Fully Transparent

My cousin made a brilliant remark and observation the other night.  You see, Bermuda political parties have this rather odd quirk about them that they expect you to join the party to actually understand what they're about.  They're not interested in spreading their information and philosophy in the public realm and expect you to join on the basis of who the party is before you get to appreciate what they stand for.  My cousin's solution?  He's going to join all 3 of them.

Bermuda politics is frankly a bit ridiculous.  Look over to Jonathan Starling's Catch a Fire blog and you can often find the claims of the PLP commenters there that he's wrong to be relying on information publicly available and should be seeking out the people in the know and having personal conversations with them to 'educate' himself on the truth.  Often times people are accused of relying on information available in the public domain which is deemed as false and inaccurate and yet no alternative exists except for the much suggested "join the party so you can be properly informed".  It isn't just limited to the PLP, it seems like all parties act in this manner.

While there was hope that Bermuda's newest party the Bermuda Democratic Alliance would be different, in this regard they seem to be taking a similar tack.  Upon commenting on the lack of information available for public consumption the overwhelming response from party supporters was that one should join to find out. Why?  Why does one need to join a party to appreciate what they stand for?  It doesn't make any sense. 

An interesting recent example is available on Bermuda is Another World where BDA's defacto representative Full Fullish claims:

Immediately after the party conference we sent out our draft constitution to ALL members for their comment and feed back before ratifing it, all members now have a very active way to not only know how the party works, but has an immediate and direct mechanism for defining those processes.  

This is excellent that they're involving their members but SmokingGun counters and hits it right on the money by claiming that such information should be publicly released if the party truly wants to make new waves in Bermuda politics:

You guys want to be different. Be different. Make it so no-one has to be a "member" before they get a complete and honest understanding of what you stand for. You want people's input, make it easy for them. Don't be afraid to operate in the open from the outset.

This outlines a major point of contention for many sitting on the sidelines with respect to the new party.  The party has been quick to claim that they represent "change" and "a better way" and fundamentally believe in transparency to their core but aren't delivering on the kinds of expectations that people hold.  Many want to see transparency reflected in not only government but also party dealings.  Now admittedly there will always be a need for a small segment of information to be kept under wraps, however every attempt should be made to make as much information as transparent as possible with secretive information being as rare and unnecessary as possible.  Information sent to an entire membership base simply doesn't need to fall under this kind of classification nor does most of the other information related to a party.

It shouldn't be much of a surprise if the legacy parties don't bother to up their transparency but it is a bit of a surprise to not be seeing the kind of change with our newest party.  Many were honestly expecting that it is what was meant by "transparency" and are frankly left disappointed.  As has been said many times on this blog in the past, what we most need to see from those in opposition is for them to be the change, not preach it.  

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Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Define “opposition” “Change” and “preach”.
As I have said many times before and I am sure “AP” is watching, you leave everything until the last sentence.
Thats not a good summation of critical thought and comment.
The irony is Denis, for the BDA to be “the change” others have to help fill the money jar.
Gotta run…. nickle here dime there shread the card and give a care…….

Sal
Guest

Excellent analysis,
lets not forget it was formed by UBP rebels,who nobody would know if they had not used their party machinery to get elected,
likewise with “Judas” Jamal,who has belonged to three parties,now finally he’s found the big pay check up E rats
I seem them as EST,and other cults,
EST’s founder Werner Erhard (a.k.a. Jack Rosenberg)was jailed over serious complaints about abuses, lawsuits etc

Denis Pitcher
Guest

Rummy,
Honestly I have rarely have a clue what you’re talking about. It is always necessary to talk in riddles that only you truly know the meaning?
By the way, you do realize that not all Pitcher families are related, even St. David’s ones, right?

Alex
Guest

The constitution wasn’t finished. A draft went out to the members.
Chill out. Progress is being made every day… and for the record, I am not involved in it but see as an outsider who attended Saturday night’s event that they are making progress.

