Fall out of Open Mic Night (2)

A young man stepped up to the mic to offer his experience with approaching government to discuss ideas. I never exactly heard what those ideas actually were, but he was basically saying that he had entrepreneurial ideas which he was looking to share with the Premier's office and try to make his mark, however he had been stonewalled by the office of the Chief of Staff, I believe.

Where I think he failed to make a positive impression is that he called out Senator Wayne Caines for not assisting him in getting meetings or discussions. After the Premier encouraged him to keep following his dreams, the Senator jumped in to tell his side of the story and the MC seemed to join in on the act, so that eventually the young man pretty much gave up and walked away, receiving a few jeers in the process. Hopefully the young man at least tried to get some time off-line with the Senator to try to get things back in order along that front.

Someone then approached to suggest that there was a generation gap when it came to race issues; the youth weren't as concerned about race while those of the Premier's generation differed. The Premier advised the youth to not be superficial with the descriptions. I can't quite recall the effects of that statement other than I think the Premier was sticking to the belief that regardless, the issue of race and privilege needed to be discussed and acknowledged.

A man who likely wasn't in the under-30s crowd, threw a question concerning the permits being granted to all these large tractor trailers, however how was he to survive when he couldn't get one. The Premier passed this onto his Chief of Staff to talk with the man off-line. I can't offer much analysis of that except that there are dozens of large tractor trailers on the island, heck there's more and more large vehicles period. I saw a freaking Grand Caravan the other day. No truck licence here, strictly regular private car licence.

A young person offered a very interesting question, essentially asking why there are gangs in Bermuda. The Premier discussed his own experiences while in Los Angeles during the time of the Crips and Bloods, and accurately said that everybody here is a wannabe gangster. He showed some enthusiasm in discussing the Mirrors Programme, which I'm interested to know more about. There's a press release on the Government web portal but the URL's too long to try to copy out. Stupid portal.

Someone asked the Premier why should they vote for the PLP in the next election. Dr. Brown proudly said that it's about the process, the program, not the propoganda. He brought up the fact (it may have been David Burt himself who said this) that the news media, namely the notorious Mid Ocean News, slammed a guy wrongfully without even so much as contacting the alleged wrongdoer beforehand to get the story from his side. Bad journalism is showing the PLP in a negative light. The PLP government would fix that, although I'm not sure in what capacity. Maybe news media outlets would have to adhere to stricter codes of conduct or something before being allowed to publish news.

The expected proliferation of new hotel properties on the island has been a hot news item and someone asked about young people getting into the hotel industry. Job applications for locals were turned down, and the Premier indicated that new properties will be stringently monitored so that Bermudians will be employed where possible. I thought to myself why did Stonington, the Bermuda College training hotel, close down, and would efforts be considered to resurrect it. Of course I don't know how much interest there'd be, so maybe it's pointless to consider.

The next question concerned absentee voting, a practice available to many countries but not here despite the subject being thrown about for at least ten years. Dr. Brown replied that it was definitely on the cards but there are logistical issues to be dealt with, and he believes that it will come eventually. I don't see how introducing it really hurts either major party; both of them have acknowledged that college students are critical votes to be won, although I know that Bermudians living overseas aren't allowed to vote and maybe this is the logistical issue at play here.

Senator Caines came to the mic and in an unusual motion, he threw the question to the audience, what are we going to do to better Bermuda? How are we to uphold Dame Lois's legacy? Seemed like a strange moment for soapbox lecturing, but anyway the followup was that race and the 'Big Conversation' had to take place and Dr. Brown was pushing hard towards it with the Commission led by his adviser Rolfe Commissiong.

To further my earlier thoughts on the issue of hotels and youth, a young man asked about the trades and hospitality industries for people. Dr. Brown said that a training center, funded by both the government and the hotels, would be offered, an interesting proposal that could get much support.

Someone asked about the support for sports in Bermuda, noting that we had just finished an appearance in the Cricket World Cup. Premier Brown said that Bermuda was on a high from that event and that Government is committed to sport. He pointed out the PGA Grand Slam of Golf coming to Bermuda later this year as another coup for the island.

One of the young women near the front said something along the lines of there being a perception of racism out there, can it be dealt with? The Premier said that discussion of racism doesn't negate the perceptions. He was discussing the experiences of others but I got distracted by this older woman who came in and started off on some hallelujah-like affirmation of everything out of the Premier's mouth. Why the MC didn't tell her to be quiet, I'll never know.

Anyway this fella came to the mic, promised to keep his speech short, and proceeded to ramble along about everything and nothing, I really didn't understand where he was coming from or going towards, but eventually he ended by discussing the lack of rights of the father in Bermuda. I don't think there was a comment by the Premier, although I may very well have dozed off by then. My apologies.

The Premier was then asked if he had any regrets about becoming a politician. Dr. Brown said that he willingly retired from the field of medicine in order to focus full-time on politics and he has no regrets about it.

He was given a question on what should white people do to acknowledge racism and race relations here, to which he responded with saying that it's more than just being friendly and making friends with those of other races, He said there was a black inferiority complex among many persons here.

At this point the discussion ended, and the MC encouraged the audience to stick around and discuss things among themselves while the Premier went to another engagement. I couldn't be bothered to stick around at that time, I was tired and still had the lingering headache but I'm glad to have attended and look forward to more of this in upcoming months. Since then, both the Premier and the Opposition Leader have appeared on radio talk shows which shows a sign that politicians are willing to discuss with ordinary citizens a bit more as talk of an election being called continues to be rumoured.

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