Mandate to serve everyone, not just the 59%
“Leaders are people who raise the standards by which they judge themselves and by which they are willing to be judged. The goal chosen, the objective selected, the requirements imposed, are not mainly for their followers alone.”
— Haile Selassie
Let me begin by giving thanks to the 34,000 Bermudians who exercised their democratic rights on July 18, 2017.
Irrespective of whom you voted for, you proved that as Bermudians you will base your decisions on what you feel is best for our island.
Let me be a bit more direct and thank the 932 persons of Devonshire East who came out to cast their ballots.
As your MP, I have to represent you as you see fit. It is something that anyone who signs up to be a representative should do.
Let’s take a look at some historical examples:
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected as President of the United States, yet 34 million or 49 per cent of the voters voted against him.
In 1992, Bill Clinton was voted in as president, yet 39 million or 37 per cent of voters voted against him.In 2008, Barack Obama was voted in as president, yet 59 million or 46 per cent of voters voted against him.
In each of those elections, almost half of those who voted did not vote for those who won. Yet history shows that each one of those presidents took it upon themselves to carry out a mandate for the improvement of all Americans; not only those who were Democrats.
Fast forward to our own recent General Election. The Progressive Labour Party was elected as the ruling party. However, 41 per cent of those who voted did not vote for the PLP.
Yet, like those former leaders, the PLP must and will govern for all; not only those who voted for PLP.
We now have a clear mandate of politics of inclusion. So what should this inclusion look like?
In speaking with a wide range of Bermudians of all stripes, these are the top three concerns:
Irrespective of pigmentation, social standing or parish, every Bermudian wants to see our country progress. Yet one of the greatest challenges we all witness is the perception or reality of “Us versus Them”.
So, again, where do we go from here? We cannot go back to the days of Bermudians not fully understanding the value to our economy of international business and tourism.
We cannot go back to the days of attempting to short-change Bermudian workers.
We cannot go back to the days of segregating our friendships, organisation memberships and outings based on colour lines.
We cannot go back to the days of seniors feeling that they have been abandoned.
Indeed, we cannot even go back to the days of attempting morally to dictate whom a person chooses to fall in love with.
I use the term “We” as opposed to the “Government” because the PLP cannot elect itself, nor can it progress society by itself.
Thirty-four thousand Bermudians voted on July 18 and 13,000 chose not to. However, each one of us is responsible for helping our island home to evolve.
Each one of us, whether or not we voted, is responsible for making our fellow Bermudians feel included as opposed to feeling excluded. History will show that when people feel excluded, they feel disenchanted, disconnected and begin to seek alternative representation.
It does not take much to reach out to our neighbours. In doing so, we live up to the tenet of “Love thy neighbour as you love thyself”.
We have a long road ahead of us, Bermuda. Whether you were the 59 per cent that voted for us or the 41 per cent that did not, we look forward to developing our country for all of us.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11)
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