Full Text: Terry Lister’s Campaign Launch Speech

July 26, 2010

Sandys South MP Terry Lister today [July 26] announced he will campaign to be selected for the top position within the Progressive Labour Party [PLP], which is expected to become vacant when present Premier Dr Ewart Brown retires in October.

His full speech from this morning follow below:

Good morning. I want to thank everyone for coming today for the launch of my campaign to win the leadership of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party (PLP).

While I am standing for election, it is not my turn. The truth is ITS BERMUDA’S TURN.

It is time to give government back to the people. Our people must feel empowered. The PLP must allow the people to feel a part of our decisions.

I am optimistic but more importantly, I am a pragmatist. I am ready to deal with the problems where they lie and to get on with the job.

Government must be in step with the people and bring the people with us if we are to succeed.

Let me say at the outset that I am proud of many of the accomplishments of the PLP Government; these include better programmes for seniors, free schooling at the Bermuda College, the building of the new Berkeley Institute.

However there are some dark clouds as well. One might ask what is our future? Closing hotels? Failing schools? Gang violence? General lawlessness? No, this will not be if we ensure that Its Bermuda’s Turn.

As I stand before you today the Bermuda economy is troubled. We have seen some companies leave our shores and others reduce staffing. These moves hurt the Bermudian people, the Bermuda economy, and the national psyche.

We find ourselves carrying a debt that is far greater than one would have imagined just a few years ago. Yet we can turn it around and we will turn it around because Its Bermuda’s Turn.

Its Bermuda’s Turn to create a green economy, embracing renewable energy sources, and adopting a sustainable Bermuda approach will see many new jobs added to the Bermuda economy. The green economy will see the flourishing of new Bermuda companies allowing Bermudians to build successful ventures.

Capital spending will be cut to reduce the country’s debt burden. Each project will be reviewed to determine the necessity of moving the project forward now.

Taxes have become a burden to the people of Bermuda. I will authorise a tax review to determine how the amount necessary to operate the Government can be collected in a manner that is fair to all.

Along with a tax review, must come programme reviews to determine the effectiveness of Government’s spending. We must ensure that programmes established years ago still effectively address needs in our society.

We must rebuild tourism. To do this we can start by fishing where the fish are. This means intense concentration on the north eastern corridor of the United States.

Because It’s Bermuda’s Turn, we must engage our taxi ambassadors, seeking their expertise as we strive to provide a wonderful Bermuda experience for our tourists.

If we are to restore our economic standing we must engage the international companies. We must dust off the welcome mat and start over, listening, facilitating and sharing.

Almost on a daily basis there are reports of gunshots somewhere in our previously peaceful island. This gun violence is foreign to Bermuda but is now becoming commonplace. We need to bring this to an end.

Government has moved to address the problem by bringing in experienced police officers, increasing training levels, starting the use of tasers, for example. These are all good initiatives.

However we need more. Consideration will be given to trials without juries allowing the judge only to hear the evidence and to render a decision.

More importantly, we must look at the root causes of crimes as the band aid approach will no longer be sufficient. Enough studies have been done on this problem now we must work more effectively in implementing the studies’ recommendations.

Consideration will be given to increasing the time spent in jail before release on parole. Rehabilitation (rehab) programmes in prison will be made mandatory and those offenders refusing to participate will see their opportunity for early release fade away.

Drugs continue to be a scourge on the community. If it is to be Bermuda’s turn we must all get serious about the drug problem.

Families must encourage their substance abusing relatives to seek rehab and support them through the process.

Persons who currently are benefitting from other family members’ drug involvement must now break the cycle and turn the offenders over to the authorities.

This is the time for change.

Far too much time has been spent looking over our shoulders at the Bermuda that was with all its flaws and ills.

Now is the time to recognise that all of us who call Bermuda home have a collective responsibility for its success. Bermuda needs all of us getting in the same boat rowing in the same direction. TOGETHER.

The time for the different races pulling against each other, the time for the Bermudian versus the foreigner argument has passed.

For Bermuda’s turn, we must recognise each other as brothers and sisters and work towards a Bermuda that sees each person succeeding based on his skills and work ethic, these factors should lead to success not past privilege or assumed social status.

This not to say that I do not recognise that there is racism among us. Rather it is to say that effective utilisation of the CURE legislation can address much of today’s employment issues and thus we should move confidently in a future where each is to be measured by effort put in rather than race.

In order to have this Bermuda we must continue to push on with educational reform. The results of both our senior schools for the past academic year were very

pleasing. I wish to congratulate both principals and their staff but that is the start not the finish.

To ensure our children get off to a sound start the testing of two year olds by the Child Development team will be made mandatory.

Students’ reading levels will be closely monitored throughout primary school to reduce the possibility of children falling behind and staying behind.

We will encourage physical programmes for middle and senior school students to help develop healthy lifestyles.

The community must get behind vital health issues such as fighting obesity and diabetes, which is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle.

But this will come to naught if parents do not come on board. Remember, Its Bermuda’s Turn. To make it happen parents must work with schools to enhance their children’s chances of success.

Parents must not be afraid to seek help and Government will do its part in working together for solutions.

Accountability is a stand that I am committed to.

Government will be accountable to all citizens. I will encourage and support the work of both the Government internal audit team and the Auditor General. Both of these units assist the public in understanding how well Government has performed and all Departments will be expected to operate at a high standard.

Since 1998 I have been turning ideas and concepts into policies and legislation to improve lives. CURE reporting, Consumer Affairs legislation, mature student scholarships, Energy White Paper are but a few of these ideas.

In future I commit the Government to continue bringing programmes to benefit the people because It’s Bermuda’s Turn.

Responsibility: My administration will not blame others but will accept responsibility for building a better Bermuda.

My administration will address problems. We will place sustainable development in the forefront as its tentacles reach so widely that this approach will cause us to make fully integrated decisions that will look at all impacts of our decision making.

Together we will achieve. Together we will succeed…because It’s Bermuda’s Turn.

Today I stand for hope, for opportunity, for fairness.

My administration will ensure that Bermudians have confidence in their Government and have a belief that that Government is always acting in their best interest. Remember It’s Bermuda’s Turn.

Our future must be one of meaningful jobs for Bermudians, affordable housing, effective social rehabilitation and quality education.

Over the next three months Bermuda will look at me and my campaign. We know that you will not just judge us by what we say but also by how we conduct ourselves. I have met with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of our great party and have given them my assurance that my campaign will be about issues, not attacks on the other candidates. Attacks are not my style and have never been. I have instructed my team to focus on issues and to share with all who will listen what our candidate has to offer.

I will listen to the country and this will be achieved through a series of town hall meetings to start soon after Cup Match. Although only the PLP delegates will decide the leadership issue, it is my intent to secure a mandate to lead this country by this means of engagement.

At the end of the day, it will come down to the delegates . I will show them the respect they deserve and will engage them openly and honestly throughout this campaign.

This leadership election is not just about the candidates, it’s about you…because It’s Bermuda’s Turn.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Brasco says:

    Heck, we need new leaders in every department like yesterday!…..

    The current Premier is ok that we’ve become this lawless society!

    The new Police commisioner is scared to ask for more and much needed physical help!!

    The Govenor is satisfied with being here just for the Prestige!

    Education Seems to be a Bingo game!

    So who will lead?…..

    Why we don’t create Mayor’S for each parish? Mayors seem to work harder than Jet-Setting Premiers!!!

    FYI, I am a black 36 year old PLP Black Bermudian supporter. I am disgusted at Bermuda right now. I am tempted to join politics for the sole purpose to be that voice in the senate because just voting alone in these days has become EFFIN HOPELESS!