me. I wish you to consider these statements from a different prospective.

    The PLP believes in a Bermuda where Bermudians come first in opportunities. We will never be satisfied as long as injustice, inequity and the opportunity for each of us to reach our full potential is restricted.

    Bermudians come first in our vision, first in our plan and will be the first to benefit regardless of what Parish we live in, which church we attend, or whatever skin tone one may be.

    My prospective there are four types of Bermudians: Born, Imported (paper), PRC and Guest Worker. The Born Bermudian who I believe by your statement come first (discriminatory remark) because there are so many current restriction and hoops to jump through for the rest of our society. Your platform encourages further discrimination based on birth. Every country should control immigration but for a hot second stop and think where Bermuda would be without Imported Bermudians, PRC Holders who have been here for decades with restrictions and no rights for representation or the Guest Worker of every job category because there are simply not enough Bermudians to do all the jobs that keep this society functioning.

    If you truly want to help Bermuda and Bermudian succeed embrace our reality that we are all part and competing in a global community representing Bermuda. Every member of our social demographic in Bermuda does need representation and protection from discrimination. Do not start a platform from a point of discrimination and protectionism of one group over others, it is a contradiction of the noblest thoughts of preventing discrimination. It simply sir encourages it.

    • Unbelievebale says:

      Remember that woman who questioned Minister Fahy on his Bermudian status at a town hall meeting two weeks? She actually challenged him in front of about 100 people.

      THAT is the over-arching PLP stance. Just like they like to paint the OBA (or anyone else for that matter) as anti-Bermudian, they should look at themselves. But they won’t. The script has been written that they shall not criticise the party in public and look divided. Dissension is not allowed.

      The only way a PLPer can criticise the party is to resign and then do it. The names Perinchief and Lister ring any bells?

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        Anti-Bermudian

        Based on the PLP’s definition of Bermudian this is just another form of calling whites racist just tring to be a little more tactfull.

        LOL

  22. tugboatannie says:

    Do you mean the barriers that the PLP put up while brown was our fearless premier.Get a life you twerp!!

  23. GTA says:

    And whats the PLP’s opinion on equal rights for the LGBT Bermudians…

  24. js says:

    Reading these comments it appears that nobody really understands what defines wealth in Bermuda

    As a country with no income and capital gains tax wealth is developed through equitable ownership of assets such as commercial and residential properties or shares in corporations as these increases are tax free

    Since Bermudians rarely if ever own significant share interests in exempt companies wealth is rarely generated by this means

    On the other hand Bermudians do own significant equitable interests in commercial and residential properties unfortunately these equitable interests generally take generations to increase and develop

    However once they do increase and develop succeeding generations may remortgage the property for the acquisition of additional assets or simply collect the rent which is itself tax free income

    Now if you unfortunately work for a living you do not create wealth as a principle as you do not increase or develop any equity in anything of value

    Further whether your salary is $50k or $100k it is still liable to taxation under the Payroll Tax Act which erodes what you have in your pocket

    The reality in Bermuda is that the divide is not based on race, employment, education or the such it is simply based upon equitable ownership

    If you own you have if you don’t own you don’t have regardless of your take home salary

    Saying that clearly white Bermudians have the upper hand when it comes to increasing and developing equity as they have been owners longer than anyone else and have had more time to accumulate generational wealth

    The people who wrote Bermuda’s tax laws were no fools

    If your wealth derived from equity particularly equity in property wouldn’t you want to keep property taxes as low as possible so as not to erode your and your descendant’s personal wealth and instead put the tax burden on the person who receives a paycheck in the form on a payroll tax

    Bermuda was established by the Somers Company for the purposes of creating wealth not by a people looking for racial, religious or other freedoms

    Those concerns are secondary

    It has always been and will always be about wealth lest we forget

  25. Navin Johnson says:

    Mr Weeks is only doing what he is told by the people in charge of the PLP…after a year out of office and all of the perks that they took with it they realize the only way to return is to continue the racial platform that worked for 14 years despite all of their failings….,,a select few take turn such as Weeks, Burt, Roban,Daniels but nothing from the some of the other old timers who have no credibility and the occasional comment from Wayne Furbert pretending that he has a clue…..very few are fooled