Bermuda Fables

"I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." – Charles De Gaulle

Sign of the times? June 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 6:48 pm

“Stand-offs are situations of mutual and symmetrical threat, wherein the central parties face each other, literally and figuratively, across some key divide. Stand-offs engage committed adversaries in a frozen and exposed moment of interaction.” Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici

 

The above definition could be used to describe the “mexican standoff” that occurred for 6 hours yesterday in St. Georges, which ended peacefully, thank God, or it could quite easily describe the events of the last couple of weeks… an impasse between the premier and thousands of bermudians.

 

The events of yesterday. According to various reports, sometime around 1:30 yesterday afternoon, a young man held his girl at gunpoint (possibly) inside a house in St. George’s with the police outside. The whos, whys and hows have not as yet been released, but we do know that this stand-off lasted for approximately 6 hours, at which time the young man surrendered to the police. It can be reasonably assumed that it had something to do with drugs or gangs as it appears that the police were investigating “a serious ongoing investigation” which then led to this stand-off. I think it’s a sign of the times in Bermuda that something like this, which while surprising was not shocking… at least not to me. It seems to be a steady progression of increasingly violent and deviant behaviours on the island over the last year and a result, it’s almost numbing. Don’t get me wrong, people are still upset and horrified. But there is almost this sense of resigned anticipation – what is coming next?

 

I actually first heard of the events of yesterday on one of the online forums. It was confirmed but with no real details by someone’s police contact. At first the rumour was that two police officers had been shot, that the Causeway had been closed and that shots had been fired. Needless to say, none of this was actually true (*cough* tsunami) but it goes to show how information passes in Bermuda, quickly and without any regard for the truth most of the time, lol. So on to facebook I go, hoping for more information and what do I see? People calling for those selfsame people (of which I am proud to have been one) who marched the last couple of weeks to protest the premier’s autocratic method of governing, to march on Government House. The reasoning being that since the Governor has control over internal security then he’s to blame for the gangs, drugs on the island, deviant behaviour… oh, and I have it on good authority that he shot JFK, too. So my question is this:

“Ask govt house what? How come the police are trying to respond as best they can to what is a social problem? Or why even after they catch people the courts continuously offer suspended sentences or abbreviated sentences? Or why we as the community refuse to get up and take some responsibility for what’s happening in our island?”

 

Every single time something like this happens, the first thing the government says is how they have no control over these events because the Police Service is under the Governor’s remit. Does no one there understand that when the Police become involved in a situation it is because things have already “popped off”? The government refuses to take any responsibility for this occurrences but if we had the social programs or a good education system, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this place as often as we do nowadays. Alternatively, the courts system are where this seems to fall down the most. Recently, there has been a proliferation of suspended sentences on what should be jailable offences, or the what is the mandatory sentences for serious offences by law is cut for various reasons, or even worse, people being released on parole before the legally required served time – just in time for them to re-offend, as too many do. I once heard about  a guy who who caught for GBH (grievous bodily harm), received the minimum five year sentence and was released in less than two years… six months later he was in custody for murder. The Police caught the man twice but it’s their fault that he did what he did? Or more to the point, that he had the chance to murder someone in less time than legally he should have even been allowed to apply for parole?? The government want the bermudian public to believe that they can only take credit for the good that happens in Bermuda but all the bad obviously is someone else’s fault. And the bermudian public are saying enough of the rhetoric.

 

It’s a sign of the times, a stand-off. The question is, who are the adversaries

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The endgame June 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 2:35 am

Let me tell you all how this is gonna play out. After leaving the protest today, after seeing the news and the spin that’s already being put out by the pro-Brown camp online, after writing the post previous to this and reading the statement from the Commissioner online from RG about how basically the premier lied about the police having vetted these 4 men (and that consequently, preliminary risk assessment on them is “high”)… I have a inkling of what’s coming up next.

 

 

Firstly let me clarify. Anti-Brown in terms of the protest, and in my mind, does not mean Anti-PLP. I am still proud to be a PLP member. I still fervently believe that PLP is the party to lead Bermuda into our future. My and most people’s issue is with Brown, him and him alone.


