Walter Roban: “Remove Your Political Blinders”

March 12, 2014

WALTER ROBAN[Opinion column written by Shadow Minister of Home Affairs Walter Roban]

Just one year ago the OBA broke their promise and scrapped term limits. In the lead up to the 2012 General Election, OBA candidate after OBA candidate claimed that the PLP were lying when we said that that given the chance they would go back on their word. After the OBA took office, Bermudians were able to see who was telling the truth.

There are those who believe that the PLP had their turn and that we should sit idly by while the OBA breaks promise after promise and OBA MPs are caught in nearly daily scandals and blunders. There are those who believe that the standards of openness, transparency and accountability only apply when the PLP is in office. Worst still, there are those who are pushing the belief that the ends justify the means and that no matter the display of dishonesty, incompetence or possible malfeasance it will all be worth it if workers can get a few financial crumbs that fall off the table.

How many of you would have marched on Parliament, lobbied the Foreign Commonwealth Office or called for the intervention of the UK if a PLP Premier had jetted off for a secret meeting with a casino developer? How many of you would have excused clear and flagrant violations of the Ministerial Code, if it were a PLP Premier who committed the violations? Yet under the OBA many have not only sat silent, but have tried to excuse, deny or deflect the actions that we have all witnessed.

The OBA’s tenure has given us all, regardless of political affiliation, race, religion or country of origin the opportunity to look within ourselves and ask the question, “Do we truly believe in openness, transparency and accountability or is it just a political weapon to be wielded against those with whom we disagree?”

Most of us were raised to believe in being honest, taking responsibility for our actions and keeping our word. We try and often fail to maintain those values, but know in our heart of hearts the difference between right and wrong and that doing right is the ideal that we should aspire to.

Bermudians are witnessing the advocacy of a leadership that conceals the truth, hides when the going gets tough, ducks the tough questions and make no apologies. Endorsement of this style of “leadership” combined with a profits over people mindset will shape the views and actions of future generations of Bermudians and will undoubtedly lead to a colder, less humane Bermuda.

Situational ethics and an attitude that says that the ends justify the means might attract more business to our shores. Such behavior might create more jobs for our people and might put more money in our pockets, but is it truly worth it?

Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” It is not too late for Bermudians to reject deceit, situational ethics and lack of accountability while embracing anew the values of honesty, integrity and accountability.

For just a few moments, I ask that you remove your political blinders and focus on the message and not the messenger. Bermuda, we are better than this and we are capable of acting better than this. Let us unite on the basis of shared values, not desperation. Let us unite as our brothers keepers not as one who is dominating and the other is dominated. Together we can be better than this and Bermuda will be better for all of us.

- Walter Roban

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Comments (39)

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  1. Justin says:

    How much money has been taken from the taxpayer as a result of a free flight to meet a potential HOTEL developer? How much taxpayer money has gone missing under the OBA? How much taxpayer money went missing under the PLP government? How many hotels closed under the PLP leadership? How many hotel properties have been PURCHASED under the OBA? How many companies redomiciled under the PLP? How many companies have redomiciled under the OBA?

    You’ve been taught the art of spin from your predecessor, teacher and mentor but the facts speak for themselves!

    • Gang mon says:

      Was it not Dr. Brown who flew down to Guantanamo bay and come back with 4 people suspected of terrorism? Who paid for that and who is still paying for these 4 men to be housed in bermuda. Why is a free trip being discussed week after week?

      To me, it seems the PLP are he’ll bent on preventing the OBA from doing business for bermuda and are putting party before the betterment of Bermudians as a whole…

      • Gang mon says:

        Term limits was bad for bermuda!

        The waterfront lease for 262 years was just as ridiculous!

        Why not scrap what ever other unethical projects the party before bermuda created in their tenure?

        • Dark Side of the Moon says:

          All of these stupid deals made by the PLP were just that stupid. Walter Roban is one to talk, seriously? Wasn;t it he who approved his mate Zaney boy to take all the marsh land he wanted to build his warehouse??? You are one to talk Roban. I would never trust you as far as I could throw you! The OBA have a hard enough job trying to deal with all the mess you PLP people put our island home in. Why don’t you STFU.

