It was Mahatma Gandhi who once said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. I believe he was right.
The only thing more startling than today’s news that the government has bid to get into the cement business was comments raised by a friend of mine regarding the offer. When speaking of the cement crisis and the buyout bid, my friend suggested that it was the right thing to be done in the interests of our island. By his suggestion, the Bermuda Cement Company has for years held a monopoly on cement supply to our island at the detriment of our people. Whenever trouble occurred in the negotiations between our government and the cement company, it is suggested that the cement company would disrupt supply as a tactic to gain leverage, thus disrupting construction across the island and holding government at bay. Thus, by his suggestion, the recent move on the part of the government has little to do with a dispute about relocating the facilities as it does an attempt to take over the business and hand it to new owners. The reasoning suggested as being that that privileged white people have owned and monopolized it for 40 years and thus it is time for a change in ownership, one that will hopefully bring fair prices and better supply to the people, especially if it is government owned.
It is this line of suggestive reasoning that really has me stumped. Somehow the argument of past transgressions by the “rich white elite” has once again risen as justification for why unethical things should continue to occur today. That’s right, unethical. If it was wrong to do it then, how are things any better to perpetuate a similar injustice today. It are these thoughts which remind me of the words of Gandhi.
So I asked my friend if this is the real intention of our government and if he truly believes is in the best interests of our people, than why be dishonest about it? Why dance around the truth by making the dispute about the land and the requirement of relocating the facility when it’s really about government harboring the desire to confiscate a business for the apparent betterment of the people. Doesn’t that scream dishonesty and a lack of proper ethics displayed by a government? To which my friend replied that the company displayed a lack of ethics with regards to suggesting that it isn’t financially feasible to relocate the business on the basis that they make money with ease. It was at this point that I realized that this was not a discussion that could be won on the basis of the arguments I was attempting to make.
Honestly, I don’t accept the logic of an eye for an eye. Very simply, I fail to see how it could be justified that a government could even consider being deceitful, manipulative and unethical enough to conjure up a fake relocation requirement under the intentions of forcing a change in ownership of a business. I don’t mark what was done in the past as right and thus I don’t accept present wrongdoings as acceptable either.
Furthermore, if such a change in ownership is truly believed by our leadership to be in the best interests of our island than why not be forthright about it? If you believe it’s right, why not have the testicular fortitude to stand behind your opinion and not hide behind shady tactics?
The biggest thing that really gets me about all this and leaves me entirely skeptical about the entire process is that if our leadership truly felt that this company was abusing it’s monopoly could it not have simply moved to introduce reasonable artificial controls on the price of concrete? Then if the cement company refuses there would be reasonable grounds to request that they sell the outfit to someone else without this whole land dispute debacle.
Unfortunately, who really knows what the real motivations behind this whole thing are. Should the PLP win the election, those who wonder the truth should watch with a keen eye to see if the facility is relocated as was demanded by the West End Development Corp. Should they not, then perhaps we will never know.
One thing is for certain, I grow increasingly weary of local politics and the eye for an eye mentality we so desperately hold on to. It has come to a point where I have found myself questioning whether it is something I really wish to have any involvement with and whether this island is really a place where I wish to continue to reside. While I have yet to find answers to these questions, they are ones that do not pass without a great deal of contemplation.