On Friday December 7th I attended an open forum put on by a group calling itself OrGaniZed ChAoS (this was the manner in which they had typed their name, so I am repeating it here). I’m not sure exactly what this group is, although I know some of its members. I think I can say safely that the group is not affiliated with either political party, and as far as I can tell their objective is to further the development of political discourse and consciousness in Bermuda.
The forum itself was an oppurtunity to discourse on Bermuda and her politics. Representatives from both the UBP and the PLP, along with their respective Youth Wings, were both present. I’m really not sure how they went about advertising, I learned about it through the Progressive Minds, the PLP Youth Wing, and went in that capacity.
I found the topics very interesting and stimulating, and despite my original plan of attending and listening but not speaking, I very soon found myself engaging in the debates. On a whole I think there were about twenty or thirty of us.
The debate was dominated by the PLP, its representatives and supporters. This was almost by default, as the UBP only had two representatives present, Mr. Doug DeCouto (UBP candidate for Constituency 29, Southampton East), and a member of their Youth Wing ‘Young United.’ On the PLP side there was Charles Clarke (PLP candidate for Constituency 6, Hamilton West), Walter Roban (Constituency 15, Pembroke East), Senator Davida Morris (Constituency 22, Paget East), MP Walter Lister (Constituency 34, Sandys South Central), and at least six members of Progressive Minds. I knew that this was the second such event, and that in the earlier one the UBP were better represented, and I understand their energies were focused up the country that evening. This was unfortunate, for while the debate was still good and genuine, I do feel having a more balanced representation would have only benefitted the event, and hope that the UBP in future is able to send more representatives. Despite this, debate was generally good and genuine, and close to what I would describe as a surreal group therapy event. While three hours (1900hrs-2200hrs) were slated for the debate, this proved too small a time period, and not all of the below were touched upon, but satisfactory to allow some useful inroads on many of the more important topics.
Anyway, as I was very impressed and inspired by the debate I asked permission from OrGaniZed ChAoS to reproduce the questions put forward to debate here. I am doing this so that others who were not present can get an insight into the event, and maybe attend future such events, as well as further political discourse as a whole. I will be writing as entire posts my thoughts on these questions as well – as time permits! 🙂
United Bermuda or Progressive Labour? A Tale of Two Parties; Part II
Thanks to all of you for coming out tonight!
During the first part of this two-part session, discussion was quite free-flowing and spirited; we trust that the spirit of mutual respect will carry over into tonight’s gathering. Some of the talking points that were covered are shown below:
– Why are so many young, educated, Black people swing voters?
– What has the PLP achieved in the last nine years?
The debate then took a life of its own and, as a result, many of the questions listed below remain unanswered. We hope to have them addressed this evening; however, we recognise that the conversation dictates its own direction and are more than willing to engage questions far beyond the handful listed below.
1) We in Bermuda operate under the Westminster System. In layperson’s terms, what does this mean? Is it the best form of governance?
2) How can you expect the Black community to trust the UBP when it was created with the express purpose of protecting the financial and political powerbase of the White powerbrokers?
3) There has been much discussion about the movement of the PLP away from their working class roots. Is this a legitimate complaint?
4) The UBP claims that it is a Party built upon diversity. Is this claim accurate? Why/why not?
5) Over the past year, race has been a topic often foregrounded in the public consciousness. Does the UBP acknowledge the presence of racial discrimination here on the island?
– If it does acknowledge racial discrimination and the subsequent skewing of oppurtunities based upon skin colour, how then does the Party intend to address these inequalities based upon race and the historical distribution of wealth/resources along racial lines?
6) There have been many claims made by members of the public that the Workforce Equity Act is discriminatory. In light of the conflict over the accuracy of the CURE statistics, shouldn’t the government revisit the ways to address disparities in the workplace that seem to be rooted in race?
7) Is there really a significant difference between the two Parties? If so, what are the main differences?
8.) The Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act Amendment of 2007 has encountered a great deal of resistance from several sectors of the community. Is there any validity to the claim that this proposed legislation is discriminatory? Explain.
9) Does the three strikes legislation proposed by the UBP have statistical support proving its effectiveness in rehabilitating the ‘persistent repeat offenders’?
10) What is it about the content shown on CITV that makes it a justifiable target for elimination, should the UBP take power on the 18th?