Denis
Guest

Alex, What was the reasoning why the draft was kept for members only? Certainly there could have been and it could have been entirely acceptable, however what I’m advocating is that as much as possible should be made transparent with very little being an exception. Nobody has to follow what I recommend, hell, show me where either the UBP or PLP has? What I’m suggesting is that many people have trust issues with both the UBP and PLP. The BDA would go a long way in winning more credibility and trust if they went out of their way to make… Read more »

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Riddles make you think.
And yes I am well aware that all Pitchers are not related. Even as you say in St. Davids.
Nice piece you penned for BIAW. You seem to have all the answers and diagnosis with regards to politics, parties, and their workings.
Being an independent and looking from the outside must be your advantage for such thorough insight.
Anyway, my opinions and we all know how they viewed in a small town.
Now..too early for rum so I’ll have a beer.

Denis
Guest

Rummy, I certainly don’t have all the answers or even pretend that I do. I have simply spent a fair bit of time studying the topics and have gained insight. Certainly remaining independent has given me a more unique perspective because I haven’t been groomed by the ways and understandings of existing organizations. ie (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0814408834/ref=oss_product) When I tried forming a party years ago I learned a lot about organizations and what works and what doesn’t in terms of trying to develop things collaboratively. Namely, without proper structure it’s a lot like trying to herd cats and it’s a huge part… Read more »

james t.
Guest
james t.

some really disengenuous critical b.s. here – saturday’s BDA conf. was open to the ENTIRE population – membership was not a criteria – you want to know what they are about? get off yr ass and go find out! (p.s. – i dont think yr cousin will be able to join all parties – criteria for mem. is basically no membership in the other party)

Denis
Guest

James, Sure, the conference was, but the draft constitution isn’t. Perhaps you’d better understand based upon the comments I wrote over at BIAW in response to the suggestion that MPs should be recalled if they get less than 55% in an opinion poll comissioned by the party. “Every six months pay for an opinion poll and if anyone’s approval rating drops below 55% for more than two periods have them step down? Would be wicked different from what we have today.” I disagree. People’s standing in the party shouldn’t be dictated by opinion polls. If you really want to be… Read more »

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

My Lord Denis. Your starting to sound more like Frank Sinatra everyday. ….I did it My Way’. A well written post above but I don’t agree with some of your statements, observations. It’s not a perfect world, never will be. The Swiss and the Californians are worlds apart. A country and a State are seperate items. You want to sit on the fence? Thats fine. You can read, research, diseminate et al all you want. Your no Stuart Hayward nor other. Stuart can be a pain but I give him credit for slipping off the fence and taking the heat… Read more »

Denis
Guest

Rummy, Thanks for being more clear in your feedback. I actually do get out and attend meetings. I’ve been to ABC meetings, PLP meetings, UBP meetings and would attend BDA meetings. Let along meetings with people interested in forming parties themselves, meetings with people from the press, non-political meetings, etc. Sometimes however you have other commitments. I had a family function that evening and couldn’t attend and don’t feel I should take an insane amount of flak for not making BDA my number one priority, or any meeting for that matter. Sometimes family matters. The invention of the internet means… Read more »

james t.
Guest
james t.

Hi Not trying to beat it to death but – you’re right – no need for drafts to be secret – still its a bit unfair tos ay that the founding members are exUBP so some how its in their DNA to be ” inherently groomed to reject radical new ideas.” – Hell – they ARE the ones who have started something radically new! – not us armchair critics who cant even decide whether we can or cannot put down a $5 bill. – my hats off to them! besides not one of them were in the house prior to… Read more »

J Starling
Guest

Hey Denis, Just wanted to expand on the point you raised concerning some of the flak I get from certain PLPers on CAF. Most of the time I do actually know more of what happened than what is in the media, and I can certainly contact the appropriate people to find out more. However, I can’t exactly write posts on the basis of ‘I hear that…’, especially when the people I contact don’t want to be quoted or anything. Most of my criticism of the PLP’s actions at times are more about their failure to utilise the mechanisms at their… Read more »

