Opinion: Do We Really Trust Each Other? No!

February 22, 2015

[Opinion column written by Erwin P. Adderley and David J. Tavares]

The late Sir John Cox, the last Colonial Speaker of Parliament, in his unprecedented speech on his views on Party politics, noted, “We are too small a community to be riven by Party strife, with all the animosities which this engenders”

Many of you would argue, or blame our problems 65 years ago, and to some extent today, on the oligarchy way of life and policies, which the then Speaker was a part of, put most Bermudians at an enormous disadvantage, politically, socially and economically. But let us put this aside for the moment so we can move on from here.

As one of the signatories to one of the Minority Reports on the Constitutional Conference in 1966 the late Sir John Cox noted: “We are unable to subscribe to Appendix A of the Summary of Provisions of Constitution, for the reason that the summary of provisions of the new constitution therein set out omits or destroys certain fundamental checks or safeguards which, in our view, are vital if good government is to be maintained”.

Both signatories of their Report were opposed to the power given to the Government Leader. Suggestions were made back then, to give more power to the Legislative Council, now the Senate, but since then the [Government Leader] Premier’s power has increased.

Judging for the debates in the House of Assembly, do we really trust each other? No!

Our system of Government is a bicameral parliamentary legislature which simply refers to a particular body of government that consists of two legislative houses or chambers. In our case our system includes two parliamentary chambers [House of Assembly and Senate].

The overall purpose behind our parliamentary legislative system is to provide for representation for the people of our small island home.

Now, there are those who say there is nothing wrong with our Westminster system of Government, and conventional wisdom is that if we change our system, we would never get anything done.

There are two arguments over the function and purpose of a legislative body. One would argue that giving the Senate more power would create deadlocks or stalemates to pass important legislature.

The other side of the argument is that effective checks and balances are needed to prevent legislation being enacted into law that would unfavourably affect certain groups and people in the community.

We have read and heard on radio talk show that blaming the system of Government is not the problem and we agree. However, we need political and constitutional reforms to stop this madness of political party partisanship from destroying our island home irrevocably being damaged, politically, socially and economically, if we really want real sustainability for all.

Clearly the response of Government on the Public Accounts Committee meeting is yet another failed promise of the OBA to bring sunshine on transparency. If you were told your cheque is in the mail, you would expect to receive it!

Never before have we felt or seen our island home more divided as Bermudians — a house divided will not stand. If your foundation is weak you are not sustainable enough to withstand the forces of nature.

If you believe committing adultery once is not as bad as doing it again, and again, and again, then, “Huston, we have a problem”!

We call on the people of Bermuda to rally around the need for reform at all levels of Government — starting with our Constitution to provide meaningful checks and balances and greatly reduce the Government Leader’s powers, and rebuild from the ground up thereby strengthening our foundation for a sustainable future for all of Bermuda’s residents.

- Erwin P. Adderley and David J. Tavares

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Comments (8)

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  1. Tony says:

    I actually trusted the UBP more then this remake party made from their left over ash called OBass.

  2. Samantha says:

    The Premier answer the doubt in many minds when he decided to bring Craig Cannonier back as a Minister @ $156,864 and over look the the other respectable Members of Parliament.

  3. Coffee says:

    Then it is agreed that the Alliance is still functioning as it did decades ago , same play book , same divisive results !

  4. Hang up and try your call again says:

    At issue is the divisiveness of politics and those that participate. Part and parcel of the problem is the lack of genuine acknowledgment of how the current state of affairs came to being. The PLP has, during it’s time as leader, continued to drive the division further apart with blatant racist propaganda, a state of the economy in dire straits, and a continuation of finger pointing without reflection of its own misdeeds.

  5. Chris Famous says:

    “Never before have we felt or seen our island home more divided as Bermudians — a house divided will not stand. If your foundation is weak you are not sustainable enough to withstand the forces of nature.

    If you believe committing adultery once is not as bad as doing it again, and again, and again, then, “Huston, we have a problem”!

  6. aceboy says:

    How can you trust a party whose spokesman said “We don’t care what you think”? How can you trust the leader of the opposition who says “It’s all about the contracts”. How can you trust someone who claims “We had to deceive you”? How can you trust people who claim their actions are ok because while they are unethical, they are not illegal? How can you trust a Finance Minister who claimed we were coming out of recession one year and then claim it is impossible to say when the recession will be over the next? How you trust a government that claims a hotel in Hamilton is 99% *there* and years later it is not built and no plans are in place to build it? How can you trust a government who did the same year after year in relation to a hotel in St. Georges? How can you support a party that doesn’t take action after a leaked email showed that the chosen contractor was over charging for everything, leading to a massive overspend on a product that proved to be faulty? How can you trust anyone who would think it a good idea to build the Grand Atlantic? How can you trust a government that is anti-privatisation but that privatised the testing of vehicles (handing it to a friend of the party) after building an unnecessary testing facility that cost over 4 times what it was budgeted to cost but which some years later doesn’t even bother to do the testing as long as the fee is paid? I could go on…but perhaps my point is made?

  7. Charlly X says:

    Well to the writers of this open opinion ! I have to agree with your reforms 100% !! Mean while we will still grumble about everything and don’t do anything to fix it ! If we are all entitled to a piece of the rock why do we argue over sharing ? It stinks so badly how we can smile in each others face and chop you in due back ! And it doesn’t matter your skin tone ! We just do not think collectively as a people on an island ! We think of this month n not the next ! ie ; our coat of arms , where ever the wind blows us !