Column: Social And Economic Empowerment

January 9, 2017

[Opinion column written by Jason Hayward]

We often we fall victim to consuming ourselves with discussions on issues that truly do not matter; issues that do nothing to change the social and economic realities of our lives or to reduce the racial and class divide in this Country. Even though I do not like it, I admit I find myself doing much of the same.

To be truly effective, we should be focusing our energies on developing and implementing strategies and changes to our current system that ensures social and economic progress for all. Collectively failing to have these purpose-driven discussions only serves a few and keeps a segment of the population always a few steps behind and in a perpetual state of dependency.

There is real hurt in this community. This hurt is not created by “rebel rousers” or “lunatic” union leaders. This hurt does not emanate from “savages” reading radical play books. This hurt is experienced because of the worsening social and economic conditions for many in our community.

Jason Hayward TC Bermuda January 9 2017

Of concern to all should be the continual decline of Bermudian employment, the deterioration of our public school system and infrastructure, the rising cost of healthcare, the lack of affordable housing, the shrinking of Bermuda’s middle class, and the growing income inequality. These are the reasons why there is so much hurt and tension in the community.

Should these things remain topics of non-discussion? Shouldn’t these issues be on the forefront of our many conversations? How do we break a cycle that continually leaves many Bermudians at a social and economic disadvantage?

Social and economic empowerment for all should be the topic of a national conversation. Every policy that is produced by the Government should have that as its aim. Those that are elected to govern are entrusted to do so based on the social contract that they accept when they enter office.

If social and economic empowerment for all is not the aim of the Government, we must ask ourselves who are the Government’s initiatives and policies designed to serve. Who are the beneficiaries of the work produced by our elected officials? We cannot simply turn a blind eye to these pivotal issues and then believe that somehow things will get better; we must tackle these issues head on.

Like many, I am tired of marching and protesting, but I refuse to sit back and watch idly while the social and economic conditions get worst. In all fairness, we should be taking a stance on much more than the airport redevelopment deal.

We should stand collectively to ensure that our children receive the best possible education; we should stand collectively to tackle violence in our community; we should stand collectively against child sex abuse, and we should stand collectively with our seniors who are struggling. There is much work to be done in many areas, but many of these things are symptoms of a larger problem.

Over the coming weeks, the People’s Campaign will host a series of town hall meetings. The aim of these meetings is to provide a forum for us to have meaningful dialogue on the formulation of social and economic development plans that will assist in improving our current conditions.

There are some initiatives we can begin to do on our own and there are some things that we expect our elected Government to carry out. If persons want to see tensions ease in our community, we must work together to ease the hurt that so many of our fellow brothers and sisters are experiencing.

- Jason Hayward

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