    • Black Soil says:

      The owner of a pit-bull den is requesting that you re-enter…and don’t worry the dog’s won’t bite!!

  2. Starting point says:

    Did Mr. Roban not proof read his own opinion piece? His premier did fly off on a private jet for secret meetings, his premier did agree without consent of even his own party to illegally import four humans into the island (violation of not only the ministerial code but the constitution), his premier did use public funds for a personal lawsuit of which he would personally have gained the recompense….

    So when he says most of us were raised to take responsibility for their actions, I can only assume he is indicating that he himself was not raised correctly?

    I could only accept his damnation of the current actions of the OBA if he in the same breath casts out his former leader and party…if not, then Mr. Roban by his own opinion piece is unethical and corrupt.

    for the record, I agree with the points against the OBA, what angers me is the massive hypocrisy of a PLP member crying for justice while ignoring crimes of the past….

    To me this is the best time I can remember for a third party, with not a single former minister from either of these two shams to start up, build trust over the next three years, express their vision for bermuda, recruit your hand experience from business, community, sport etc. and toss both these personal interest groups out of the house.

    • ABM says:

      Your first paragraph says it all Im afraid. The former premier did do all of those things. I believe Walter is trying to say we should also hold the current premier accountable as well. I could be wrong as I do not know exactly what he is thinking, I can only surmise my own opinion based from his letter.

    • Really? says:

      So are you saying they should neglect their duties as the opposition?

      • Mike Hind says:

        I don’t think anyone’s saying that.

        All most folks are asking for is a little honesty, self-awareness and integrity.

      • Mike Hind says:

        And for them to, you know, DO the duties of the Opposition and cut out all this hypocritical, “Mountain-out-of-a-molehill-for-every-little-thing” electioneering.

  3. Unearthed says:

    Walter Roban does make a valid point with his article. It was a good read but the whole party politics dynamic is getting old.

  4. Benny Trump says:

    Roban. Don’t write half of your article deriding YOU, YOU, YOU and then call for togetherness and unity. Your esteemed party has shown that the only play they have is that of diviseness. And to say “it is not too late for Bermudians to reject deceit, situational ethics and lack of accountability while embracing anew the values of honesty, integrity and accountability” shows just how out of touch with reality you really are. Remember, you are a member of the plp… The party that had “to deceive us” and lacked both ethics (Uighurs anybody?) as well as accountability ($800m unaudited). And stop drinking the spiked kool aid. Aka Burt’s swizzle.

  5. Jack Merridew says:

    “Endorsement of this style of “leadership” combined with a profits over people mindset will shape the views and actions of future generations of Bermudians and will undoubtedly lead to a colder, less humane Bermuda.”

    This would have been a good opinion if certain politians could remember beyond the last 15 months. Short sighted policies and planning. Excessive spending in the name of the people completely are negated when the people that are reported to have been helped are now struggling because the anti-profits policies have ripped their lively hoods away. There is no short term fix and be sure that many have no forgotten how we got into this situation. Is the current administration making the opposition’s job easy with some poor decisions and even poorer communications? Agreed. However let’s not lose sight of the fact that Bermuda needs profits. Profits create jobs. Jobs profit people.
    Stop attempting to deflect from the fact that our most recent history is not marred by some extremely short sighted plans, little fore-thought as to the ramifications and clear abdication of people focused actions.
    Finally “Most of us were raised to believe in being honest, taking responsibility for our actions and keeping our word.” – Some of us are still waiting for the November 1998 promise of “a new Bermuda”.
    Be honest and take resonsiblity for the pain and suffering that a whole host of Bermudians are feeling, while certain examples just the opposite now sit in the cat-bird seat of “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”

  6. hmmm says:

    ORDERING folks…what are you the secret police!!!!!

  7. campervan says:

    Quoting Oscar Wilde Walter? like it!
    Not sure that the PLP leader will approve of you using his quotes though; Wilde was imprisoned for being homosexual.

  8. CC says:

    “Oscar Wilde once wrote, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” It is not too late for Bermudians to reject deceit, situational ethics and lack of accountability while embracing anew the values of honesty, integrity and accountability.”

    Bermudians did reject deceit, situational ethics and lack of accountability when they voted in the new Government!