Denis
Guest

James, My apologies, I was not intending to imply that that this is an exUBP phenomenon but instead is a factor of all organizations with a basis in cognitive psychology. The link I provided (http://www.instantbrainstorm.com/lizard_brain.html) gives a pretty good laymans interpretation of the cognitive psychology behind it, though admittedly it’s still a rather unexplored field in the grand scheme of things and I’m by no means an expert and have simply done some reading and a decent amount of pondering on the subject. What I’ve noted over the years is that people inherently become biased by an organization and the… Read more »

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Denis, you wonder why we are where we are today. You can talk all the shit you want on this TV screen and put up stats all you want. Dunkley was correct and still is. It goes back to what I stated prior. Go too meetings, listen, observe, ingest, digest, regurgitate. I have said it before and I will go too my grave ( hang on all you pundits out there) that technoligy will be the ruination of man/womenkind. You want me to sit back watch the TV, listen too the radio ( they have have that right) read letters… Read more »

Denis
Guest

Rummy, How was Dunkley correct? In that the only way to win elections is on the doorstep? I have a great deal of respect for Dunkley and well as his willingness to put it all on the line for a gamble in the face of incredible odds. We are lucky to have him in politics. However, I’m sorry, but if you think the election is only won on the doorstep than you’re mistaken. You may condemn technology but younger generations have wildly embraced it. You’re more likely to win support of the younger generation on facebook and twitter than you… Read more »

Denis
Guest

Jonathan,
I wholly agree.

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

I glanced your reply. I’ll get back later. In fact you answered my comments by saying “Facebook and Twitter” will win elections……………….
Sad freekin day when that happens but ……………..

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Dunkley was correct in all respects along with others who struggled to get us where we are and don’t you forget. Regardless of political affiliation. You’ve done your homework, now apply it. All the articles you have read, researched, documented and presented with regard to history of the fight for equality by Blacks, Portugese, et al in Bermuda is what it is. I do not dispute that you, as an individual will not join a “party”. You sit on the fence not I nor many others. You keep comming up with this crap about you were not available too attend,… Read more »

Denis
Guest

You win Rummy. Whatever it is you’re talking about, you win.
I’ve grown tired of trying to have a rational debate with your online persona. Clearly you have an inordinate amount of time to dedicate to such efforts but quite unfortunately I don’t.

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

I thought my comments were quite rational. And the irony is Mr. Pitcher your last sentence always sums it up. No offence but re-read it. As for debate, I thought I wa doing pretty good for an ole fart. But…if you want to give up thats your choice. “Online persona”. Please Denis, it’s only me. I am whom I am. I am the same in person as I am online. Thats why half of Bermuda stab me in the back each day. I come to your door and ask for a minute but most shut it because I am outspoken.… Read more »

Sean Soares
Guest

Denis, if you missed it, the constitution will be posted in full once it’s been ratified on The Alliances website. You said yourself above that not everything can be made fully public. This would go for an organisations draft constitution. Why? Cause it’s a document that will control how the organisation will operate. Why would an organisation make this document public when it’s still being agreed upon. Why would people expose a draft document before it’s been polished, to people who haven’t signed up or agreed to the core values of the party? That doesn’t make sense. Do you demand… Read more »

J Starling
Guest

Hey Sean, I actually don’t see what the problem is with having the draft constitution up for public viewing. You can benefit from public constructive criticism, as well as potentially attract new members. And before you accuse me of hypocrisy again (I answered that accusation in the Hype thread), I think the same should be the case for the UBP and PLP and was frustrated no end that they didn’t make public the proposed amendments the other month. Some of it was made public, but not all, which led to all manner of unfounded speculation. About the only things in… Read more »

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Oh Sean..your being a smart ass now. Of course you get a “GP” car.
Check out “Soares Motors”. Beats the price at “Please Leave Pocket” motors at the corner of Church and Parliament.
Hell..they just got an SDO on Larry Dennises Hideaway.
Actually, I was speaking to Mr. Morgan last week and he stated that Ewart had a point but lead poisen is on the rise………………
Anyway, Sean your confusing me. “GP” cars…is that/are those the ones that ‘Got Platinum’…….

