While its been lost a bit amidst the scandal of the Playboy Poker tournament and the ‘parliamentary shut-down,’ on Friday, marking the 40th anniversary of universal sufferage, and tying in nicely with the holiday of Bermuda Day, the Premier brought up the issue of Independence again.
He did this in the context of a series of quotes from that extraordinary document that all Bdians should read, the Pitt Commission.
He also challenged us all to ask ourselves the following questions:
Have we fulfilled the potential of those tense, electric and historic days?
Have we allowed economic pursuits to relegate natural democratic progress?
Have we yielded the admonition of those we now term as heroes of this land that we not be afraid to stand on our own two feet?
Have we surrendered to the Quo fata ferunt mindset?
I’m going to give my brief answers to these questions:
Have we fulfilled the potential of those tense, electric and historic days? No, far from it. If anything its pitiful that we are where we are now, and even more distrubing that we seem to be going the wrong direction.
Have we allowed economic pursuits to relegate natural democratic progress? Yes. Most definitely.
Have we yielded the admonition of those we now term as heroes of this land that we not be afraid to stand on our own two feet? Yes.
Have we surrendered to the Quo fata ferunt mindset? Yes.
I’m well aware that these were rhetorical questions. While Dr. Brown should be commended for such stirring rhetoric and the potential for reigniting an exciting discussion on our potential, as well as uncovering some idea of those tense, electric days, the irony of it all is too great.
For all his supposed militancy in his youth, any serious examination shows it was more superficial than substance. His own leadership seems to be very much in favour of economic pursuits than expanding democracy. At least he certainly is an opponent of the ‘Whither the fates may lead us’ mentality, he has certainly shown that we can and do have a significant role in shaping our own fates.
There will be those who will see this speech as a rekindling of the independence debate. I don’t really think there has been any substantial policy change on this issue, its still on the backburner, although I still think it is an important one to restart, and I’ll be dusting of my Bda Independence Commission report shortly just for that purpose. From my perspective though this is just one more example of ‘Talk left; Walk right.’
Myself, on the independence debate, as I have said several times, I am pro-independence, and would vote as such if a referendum was called. I also am not convinced that any other method than a referendum would be valid; I have yet to understand, let alone be convinced, by the general election route, although I would call for a general election shortly after a successful independence referendum.
I am however very much in favour of a federal system, be it one similar to that proposed by Tony Benn with his Commonwealth of Britain Bill, or a real Caribbean federation as opposed to the loose and weak association represented by the modern Caricom.