Column: Vic Ball On Vaccinations, Politics, More

May 5, 2021

[Opinion column written by Vic Ball]

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw. Nelson Mandela

The Government has one of the biggest challenges that it could ever face. The leadership style that they have used to win elections is finally knocking on their door asking difficult and challenging questions. The seeds planted by the PLP scoring political points by stoking racial emotions instead of actually solving problems is bearing fruit. They campaigned and reminded us at every turn to distrust everything that comes from the colonialist.

You may remember that every issue in Bermuda usually is reduced to its lowest common denominator, race. The PLP blames economic hardships on the white ruling class or foreign workers. The issues of the America’s Cup, immigration reform and December 2nd received special attention by fanning racial flames. However, which of these issues and the many others have they truly solved beyond the rhetoric, political posturing and stirring up people’s emotions? The PLP simply go back to making poor decisions and living lavishly off the taxpayers.

As fate would have it, Bermuda has a hot potato [Covid] in our laps along with the rest of the world. The magic bullet to our country achieving herd immunity is vaccinations, we are told. Bermuda is fortunate, compared with other nations, to have more vaccines available than there are people willing to take them. Coincidently, in the last data I viewed, there appears to be significant racial divide on the takers of the vaccine and the non-takers. Under normal conditions, this would be manna from heaven for the PLP to exploit.

However, this time the Government has taken the position that the vaccine is the only way forward. This stance is putting them at odds with a significant segment of the population. The PLP tell us that the vaccine is unquestionably good for everyone and the country.

The Premier led the way by being the first in line to take the jab. It seemed as if he thought that he would significantly persuade the masses to the vaccination stations because of his actions. It did not take long before the numbers stalled and he had a problem on his hands. Since then, there has been a shift to strong arming, bullying and threats of economic hardship in an effort to intimidate Bermudians into accepting the vaccine. Now we have a new and dangerous divide, the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated.

The political narrative is that the unvaccinated are irrational and irresponsible because they are endangering not only their own life but also the lives of other unvaccinated people in our country. Likewise, the vaccinated are sheeple following the script.

Bermudians as a whole are educated, thoughtful, resourceful and informed. If there ever was a time to respect democratic values, constitutional rights and individual liberties, that time is now. The leadership of the country should be sufficiently cautioned not to make this a vaccinated vs unvaccinated state of affairs like they have done with race. A Bermudian choosing to be vaccinated should not be held in a higher or lower regard than the unvaccinated Bermudian and vice versa.

When a person’s health and the well being of their families’ health is considered, there is way more at stake than historical political allegiance. If a person categorically trusts authority, has built a collective relationship and embraces their directives, it is likely rooted in a good experience with that authority. In contrast, a person who is distrustful and skeptical is also justified in their position. This is why we must respect individual choice.

If the Premier and his team were in tune with the people, he would appreciate this and be more effective at understanding. The PLP, formed in 1963 to fight discrimination, should not be the party to create a new class system or economic divide because a person has chosen to vaccinate or not to vaccinate.

This reminds me of the social experiment that Jane Elliott performed with the children in her classroom in 1968, the day after Martin Luther King’s assassination. She separated the children, all white, by their blue or brown eye color over a two-day period. By the end of each day, the children that had more incentives and opportunities were on top of the world while the others that were segregated and discriminated against were disgruntled and even violent.

Therefore, it concerns me when I hear our political leadership and some members of the opposition advocating for incentives, rewards and punitive measures for one segment of our population. Even more so when we can clearly see what has occurred with the opportunities and the lack thereof as a result of the racial divide. It is also a travesty that none of our political leadership has spoken out in support of personal choice without punitive consequences.

At this critical time in our history, leadership should be more understanding of the reasons for hesitancy and address those concerns without the perception of economic punishment, segregation and coercion as the tools to accomplish their goal of herd immunity. This very strategy will only incline one segment of the population to take their chances with the virus over the vaccine. People do not want to be manipulated one way or the other. Human nature tends to resist coercion especially when it is disguised as being for our own good.

It is ironic that the PLP, which has used the slogan two Bermudas, has launched their own 2021 version of two Bermudas which will have a devastating social and economic effect on the unvaccinated. These are the same voters that have supported the PLP by sweeping them into power. Surely, this government should be protecting their supporters and not make their lives worse because they have chosen not to vaccinate.