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Jonathan, how long does it take to get constructive critisism?
You and Mr. Pitcher are grasping and as a good Marxist you do your job.
Spin is a bitch. In two years I will be voting for the UAU. …..
My MP from Southampton East/West/South/North says that may switch party and become a member of this new recently funded and somewhat paved future……..
Good day too all

Rummy
Guest
Rummy

Denis, just a question for you. Are Mr. Desilva the Commissioner of Police and the Minister without a Briefcase cousins?

Denis Pitcher
Guest

Sean, “Do you demand that a book is released before the author has vetted or finished it? Of course not. It’s only availble to the publisher or publishing company.” I’m sorry to break it to you but in this day in age lots of books are composed openly on the web before being published. Many authors have taken to composing core sections of books on blogs and using the feedback to evolve their ideas. It is when it is all compiled into a concise and coherent form that it has value as a published book over a blog. Same deal… Read more »

Sean Soares
Guest

Denis, No offense taken at all. I did not realise books were released before being published, bad analogy I guess, however I still wouldn’t want to read an unfinished product. I believe that I’m the only one who’s promonent on the blogs in the group. As that’s the circle you typically travel in then it only appears that I’m the most transparent. What we’re also doing is having a lot of what we call fireside chats, whereas members invite their neighbors and some of us show up and we have an honest and open discussion. It’s actually a very nice… Read more »

UncleElvis
Guest

Wow… just… wow.

Denis
Guest

Sean, Premier Brown had a whole bunch of “Meet and greets” with “open and frank” discussions where people were invited out. Do you think his governance has been transparent? Fireside chats are really nice but they aren’t transparency. eg, here’s what the white house has written on it: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment/ “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing. Information maintained by the Federal Government is a national asset. My Administration will take appropriate action, consistent with law and policy, to disclose information rapidly in forms that the public can readily find and use. Executive departments… Read more »

Sean Soares
Guest

Denis, I agree, and it’s something that the BDA is committed to. As we generate more policies, platforms and other data it will be released. I can’t say it’ll be released in it’s draft form for the public, however I do know that invitations will be made to the membership at large for various projects to get as many people as possible working together in the right fields. As far as public desiminations, this will be typically done through the website and media first, however I will work on getting it across to other public forums, (I.e. blogs) as well… Read more »

Denis
Guest

Sean, Good to hear that progress is made but I think you’re still missing part of the point. “I will work on getting it across to other public forums, (I.e. blogs) as well as quickly as possible” Rather than put a ton of work into pushing the message out there utilize the community to do it for you. Your website should be redesigned to put latest news prominently first, blog style, not in some sidebar with headings only. The reason being it gives people motive to keep visiting your site for updates. A fundamental rule in web design is limit… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

In today’s paper, the leader Craig Cannonier implies that he is a supporter of independence. In fact his quote says the following “And on Independence, he said: “That’s been buried for a while. That’s a decision for the people of Bermuda. It’s my belief it can only be done through referendum. “Personally, someone said to me if it’s not broke don’t fix it, but I’m of the mind of progression like any other country who’s dependent, they believe in the future and progress, and that progress includes Independence. Many of the great minds of the world became independent to progress.… Read more »

J Starling
Guest

@ Ken – Yeah, I was actually rather surprised by Mr. Cannonier’s pro-independence stance. I imagine it will cause some degree of consternation amongst some BDA’ers. I expect that people won’t take as big an issue with the Leader of a new and unproven amorphous Party as they would from Dr. Brown as Leader of the established PLP and Premier. I’m curious to see if there will be any reactions to this from BDA’ers though.

Denis
Guest

Ya, I saw that, I’ll be posting something on the independence comment later.

