The following speech was delivered by Jache Adams, PLP Treasurer during the 20199 PLP Annual Delegates Conference.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say how grateful I am to be with you this evening, and as I stand here I recognize the only way for me to properly begin is by thanking MP Ming for encouraging me to become a member some years ago. I’m certainly glad she did, and now that I am, I assure you family I’m not looking back.
When I initially joined the Party I felt it was important to first learn and study its history. So I read books on Freddie Wade and Dame Lois Browne Evans, I asked questions about Walter Robinson and Dr. Ewart Brown, and heard the famous story of our founders in the faithful garage.
And the more I learned, strangely enough, the more disheartened I became.
You can imagine my disappointment to see the same things we were fighting for in our first election are the very same things we are fighting for today
Economic parity, equitable taxation, the end of racial discrimination, the list goes on and so naturally I ask myself, what are we doing wrong? Are we the definition of insanity? As in, are we doing the same things over and over expecting a different result or are there still too many of us unaware that political power is simply not enough. Real change, as I see it, comes when we combine political power, economic power, and what I call the Desmond Tutu effect.
So as we gather on Court Street, in our sea of green, hugging complete strangers, celebrating election victories, we must recognize we’ve only won part of the battle. The real change those before us were seeking is achieved when we combine political power with economic power and economic power can only be achieved when we are organized, when we are dedicated, disciplined and determined on being united.
It was Marcus Garvey that said “get organized and you will compel the world to respect you”
I got my first lesson about being organized and unified at 10 years old. One night, I stayed at my friend’s house longer than I should have. I came home, and could see the relief on my mother’s face, she hugged me, then quickly gave me a whopping I’d never forget. The next day I quickly ran to tell grannie all about it and when grannie dropped me back home my mom gave me a second whopping and made sure I remembered that what happens in this house, stays in this house .
So as I’ve grown, I appreciate how this applies to our Party because none of us, and I mean none of us are going to get everything we want and therefore it’s destined to be times we fundamentally disagree but outside of our circle it’s critical we reaffirm our support because it’s time those who oppose us understand there is no trick, no lie, no scare tactic that will break our bond. I need everyone listening, including the media here tonight to put in bold, underline, and highlight what
I just said, there is no trick, no lie, no scare tactic that will break the bond of the Progressive Labour
Our unity will also produce economic power when we stop looking for others to do for us what we can do for ourselves and that includes our own government.
Allow me to give a few quick examples
I know a place, and I won’t say the company’s name, but they have locations throughout the island and every time I go there I never see Bermudian staff and so my first reaction is to take a picture, contact Minister Caines and say “Minister, can you believe this?”
But what if I changed my approach? What if I took matters into my own hands and made a motion at Party meeting requesting our Chairman write to this company stating that unless they hired more Bermudians all of our members, friends and families will no longer patronize their establishment. Imagine how quickly things would change if we were then disciplined to follow through? That’s the power of our unity, that’s the beginning of us reclaiming economic power.
Many of us desperately say we want to see improvements in our education system and so we can’t wait to see Minister Rabain but what if we, as a Party, arranged our own afterschool programmes where we taught our own children math, agriculture, carpentry, what if we had summer programmes were students learned Bermuda history, how to manage their money, and what their legal rights are as a Bermudian. Ladies and gentlemen we do not need Minister Rabain to do for us what we can do for ourselves.
And this leads me to my final point of the evening, after successfully gaining political power, after recommitting ourselves to solidarity to achieve economic power there comes a time when we must apply the Desmond Tutu effect.
What’s the Desmond Tutu effect?
It was Desmond Tutu that said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”
Ladies and gentlemen the time is long overdue where we draw a line in the sand and tell the oppressors and the beneficiaries of oppression that being neutral is no longer an option.
Saying you weren’t involved, pretending injustice and inequality doesn’t exist, or thinking that it will all fade away in time, is no longer an option. Quite simply, as a Party, our focus is bridging the gap between the two Bermuda’s and so I’m not asking everyone to agree with every PLP decision but what I am saying is that if individuals are not actively at the table to discuss a way forward we as a party must adopt the mentality that you’re either with us, or against us.
So if you are with me, as I am with you, if you are ready to commit this party to a new way of thinking, If you’re ready to show this island the PLP has never been stronger in honor of our brother Walton Brown I need you to say it with everything you have PLP All the Way, and All the