But anyhoo, back to my prediction. I think that the UK is going to reverse Brown’s decision. At which point, which may or may not have been the whole point depending on who you ask, Dr. Brown is gonna do another one of his little spiels about independence and the new catch-phrase on the PLP/Pro Minds websites – colonial masters something or the other, the Combined Opposition and then he’s gonna call a referendum or a snap election centering on Independence.

 

 

There’s a couple of things that lead me to think this, the least of which is Dr. Brown’s penchant for managing to insert “the independence issue” into every other time he says more than three sentences in a row in public. The breaking news about the risk assessment and how the premier falsely represented the position of the police in the House last week also is pushing me to think that this is less about these four poor men and more about the premier’s endgame. Actually to that point, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna call an election and make this a choose me and independence or take UBP. Gotta give him props. If I’m right, this is a pretty savvy move. Loads of bloggers, Catch a Fire in particular have spent lots of time talking about how the US and UK have created a trap… I think I’m giving Dr Brown much more credit than that. He is a smart political animal, the likes of which we haven’t seen in Bermuda before I’d say, and I think he’d use this for every bit he can to get what he wants and we all know what he wants more than anything else…

 

 

I hope I’m wrong. I sincerely hope that Dr Brown, for all his faults, is not using these 4 men like this. I hope he has made this decision because he felt he had to, even though I severely disagree with his method of going so. I even hope that the UK does allow them to stay here, at least for a while. But I think it not to be. We’ll see.

 

 

The nest week or so will be very enlightening, I’m guessing. Here’s to hoping that my next post is not titled “I told you so…” And if it is, shame on you Dr. Brown.

 

Protest? Not according to the media…

Filed under: Bermuda Politics — alsys @ 2:08 am

I went to the protest today. I stood up and was proud to be counted… literally. Unofficial numbers state that the Anti-Brown protest (of which I was a proud member) was over 2000. The Pro-Brown counter protest (?) numbered at 44. Standing in the hot sun beating down on us surrounded by my friends and my countrymen of all walks of life and all racial, social and political backgrounds was beyond surreal. And it felt good to see the unity. We marched from the House of Assembly to the Cabinet House to have Janice Battersbee, the organizer of the rally/protest, deliver a statement. The premier came out and said a bit about the goodness of democracy and some other stuff. It was very hard to hear him over the shouts of “Brown Must Go” and the singing of the “Nanana, Goodbye” song. Then Janice spoke and he stood in front of her listening, well, somewhat intently. She made some real good points and I seriously have to give her props for what was probably an extremely nerve racking experience that she managed to make look easy. The conviction in her voice was definitely heartening. You’ll see more indepth coverage on other sites online, as I saw many people taking video of the event and wirelessing blogging during the event. I myself just was so impressed with the atmosphere. I saw two slight altercations, one right next to me between Zane DeSilva and an obviously irate Anti-Brown protester but that was a heated exchange at worst. What really got my goat was the fact that the premier after hearing Janice’s statement walked away!. That’s it. No reponse, no rebuttal, no respect. Just walked away. I don’t know exactly how to express how horrible that was. It shocked the crap out of me, and I spent the walk back to work talking to a mate mostly about that. I just kept saying, how could he just leave, does he have that little respect for the thousands of people who can out to make themselves heard?!? As a PLP member, and as a person who until very recently had copious respect for Dr. Brown and who honestly believed that he was the best man for the job… well, to tell the truth, it kinda hurt. But I went back to work and got back to the process of doing my job. I came home, blogged a bit about it and waited patiently to watch the news. I was excited to see what, for me personally, was the first time I can remember bermudians coming together over anything. We are known for our laissez-fair attitudes so this was like a breath of fresh air. I will admit that I did listen to the Hott news report in the car on the way home and was a bit shocked to see how the on-air personality had managed to boil the whole protest down to a race thing. Again. But then, it’s a pro-PLP radio station and one that’s not known for its… um, balanced viewpoint so I didn’t really pay much attention to that. Guess I should have.

