The following was submitted to the editor of The Royal Gazette as a response to Mr. Smith’s comments, however it was not published so I have posted it here.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to respond to Mr. Smith’s recent comments to the editor of December 20th.
It was not my intention to question Mr. Smith’s ability to speak as an authority on racism from his own perspective. Given that he is at the age where he has served our community for the majority of his lifetime, even having lived through the last days of segregation himself, his perspective on life certainly is a world of difference from that of younger generations. One that has no comparison. Today’s youth have only the stories of their parents, grandparents, their family and friends who lived through such times. Imagine, twenty-five year olds today were not even eligible to vote when the UBP were last in power, and thus could say little on what life was like when the UBP were leadership.
In reality, a twenty-five year old might not know too much more about Bermudian politics then what they’ve seen with the PLP as government and only heard of the UBP. The only thing the youth today have seen is what the PLP have and have not achieved in the eight years that have passed. Have we seen the abysmal state of education? That which sets the foundation of a youth’s future? Does a good education not open or close many doors of opportunity in the modern age? Many doors that were not available to Mr. Smith’s generation, nor our forefathers.
Those youth today struggle to grasp how they’ll be able to afford Bermuda’s economy, even those with a good education will struggle to ever own housing here. Could one speculate that even Mr. Smith himself retired off island due to the high cost of remaining here? Did he notice when the PLP were so eager to grow our economy that they allowed more companies and ex-pat workers onto the island without ensuring that there was adequate housing? Yes, our economy has been booming, but does unbridled growth have its consequences? Has the housing shortage caused a cascading effect on the degradation of our society? Are the basic needs of many individuals no longer being met?
What else have the youth seen? How about the transition of 3 leaders in two terms? Not to mention the way the first one was ousted in mutiny. Have they not seen nearly the same party in power without much new blood and a few rounds of musical cabinet seats? Dr. Brown was indeed transportation minister for most of this time, yet, traffic is abysmal and GPS didn’t solve the taxi crisis. Is it surprising that we’ve now got a ‘new hotel’ getting a Special Development Order just in time for Christmas (or [cough] an election)? Doesn’t the club med still sit abandoned? Remember KJA? In those 8 years Dr. Brown can be remembered for saying things like “I will always tell the truth. I might not tell all of it.” and “we had to mislead you.”
Could one understand how Dr. Brown would not want to answer a “Plantation Question”? Certainly. However, when a few of the questions targeted the Club Med deal, which ended up failing, do other questions then appear? We now play witness to Dr. Brown once again using race to defend against answering more questions. Why? Hasn’t it gotten to be quite a few times that he has done it? At his convenience? Is it not surprising that, on one hand, Dr. Brown claims Dr. Gibbons a racist (but not a dog), without evidence, and condemns him for representing the white racist legacy. Then, on the other hand, he’s rubbing elbows with the board of directors of the Mid Ocean Club to arrange for the big PGA Grand Slam, all on what might well have been on the same day. Does that not seem even a little bit hypocritical?
How many times can he use this as a tactic to not answer questions that maybe should have answers? This time it’s the hospital with regards to Kurron. What if the best contract wasn’t picked and there wasn’t even more then one contender? What if it ends up like KJA or Berkeley? Can we afford to gamble with our future health? How do we get answers to these questions? Is it only the opposition who can ask them? What happened to the Public Access To Information act that the PLP themselves proposed? Have most other developed nations not beaten us to implementing it? Why can’t the public know more? How do we know our government is truly being accountable?
It might be easy for someone of Mr. Smith’s generation to appreciate Dr. Brown taking time out to give it to “the [de-facto] man”, however, is it less easy for someone who has only known the PLP as ‘the establishment’ and knows little of the UBP? Perhaps is it time for Dr. Brown to start answering questions with actual evidence as opposed to song and dance?