Ken
Guest
Ken

@ J Starling, Yeah i do take into account that Mr Cannonier isnt in a position to really drive an independence agenda but he won in a landslide on the weekend, and I wonder if those that voted for him would have indeed voted for him knowing that he is pro-independence. And its fine if they would have or not becuase there are PLP voters and UBP voters that dont agree with all the stances by certain individuals. But my issue is how Dr Brown has been villified everytime he even mentions the word independence. And he really hasnt said… Read more »

Denis
Guest

Ken, I think a large part of the reason Dr. Brown is vilified over independence isn’t so much independence itself but instead his unwillingness to let the people decide. Dr. Browns position has waffled as to whether or not he actually supports deciding by way of referendum as well as whether it would be one separate from an election. Furthermore, rather than simply putting the issue to vote immediately and then let it rest for a while if the decision is against, he wants to keep playing it into the media and vowes to wait for the time most opportune… Read more »

UncleElvis
Guest

Denis, I was going to write a lengthy response to the independence “apples and oranges” comparison, but you summed it up perfectly. Having said that, I cannot support a pro-independence party or candidate, ESPECIALLY if they aren’t going to explain why we should proceed that way for any other reason than the vague “natural progression” nonsense. Silly attempts at catchphrases like “Many of the great minds of the world became independent to progress” do not endear me. We’re not talking about individual minds, we’re talking about an entire country, most of the population of which, it would seem, are against… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

Denis, Perhaps, but we dont really know. I am inclined to believe there are many different factors that are involved in people villifying Dr Brown over independence, least of all Dr Brown, and least of all Independence. When Alex scott was Premier and he initiated the Independence Comission, he was villified as well. Only recently he has become everyone’s best friend because he speaks against the current Premier. So i say all that to say that there are various reasons that people react how they do, and sometimes it isnt restricted the issue at hand. But getting back to Mr… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

Also I wonder why the headline of the article didnt say “BDA Leader Cannonier is for Independence”…

Denis
Guest

Ken, Alex Scott was vilified over independence largely due to his “they didn’t know what they were signing” remarks with regards to the Bermudians For Referendum petition which effectively insulted about half of the registered electorate. That and his subsequent refusal to put the issue to referendum as well as his incredibly biased forums and documents on independence. Alex Scott has regained some credibility because in the eyes of many by contrast he was nowhere near as bad a Premier as Dr. Brown. Subsequently he has continuined to stand up and push for Public Access To Information legislation even going… Read more »

UncleElvis
Guest

ken, i couldn’t agree more about them resigning and having a bye election

J Starling
Guest

I was willing to allow the BDAP MPs time to organise their new Party and the like before resigning their seats. They’ve pretty much done that and should use the opportunity of by-elections to test their platforms (once they finalise them). So, I’ll give them at least one more month to get that all organised then they should step down and get a new mandate (and not necessarily the same candidates).
Don’t get me started on the member from Constituency #6 though…

Letariatpro
Guest
Letariatpro

Agreed on the by-election.
Agree with UE here, instead of the all the bull shit about “great minds” and “progress”, I would have rather heard, “after much consideration and education of all the people, we would support the decision via referendum”.
Please pass that along Sean.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Denis,
perhaps to the alex scott issue…
regarding the sexual orientation legislation, didnt the Throne speech say the govt will amend the legislation? So IMO that would mean the govt was taking a stand.
I agree – perhaps they were waiting to be organized so they could fight a bye-election ‘fair and square’. If so, they have formed and would have the party machinery behind them…
it could be exciting…

Denis
Guest

Ken,
Hmm, not sure regarding whether it was announced during the throne speech, if so my argument holds less merit.
Jonathan, I’d tend to agree that another month is reasonable considering they wanted to form their positions. Certainly would help their case of defining themselves as clearly not the UBP if they went head to head.

J Starling
Guest

Yes, the Throne Speech (2009) clearly stated that the HR Act would be amended to accommodate sexual orientation. The water was muddied a bit since with discussion about ‘getting the language right’ but the idea was there all the same.