Column: ‘Independence’ or ‘Interdependence’?

June 4, 2018

[Opinion column written by Justin Mathias]

The last few weeks has provided an invaluable insight into what some of the electorate are talking about and what their concerns really are.

Every time I stop and talk to the voters in Warwick North East, the same issues crop up – affordable health care and how seniors are finding it difficult to have money left over even for things like food once their health needs are paid for, how working families are not seeing any benefits from the last Budget and a continuing concern over education.

However, since the Premier’s speech about independence, made to the House of Assembly on the 50th anniversary of Universal Adult Suffrage in Bermuda, another area of concern is dominating my doorstep conversations with constituents – independence and what the implications for Bermuda would be.

David Burt stated that we need to begin laying the groundwork for an independent Bermuda. However, I would ask this question: instead of independence, should Bermuda be looking at ‘interdependence’? By any measure Bermuda is a small island nation, so should we be building more and better partnerships and engaging in constructive dialogue to put us in a position of strength?

Justin Mathias Bermuda TC June 4 2018

Should we be creating opportunities through networking? Should we think about collaboration not isolationism? I believe the answers to both those questions is a resounding ‘yes’.

For those of us that are simply seeking to make a living, start a family and share in the Bermudian promise, we need opportunities. We need a commitment to people and strategies that empower opportunities.

Interdependence means that you can rely on others for your security and well-being. It means that you are trusted and welcomed internationally through shared values and beliefs. It means when you ask for help you will be heard.

We are an island geographically isolated from the rest of the world. We have our island’s beauty, our people, a modern infrastructure and our reputation to generate jobs and opportunities. We require trade and incoming dollars through broad and solid relationships and trust to succeed.

Trust is earned through experience and interaction – not by standing alone. People and nations are stronger by the strength of their relationships. By the power of interdependence.

Bermudians need the ability to travel freely. To educate internationally. To trade openly. To access specialist healthcare as needed. To have options when things go wrong.

Independence has been defined as ‘standing on your own’. Nations that today stand alone are the ones that are isolated from the needed opportunities that interdependent nations and people enjoy.

Here are just a few example opportunities created through successful ‘interdependence’: UK citizen university tuition pricing; a continued social welfare back stop in the UK for hundreds of Bermudians already there; ongoing visa waivers to access the US; the continuation of the highest regulatory certification post Brexit with all key countries to protect jobs in international business and all related jobs and accepted and respected transparency protocols with key countries to promote job creation.

There are more, but as an interdependent country and people, we will not jeopardize the benefits that we currently enjoy – in fact, there will opportunities to build on those benefits. If we are isolated and adrift, will it be possible to do so?

I have seen what hard working Bermudians are willing to sacrifice to put their children through college, to enable them to grow and succeed. Interdependence with other countries opens doors to education and the best career development opportunities to allow all Bermudians to succeed.

At this time empowering opportunities through interdependence is what we should be discussing internationally and within our island home.

I look forward to seeing you on the June 7th at Bright Temple AME.

- Justin Mathias is the OBA candidate for the upcoming by-election in Warwick North East


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Comments (9)

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  1. watching says:

    This is where young Mathias needs to be educated and shows his political immaturity.

    You can have both independence and interdependence. All countries, whether independent or not, have relationships with other countries. Independence does not mean literally going it alone. It gives a country the ability to make all choices for the country, but the idea that once independent you are alone in the world is a fallacy. Relationships are established to assist with many issues that a country might be faced with and treaties often established to formalize these relationships.

    If we are going to talk about independence and interdependence then let’s be clear with the details and not just use political scare tactics.

  2. Checkmate says:

    Anyone who has seen the news on Barbados (defaulted on debt) over the weekend, would know independence is not possible when you’re not financially viable. Now Barbados is beholding to the IMF!

    Bermuda is heading in the same direction, but we have time to resolve if we have appropriate political oversight.

    In my opinion, the highest priority should be the elephant in the room that is eating away at government coffers – annual debt servicing. +20% of our annual budget goes toward debt servicing…as with Barbados, this is not sustainable.

    This should be our primary concern on the near term, NOT independence.


    • Triangle Drifter says:

      To the majority of voters the debt & the something like $600,000.00 per DAY cost of only SERVICING that debt is a non issue. Magically it somehow does not affect them, or so they think. They happily believe the feel good stuff that comes out of Alaska Hall meanwhile the hammer is about to come down on their heads like it did in Barbados.

      • wahoo says:

        HMMM….. what does de junior minister of furbance think about all this here? Perhaps we just pray on the doorstep?

  3. Wow says:

    I hope the OBA and their back room, Do not take the tack of having ghost writers who set agendas and write pieces for young politicians.

    People want to know about him, his ideas, his vision for Bermuda, and how he plans to especially inspire young Bermdians to be excellent.

    This post suggest, they took over from where they left off in 2017.

    Same exact marketing tactics.

    • dick francis says:

      I think this does show a vision – it a vision where Bermuda strikes up more and better strategic alliances and partnerships to further pursue its own agenda, while keeping the safety net that is the UK.

    • Switch says:

      That’s right! Jeanne Atherden is pulling a switch tactic to have a young person try to deliver an OBA message but this person lacks talent and experience! Come back in 20 years after raising grown up children and once you have risked your money and your children’s future on a business in Bermuda. Then you can speak to me about your ideas young one! In the meantime find your own words and not the words of OBA die hards!

  4. Jus' Askin' says:

    If this is what OBA is putting forward for it’s NexGen, they will be opposition for quite some time :-D

    “Youth is Wasted on the Young” ;-) ;-)

  5. TGAOTU says:

    Remove this poisonous word “Independence” and anyone who suggests such for our poor island should be arrested for sedition or anarchy. Anyone who wants independence is an enemy of our island, and a person who hates our future.