Blind Apathy

An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

         —  Mahatma Gandhi

It is absolutely incredible to listen to the apathy displayed by Bermudians when it comes to the governance of our country.   Countless suggestions of corruption in the midst of our leadership and Bermudians just shrug.  “The UBP did it” they say, as if some how the precedent of a once corrupt government justifies the continuation of another.  The “lesser of two evils” they justify, as if being robbed by a thief who takes less than one who robbed you before is better than not being robbed at all.  One can wonder what reflections our children will have upon the PLP as our elders have of the UBP and whether the party will ultimately be recognized as having betrayed our people along with it’s own ideals.

The most telling portion of the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal is not that politicians may have robbed the homeless in favor of filling their own pockets (you know, those 583+ on the housing waiting list and the “monsters” who lived in club med).  Instead, it is the very simple statement made by Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Kulandra Ratneser which revealed the most incredible truth; that some of those under investigation only escaped prosecution because of the island’s antiquated corruption laws.

That very fact is the most telling of all for it shows that no matter how selfless individuals such as Freddie Wade and Lois Evans-Browne may have been in their fight for justice, there will always be those who put the advancement of themselves before that of the people, and yes, they can be both black and white.  You see, the real betrayal of the ideals the PLP was founded on and the real injustice against those ideals lay in those simple words – “The UBP did it”.

Using the UBP as a justification for why corruption and theft of the public purse are allowed to continue now is like an eye for an eye – nobody wins (except the politicians).  If what the UBP did was really so wrong, why then was it not the first order of business when the PLP got into power to instill sound and powerful laws that would ensure that no further government could be corrupt and steal from the people?  Ah, but that isn’t the case.  “It’s our turn”, we’ve heard.  That being the justification that it is now time for the prominent black man to have his hand in the cookie jar just as the prominent white man once did.  This while there remain poor Bermudians of varying decent who continue to struggle to eat and house themselves.

Dr. Brown seems quick, perhaps too quick, to attack the Governor for having allowed this report to leak out.  Why does he feel the need to express the fact that he was exonerated by the investigation yet also suggest that this report will damage his character?  If he was truly exonerated then does he not have anything to worry about?  Could he not very simply answer to each accusation? Or is it that the report suggests that he was never interviewed simply because our laws had no basis for determining the acts as criminal?  If put to the questions proposed by the accusations, what would he answer?  Would he ‘mislead’ or perhaps ‘tell the truth, but not all of it’?

A letter to the editor once justified Dr. Brown’s leadership style and the PLP’s need for him by quoting an Arab proverb.  “An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.”  Perhaps Dr. Brown is such a lion who can lead the PLP to victory, though do the people forget that the PLP already won 8 years ago?  Perhaps we need to start heeding the words of  Bertrand de Jouvenel who once said “A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”  Wolves indeed.

Pittacus, one of the seven sages of Greece once said, “The measure of a man is what he does with power”.  What has Dr. Brown done with his power?  Entourages, bodyguards and motorcades have been only a handful of the things we have seen as somehow Bermuda went from being the equivalent of a small town into becoming some great nation.  Margaret Thatcher may have said it best when she said “Being powerful is like being a lady.  If you have to tell people you are — you aren’t.” 

As the people of Bermuda we have a choice.  We cannot change the past but we must change our future.  Any true and honest government of the people would today enact legislation that would forever end corruption.  We should today demand a full independent investigation to prove who truly has been exonerated.  Demand this of your representatives.  Demand fair and honest government.  No further shall we allow one wrong to justify another.  We shall stand for nothing less.

That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.  The time is always right to do the right thing.

     — Martin Luther King Jr.

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