on the Party’s Launch, May 17, 2011
I am honored to stand here today at this moment in the history of Bermuda. I want to thank my family - my wife, my children and my mother. She cannot be here today because of illness in the family, but I know she is praying for me and thinking of all of us today.
I also want to thank all the former members of the BDA and UBP who put aside party loyalties and put Bermuda first.
A few years ago I did not know John Barritt and I may have made conclusions about him without getting to know him. And possibly, he might have done the same with me. However, today, I have come to know John as a man who cares deeply about this country and who has the experience and passion to lead this organization.
Many will try to define what happened here, but I will tell you that for me the highlight was getting to know individuals whom I would otherwise not have gotten to know.
Healing begins with communication and communication leads to understanding. This is the essence of one Bermuda.
We have gathered here today because Bermuda is confronted by an array of challenges that are tearing at the very core of who we are. All are affected one way or another, no one is immune.
These challenges demand a unified, dedicated response; one that has been lacking in recent years. They demand a response that is not just about party, but about purpose.
Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke of the “fierce urgency of now,” and that powerful recognition is the trigger behind the formation of the OBA. We have to act now. The problems we face are growing, not decreasing. The future of the country is at stake.
We cannot wait to start tomorrow. We start today.
We cannot accept business as usual. We must start to build on common ground, and stop dwelling in the spaces that separate us.
We have set aside party loyalties for the sake of the country. Our mission is to put Bermuda first, because that is what has been missing.
I have talked to thousands of Bermudians over the past year and I hear the same concern: ‘Something is wrong. Something is not right. Who would have thought that we would have multiple killings in one week. There was a time when this was unheard of in Bermuda and this Government wants to go on like business as usual. When I think about those families and the lives that could have been, I will not go on like business as usual we must end the gang violence now. This is not the Bermuda I know. This is not the Bermuda I want.’
People feel the government is not responsive to their needs. They feel its ministers are disconnected, not just from everyday realities but from any sense of responsibility – from any sense of accountability – for the protection and welfare of Mr. and Mrs. Bermuda. People want solutions. They do not see them and they are not confident this government has them.
There are those that will try to downplay or define what is happening here today into something negative. They will want the people of this country to think that the OBA is nothing more than business as usual; that we are old wine in a new bottle. They will try to fool you into thinking this was some backroom deal. They will invoke the past, rather than look to the future. They will want to distract from the declines that are gripping Bermuda and the lack of effective leadership that provides no real solutions.
Well, I am here to put Bermuda on notice that we are going to every home, every neighborhood every church every business to every community to invite those who care about the future of this country to join with us, to work together for solutions, to put Bermuda first.
- reduce government debt to sustainable levels and balance the budget within our first term by reducing administrative red tape and increasing fiscal responsibility
- lead by example by slashing Ministerial pay by at least 10% and hold Ministers accountable for their actions
- get Bermudians back to work by supporting international business, rebuilding tourism and allocating more government contracts to small business
- restore safety and security to Bermuda and end gang violence by providing the police with proper funding for modern technology and 24/7 patrols
- reform public education and create opportunity by significantly improving classroom effectiveness, introducing a fully integrated technical curriculum and a longer school day
- increase democracy by having fixed term elections, right to petition for referendums and recall of MP’s
Bermuda you will have a voice in the OBA. You will have a voice in the future of your country. This is your party.
And through our work together, we will restore hope in a brighter future, and restore confidence in what we can do as Bermudians.
The OBA will be about bringing forward the best we can be for our country. We will not forget our roots. We will not forget the meaning of public service. We will not lose our way. We will put Bermuda first.
I am proud to be here today with John and my colleagues; proud to be starting this journey together.
Truly it is a new day.