    Looks like a thinly veiled attempt to cast the former Govt. as ‘saints’ and the current Govt. as ‘sinners’.

    This very opinion piece is a fantastic example of situational ethics and lacking of accountability. – How about the PLP showing accountability and ethics for the following:

    Uighur-gate (“We had to deceive you.”)
    Berkeley bond ($6.8m + interest & charges).
    Faith-based tourism.
    Auditor General arrest and the BHC scandal.
    Southlands development.
    …et-al.

    At least it’s just an opinion piece. We’re all entitled to have an opinion.

  9. DarkSideofTheMoon says:

    Oh come on Walter Roban…The PLP had 14 years… (*insert sarcasm here*)

  10. inna says:

    “For just a few moments, I ask that you remove your political blinders and focus on the message and not the messenger. Bermuda, we are better than this and we are capable of acting better than this. Let us unite on the basis of shared values, not desperation. Let us unite as our brothers keepers not as one who is dominating and the other is dominated. Together we can be better than this and Bermuda will be better for all of us.”

    Sounds like a pre-election ploy to wooo voters back to the PLP camp. Funny Roban mentions taking off political blinders as his last statement, after 7 paragraphs of bashing the OBA!

  11. Steve Davis says:

    ‘Situational ethics and an attitude that says that the ends justify the means might attract more business to our shores. Such behavior might create more jobs for our people and might put more money in our pockets, but is it truly worth it?’

    Yes it is because the flip side is bankruptcy, poverty and social suffering.

    Get your head out of the sand Roban, politicians over promise and under deliver. In every country around the world, only the sheep believe them 100%. An island the size of Bermuda, we just want the best minds and people for the job. We want them to make decisions on our behalf so that we can benefit. I think the OBA are doing this, sure the PLP can whistle blow on technicalities of ministerial codes etc. but the fact of the matter remains that there is no proof that they have embezzled the public purse, agreed a corrupt contract with any other party or squandered public money for their own interests. Behaviors that were all too alleged under the PLP! The figures don’t lie, public debt, dodgy tire and light companies awarded Government Projects, Berkley, TCD and Dame Lois etc. 100′s of millions squandered, unaccounted for by the PLP and not a boo from them about where it all went? Why?

    The OBA are not telling the PLP what they want to hear when they ask questions because the OBA know that as soon as the PLP find out what is coming down the pipeline because they will do their level best to sabotage it. To the detriment of Bermuda.

    Roban, you had your march, it was called the BIU!

    • Steve Davis I also stand beside you in ref. to all you’ve mentioned in your letter,(3/12/14 at 8:28am)”The stuff rolls down hill” and those in its path will without any doubt get caught-up in it,(or should I’ve written, “in s – - t”?)

  12. We care says:

    We are so sick of the drivel! Can we just thank the OBA and PLP for their ‘service’ to date and replace them with a mandatory draft of some of the top Bermudian talent to get us out of the mess and move us forward with real leadership and vision?

    Self made Bermudians who really care about their fellow Bermudians and have a proven track record of leadership and achievement who would inspire confidence with blue and white coller Bermudians and potential investors.

    I would nominate people like Gil Tucker, Patrick Tannock, Darren Johnson, Reese Fletcher, Reverend Tweed, Dr. Duranda Greene,

    This island is too small for all this back and forth with these political parties! We need a mandatory draft of the best talent to get us thru this period…. What we have right now is just not working!!

  13. BlueFamiliar says:

    While I do agree with some of what Mr. Roban has said, his inability to recognise his own hypocrisy concerns me. So does his obvious presumption that Bermudian voters are stupid.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Like it or not he could be right on your second point. After all his party was put into the position to plunder Bermuda by the Bermuda voter. They did it three times. The first time was understandable but starting with FlowerGate, Those who look like me & At your peril, the writing was on the wall of what the PLP was all about. The Bermuda voter ignored those warnings & got what they voted for.

