Column: ‘We Need To Stand Up And Step Up’

September 24, 2020 | 9 Comments

cherylpackwood[Opinion column written by FDM candidate Cheryl Packwood]

I was raised to believe in equality and freedom for all – and I knew from childhood that this included economic equality. My father, Cyril Packwood, came home from his days of research in the Bermuda Archives with the stories of Mary Prince, Philippa, Sally Bassett and many others.

Black women could do anything. They could truly bring our people to freedom. I grew up believing in the fierceness of Black women. I mean I could do anything. Right? In reality, I have been a feminist and equal rights activist since before I knew myself.

Politics has been ingrained in the very essence of my being from my early years. Whether my father was discussing politics with Reggie Burrows, Dr. Eva Hodgson or my grandfather or whether my mother was crying when Richard Nixon won the US presidency in 1968, I have perceived politics simply as a means of caring about what happens to you and me and our families in our community to come to a common solution. We may have different ideologies but, in the end, we want the best for ourselves.

My interest in participating in our election was spiked when Marc Bean announced the founding of the Free Democratic Movement. I found a place where all perspectives are welcomed and respected. I found a group of people willing to listen and hear, to be convinced or not, and to evolve and work towards a thriving Bermuda – not just a surviving one. Indeed, I believe in forging a sustainable Bermuda which will feed and support our people in every sector — and I share this belief with the Free Democratic Movement.

I have spent almost two decades working on behalf of Bermuda in the international space. I have believed in all that we have to offer. I wanted us to succeed regardless of which political party was in power.

It is now blatantly clear, however, that what we have to offer the world is not enough to truly sustain our Island and improve the economic prospects of our people. We continue to do the same thing over and over again. We keep chasing down an international sector that can no longer bring the resources we need to live the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. Indeed, that international sector on which we have depended for some 50 or more years has actually become more wealthy, while the local Bermuda community has stalled and stagnated. All indicators show that 2021 will, indeed, bring precipitous decline in our economy. The truth hurts but must be shared.

Over the past decade – and before then — our government’s response to the mounting economic crisis and long-term unemployment has been tepid at best. Indeed, our government has been too timid to date and has been overly cautious due to Bermudians’ concerns regarding the increasing debt and budget deficits. In short, debt can be a constructive economic tool, but only as long as that debt is used to stimulate the economy, grow jobs and bring sustainable prosperity. We can all agree, however, that it is irresponsible to incur additional debt when there has been little to show for current and previous debt.

We need to stand up and step up. The long-ignored challenges to the overall economy can no longer be politely dismissed or, worse, totally disregarded. We must start by stimulating our economy to bring back jobs and a future for our people. We need to reimagine and reinvent ourselves and create a real and sustainable future for our children. We can do many things to stimulate our economy from the creation of a transshipment port and a duty-free port, to aquaculture and the implementation of clean energy. There are many more initiatives worth developing as well. But, first, we need a real national plan – a plan built around a vision that sets forth a pathway to an equal, fair and truly sustainable Bermuda.

The Free Democratic Movement has that vision and will put in place that long overdue and much needed national plan. The FDM will do this as a true coalition government that works with the people and, yes, for the people. FDM candidates are people who believe in sensible changes; they have the expertise and the passion to govern well.

I have worked in other parts of the world and there is no more beautiful place to be than here in Bermuda. I am a daughter of Bermuda. I have been in tough situations and faced adversity. I have had automatic weapons held to my head and my children threatened with physical violence. But I am here. I know that I am a fighter and I know my fellow FDM colleagues are fighters, too. We will fight for each and every one of you because what we do today creates the achievements of tomorrow – achievements that are needed to benefit our children and our children’s children. We would be honored to receive your vote.

- Cheryl Packwood

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Comments (9)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “It is now blatantly clear, however, that what we have to offer the world is not enough to truly sustain our Island and improve the economic prospects of our people. We continue to do the same thing over and over again. We keep chasing down an international sector that can no longer bring the resources we need to live the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. Indeed, that international sector on which we have depended for some 50 or more years has actually become more wealthy, while the local Bermuda community has stalled and stagnated. All indicators show that 2021 will, indeed, bring precipitous decline in our economy. The truth hurts but must be shared.”

    Huh? An aspiring politician who speaks the truth? Where did that come from?

  2. Toodle-oo says:

    “our government has been too timid to date and has been overly cautious due to Bermudians’ concerns regarding the increasing debt and budget deficits.”

    WTF ? ?

  3. Observation says:

    Well something needs to be done or someone needs to do something. We are currently being led down the garden path, which will undoubtedly end up with a stumble and fall into the outside privy. Wake up Bermuda before it’s too late.

  4. Guy Carri says:

    I don’t know this lady but I love what I read.
    If FDM can walk half of this talk, they’ll take us lightyears ahead of the current two options.
    FDM – get a full roster and take over at next election.
    PLP – pull your finger out bc you won’t win next round if you stay on this garden path. We know you’re scared of FDM.

    • LOL says:

      I hope the voters split the votes between PLP and FDM and give the OBA a clear victory. Only at that time will we all be happy.

      • Kathy says:

        The OBA is not the solution to all of our problems. In fact, the OBA has been a huge part of the problem in Bermuda segregating whites from blacks, prospering the rich at the expense of the poor. Sickens me to hear people worship the OBA. They have caused a lot of racial problems in Bermuda that persist today very strongly. And I am WHITE!

        This woman speaks wisely, but needs to join the ranks of the PLP or the OBA. I am trying to understand her motives, why doesn’t she join one of the two existing parties? Was the FDM intentially set up by the OBA in an effort to split the PLP vote? Are they actually OBA supporters in disguise? If not, why wouldn’t she just join either the OBA and the PLP and spread her vision from there?

    • Portia says:

      In the second last paragraph she describes FDM as a “true coalition government.” A coalition government? Marc Bean already hinted at that. They are not planning to lead, challenge or “take over” anything from the current 2 options…they are planning to latch on in any way they can for power, rather than stand alone for what they believe. Watch and see…they will join with the OBA after the election, with whatever seats they manage to get together, to become a coalition opposition party…not the viable third option people are expecting.

  5. newperspective says:

    I think the time has come to open up Bermuda. Get rid of the 40/60 rule (60/40) and allow free markets to operate for the benefit of all Bermudians. After all, are we not in a global economy?

    Revenue, revenue, revenue is what we need. Barriers to limit GDP growth will not position Bermuda in tackling its national debt.

    Population plus economic activity equals GDP. This is continues to decline. Drastic measures are needed to reverse the trend.

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