One of the big complaints waged against the old UBP was that while they preached a colorblind approach to racism though in practice they had primarily black candidates and seemed to push unqualified black candidates to the forefront. It struck at least a few as a bit hypocritical as really a colorblind approach should strive to put the best man in the job regardless of race, color or creed.
The new opposition incarnate, the One Bermuda Alliance, championed themselves as great change in our local political spectrum. Unfortunately, in trying to distinguish themselves as different from the old UBP, they may well have shot themselves in the foot with their upcoming leadership contest. The founding of the OBA was that they were different. They were to be a party that put the people first and gave the people a greater say, removing the potential old UBP carryover notion that there were powerbrokers behind the scenes pulling strings. The problem is that they seem to be repeating the UBP's mistakes.
Rather than encouraging all able to stand for leadership and allowing supporters to choose the best candidate, they've managed to convince the two white old guard UBP members to stand aside in favor of two black faces. There's nothing wrong with this except that when you preach a colorblind approach to racism, it comes off just as hypocritical as it did with the UBP.
As the former Limey in Bermuda blogger accurately put it, Craig Cannonier "has too much of a sense of entitlement and lacks experience" and Bob Richards "would be a good finance minister but lacks the charisma to be a good leader". This just doesn't strike me as a contest where the OBA is putting their best in front of the people and letting the people decide. Don't get me wrong, there's certainly validity in the old guard standing aside in favor of a younger and newer generation, however shouldn't the choice of who is best of old and new go to the people themselves and not be made behind the scenes?
Really, the OBA should have encouraged rather than discouraged Michael Dunkley to take a shot at leadership, even though he has come up with his own reasons for why he'd rather not lead. While Mr. Dunkley and I haven't entirely seen eye to eye when it comes to some things, the man not only deserves, but commands great respect for his willingness to sacrifice himself (even give up a safe seat) for his pursuit of the betterment of Bermuda.
The OBA really should have put forward John Barritt as a leadership candidate and that goes for two reasons. The first is that he was a clear favorite in the polls and it was to their advantage to lead with a favorite. Yes, he made a pledge to not run and yes by going against it, it may look bad. However, with that said, again the people should be the ultimate decision makers. The second reason is that the OBA should realize that we, the people, have grown rather tired of leadership who put forth a stupid idea and then stick to it to save face rather than admit a mistake and make the right decision. Frankly, we've seen enough of this in politics worldwide, let alone locally. Rise up, admit that you made a mistake and then put it to the people to do the forgiving. Mr. Barritt should have been placed back in the race and if I were a BDA a member, I'd cross out the alternatives and write him in on Sept 10th.
The OBA has reestablished one of the stigmas that stood heavily against the UBP in their days. We're once again seeing where we're going to have an election of inadequate leaders who seem largely to have risen to the post not because of their qualifications and overall ability but instead seemingly because of the color of their skin. This is unfortunate as both Mr. Cannonier and Mr. Richards seem to be great men who likely could contribute greatly to the betterment of our island, they just may not be the best man for the job of potential leader of our country. For a party that preaches a color blind nature and strives to be so different it is rather unfortunate that this may be seen as largely hypocritical and rather than striking out a new path it seems like they've reinforced the old one.