 

 

So I settle down to watch the news, VSB. Can I just say, I have a sneaky suspicion that I was at a totally different protest that the one attended by the majority of those interviewed. Which were majority of the supporters of Brown – how those numbers worked out, I have NO freaking clue! I mean, 50 to 1 at modest estimate but out of ten interviews eight were pro-Brown? I didn’t see ZBM but have been told that it was the same there. And the Bermuda Sun didn’t even report anything… which wouldn’t have surprised me cause they are usually slow to update their website except for the fact that they posted a story about a Tall Ship that has dropped out of the race today. WTF? So what happened? I can’t claim to know but i’m one of many many people trying to figure out what the hell just happened. In one fell swoop the local media has managed to devalue what thousands of bermudians came out to say. That Dr. Brown has abused his position for the last time and that we are refusing to stand by and watch his unequivocally autocratic method of governing continue. Let me make this clear, this protest for most (I can’t say all) was not to do with the Uighurs in and of themselves, not to do with the PLP – it was about Premier Brown. And it certainly wasn’t a racial thing like Hott and VSB tried to tell me today. I’ll admit that the majority was white but by no means were black people unrepresented. I stood next to two white guys on one side, who stood nodding, and two black young women on my other side, proudly holding placards and saying uh huh at every junction. In fact, conservatively i’d say one third was black… and when you consider tis was all put together over little more than a weekend? Absolutely amazing. And I refuse to allow these guys to take that away from us.

 

 

Hear me now, you can’t steal this from us. I will not allow you to steal this from us. We stood up and we were counted. And we will continue to do so until you really listen. Don’t pay lip service, listen. And hear.

 

I’d laugh… ‘cept I wanna cry. June 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — alsys @ 9:05 pm

Hi all. Yeah, I know i’ve been very quiet lately but yeah, not even I could sit this one out.

“Brown and the Uighurs” Sounds like a sitcom, init? Except, this isn’t funny (neither are most sitcoms) and unfortunately it’s real life. I would go into all the sordid details of how our illustrious premier decided to bypass the Bermuda constitution, the British government, the cabinet (that which he put into place), both Houses of Bermuda government and the Bermudian public to make a deal with the US to bring 4 chinese muslim Uighurs to Bermuda… and offer them naturalization. I could go into a spiel about how there was no real risk assessment done on these guys – in fact the standing risk assessment is a report given to the US by these gentlemen’s laywers (and we all know how strictly honest those lot are). But frankly, I don’t give a crap. Helping our fellow man is a good thing. Giving unto others that which you can spare is more than admirable.

 

THAT however, is not only what happened here. Our premier, out of the goodness of his heart, has offered unto others that which he does not by any means own. Bermuda is a British Dependent Territory. Which in layman terms means we are owned by the british. Which means the passports we all hold are issued on british soil by the british. It appears the premier forgot that we aren’t independent.A mere oversight I’m sure. There’s no way he actually intended to give 4 men effectively british status (which he couldn’t even if he wanted to). He must have gotten that whole Constitution thing confused. And there’s no way the US would have gone into negotiations with the premier knowing that he was offering something he doesn’t own. Oh crap, according to them, that is exactly what they did – for the UK to be allowed plausible deniability by… well, actually having no clue. Good on them. Not so good for our premier who is now a political laughingstock because the US apparently knows more about his constitution than he does. 

 

I have said all this stuff and more in other mediums and frankly, I’m a bit tired of going over the same posts over and over. So I’m boiling it down to this. STOP DOING SHADY SHIT! Stop doing the business of the people under the table and telling us “you had to deceive”! Stop acting like the bermudians who put you in power and who pay you to do a job are intellectual idiots and you are the only ones who can possibly know anything! Stop obscuring the issues by attacking the messengers! Answer an frigging question for once, no matter who it comes from! Stop playing games with our livelihood! Govern like adults!

 

Please… please, be the government and the people I voted for and believed in. Be people I want my child to look up to, be someone I can look up to. And for god’s sake, be honest and transparent. It’s not that hard.