      • Dark Side of the Moon says:

        Well, I kinda agree with you on this. In my opinion we needed to get rid of the UBP, they had become very jaded and were not interested in anything anyone said. The PLP took power because people were fed up with the UBP. The last election people were sick of the PLP so voted for OBA. Seems to go in circles if you ask me. However, I do believe that the PLP pulled one over on us big time and I for one will not trust them again. The fact is, if you don’t have enough of the electorate willing to kick any party out before their Parliament time, then you don’t have a leg to stand on, and that sucks!

      • anon says:

        BTW. What was Flowergate as I see that on a lot the blogs.

  14. Navin Johnson says:

    Walter’s turn…who is next….Diallo,Walton ,Derrick? Diversion

    • Hmmm says:

      you BET it is. It is a lottery to pick any merit out Roban’s propaganda. diversion

    • JD says:

      Good question. Lets have a look at the schedule for Bernews PLP Opinion pieces shall we:

      12 Mar – Brown
      12 Mar – Roban
      8 Mar – Famous
      7 Mar – Robain
      24 Feb – Roban
      11 Feb – Famous
      7 Feb – Weeks
      27 Jan – Famous
      17 Jan – Roban
      14 Jan – Famous
      3 Jan – Daniels

      I guess Weeks is next. Unfortunately by my rough calculations we will probably need to endure 60-100 of these pieces before the next election.

      I guess its the system, but these guys just seem to be in constant attack mode. I don’t feel like anything constructive is coming about due to these opinion pieces. Without some constructive suggestions this all seems like a waste of energy to me.

  15. Mark Densmore says:

    Situational ethics and an attitude that says that the ends justify the means might attract more business to our shores. Such behavior might create more jobs for our people and might put more money in our pockets, but is it truly worth it?

    Yeah! I would say its worth it

  16. Batty Tramp says:

    I amagine there will be people st*pid enough to fall for Mr Robain’s rubbish. After all, the PLP were voted in before.

  17. bluebird says:

    Hay Roban,bye you got nothing better to do ??? we are still paying you right,you know from the $276Million that we have to “BORROW” to pay you and the rest of the PLP.

  18. Truth (Original) says:

    Mr. Roban,

    Until the PLP address and ADMIT to their inadequacies, failings and nepotism whilst in office, your words will continue ring hollow because, as a party, you have no credibility to anyone with half a brain and minimal powers of observation.

    • Unbelievable says:

      They won’t ever admit to anything like that. They just can’t humble themselves. Not to say the PLP didn’t do any good work, but what makes them all of a sudden, a year and some later, a viable alternative to the OBA?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        But but but, we are the NEW PLP. Forget what our predecessors did in recent past. Never mind that a bunch of them are still with us. Look look over here not over there.

  19. We care says:

    We are so sick of the drivel! Can we just thank the PLP and OBA for their ‘service’ and replace them with a mandatory draft of some of the top Bermudian talent to get us out of this mess and move us forward with real leadership and vision?

    Self made Bermudians who really care about Bermuda and their fellow Bermudians who have a proven track record of leadership and achievement who would inspire confidence with blue and white collar Bermudians and potential investors!

    I would nominate people like Gil Tucker, Patrick Tannock, Dr. Duranda Greene, Rees Fletcher, Rev Tweed and Darren Johnson

    This island is to small for all this back and forth! We need the best talent to get us thru this.,…what we have right now is just not working!

  20. jt says:

    I’ll judge on reults. Where we are prior to the next election is all I give a damn about at this point.
    The PLP lost the last election because of their poor results as government and despite anything else. The same will hold true for the OBA. If we are stagnant or falling further into our hole, they will be gone. If we are climbing out, they will be re-elected.

  21. Mike Hind says:

    As always, the message is “it’s ok when we do it.”

    The hypocrisy is getting ridiculous.

  22. Double Standards says:

    In July 2009 Mr. Roban wrote the following to a Bermudian in response to her email questioning the ethics of the then PLP leader:

    “I ask that you refrain from sending e-mails to me. I do not correspond to racists or bigots masquerading as democrats. Goodbye.”

    “Mr. Roban, who was appointed to the Cabinet by Dr. Brown on June 23, sent a second reply, telling Ms Smith: “You do not know me either so why do you assume that I was really interest[ed] in any of your e-mail messages? Refrain from send[ing] any further messages to me.”

    ——————————————————————-

    Do as I say and not as I do.