The more our Government and people in positions of authority fail to appreciate the effects that their decisions will have and the increased burdens they will cause to those who can least afford it, this situation will continue to devolve into each side standing their ground. Unfortunately, the obvious consequence of going this route will bring conflict, eventually.

Surely the PLP Government, which has stirred up racial emotions over the years should understand if their support base is hesitant. Clearly, Premier Burt is either completely out of touch with the voters or simply does not care how incentives or discrimination will severely impact them.

Premier Burt and his team will have to decide whether it is better to punish the non-vaccinated with the same tools as the colonialist did or whether he will respect individual liberties and constitutional rights to freedom of choice. The PLP needs to change its strategy to respect the concerns of everyone. The stakes for each one of us and the country could not be greater.

- Vic Ball


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Comments (10)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    “Bermudians as a whole are educated, thoughtful, resourceful and informed.”

    Er, no. Evidence would suggest otherwise.

    Vic, this is a terrible piece and quite wrong. Rather than gloating in Burt’s idiotic self induced predicament, you should be pressuring The Premier to legislating for forced vaccinations and fines for those that resist. This is a global pubic health issue.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      “Bermudians as a whole are educated, thoughtful, resourceful and informed.”

      Er, no. Evidence would suggest otherwise.

      To be honest he’s a politician of sorts and they’ve been peddling that myth for 30+ years to try and make certain people feel good and win their vote. Look where it got us , eh ?

  2. Sandra says:

    Well said. Nailed it!

  3. Concerned says:

    Bravo! Exactly right! Freedom of choice means your choice carries ZERO recriminations!
    Incentives, bullying, guilt tripping, exclusion or ANY adverse treatment or discriminarion as a result of said decision is COERCION which is a breach of the Nuremberg Code and international law. This is why legal action has become not only necessary, but essential to prevent this government installing even more coercive, illegal and discrminatory punitive measures later.
    The heavy handedness with which the government is pushing these shots, despite very good alternative treatments now being availble can only lead one to believe that they are being financially incentivised by an individual or entity. Either that or they are guilty of a woeful dereliction of duty and or gross neglegence! Additionally, Emergency Use Authorisation may ONLY be given for a vaccine if there are NO OTHER TREATMENTS AVAILABLE! As everyome now knows, this is simply NOT the case! Therefore,the Emergency Use Authorisation should be REVOKED IMMEDIATELY!

  4. I and I says:

    I sincerely hope anyone who has read this opinion piece takes it as just that , an opinion. Most if not everything written is so far from reality. What is shameful is that some will believe it is true even when shown the facts.

  5. I have to be totally honest, That I started to read this correspondence from Mr. Ball with a guarded position and in reading this in it’s entirety, This is the second Politician that I can agree with and it is a refreshing approach to hear a person speak and cover all the main aspects of the subject matter.

    Thank you Mr. Ball for taking the time to speak to the entire Community and Bermudians around the World.

  6. Blah Blah says:

    What solution have you recommended? How would the OBA Government guide us through this difficult, and painful time during a pandemic.

    It is very hard to balance the cost of a human life and the economy .
    I am a successful business owner like yourself. But protecting the welfare of our people is paramount instead of lining our pockets.

    If you want to actually add any true value kindly list some solution or recommendations , instead of simply running your mouth!

    10/4 !

  7. Ringmaster says:

    Burt has one of the easiest jobs in the world. Bermuda is an isolated island and Covid has only 2 ways to get here. One via visiting boats and the other the airport. All was fine last year with the airport closed and any incoming residents quarantined at a proper facility. Then Burt thought he should be the tourist envy of the world and opened the airport to let tourists in with restrictions about testing and staying in the hotel, but let residents back in without any restrictions, except subject to the mobile quarantine. Then the UK variant was reported and Bermudians were warned to be more careful, but nothing was done to control entry at the airport despite numerous warnings. And so in came the virus and the cases rocketed along with deaths. It will be an interesting next couple of months as Bermuda opens up but without sufficient numbers of the population protected from the virus. It could have been prevented with simple controls.

  8. Marcusbmco says:

    Boy, these are some of the worst comments I’ve ever seen on this site. The “vaccine” doesn’t protect one from infection.. your immune system does. The “vaccine” is an experiment.
    Thanks Vic Ball, Duane Santucci.
    Kim & David’s day will come.

  9. PBanks says:

    This article like so many others from the politician-types relating to COVID, goes to the usual politics vs politics, instead of bringing forward some dialogue that leads us forward. We are going through a pandemic. Disappointing.