Looking at the Club Med implosion, I was struck by its resemblance to and a metaphor for what's happening to our island of Bermuda. We are witnessing the spectacular destruction of Bermuda as we have known it. And while there are plans somewhere for what will replace Club Med, there is little thought, if any, about what will replace the Bermuda we are destroying.

Education: We would have preferred to see advances in education instead of retreats. Our official attitude toward education can be seen in our investment in public libraries. A statement is made when we can give over land for a parking lot at the U.S. Consulate but have a public library hosted for most, if not all, its life in a borrowed building. That statement is reinforced when the parking lot's plans can be whisked through Planning approval in six days, but the library is crippled for three months or more, with no end in sight.

And as for image over substance, we will pony up a million dollars or more for a few hours of a single booty-shaking pop star, while a whole year's salaries for the entire staff of all our public libraries is around $1.6 million.

Culture: we were a frugal people - we had anti-waste shibboleths and

practices. Now, driven by advertising and high-profile examples, we view possessions-for-show as symbols of status and try to mask our massive waste as a good thing because we get some electricity from burning it. There's a serious contradiction when PLP supporters say their leader deserves the biggest, fastest and shiniest car, then PLP

leaders decry our youths coveting other people's gold chains enough to steal or kill for them.

Conservation

We conserved water. We were better at this than any of our western neighbours. But now, when the rest of the world could benefit from our skills, we seem driven to outdo the rest of the world in per-capita water consumption, just as we have done in energy consumption and waste production.

Values: manners were important to us. We said "good morning" to everyone we encountered, whether we knew them or not. Now, the greeting is used almost as a verbal weapon with which we can pick a fight if someone doesn't respond. We were a pleasant people, despite our individual or collective circumstances. For whatever reasons - and in my view, most of them were shortsighted - a majority of local faces one now meets on our streets are furrowed in frowns or

sourness. A generation of "warriors" has mistaken friendliness for complicity and strived to look and sound fierce, not noticing that in doing so we ruin the most reputable and unique of our tourist attractants, our cordiality.

Environment: noise pollution, chemical pollution, bigger and faster cars and trucks, short-circuiting of planning rules, speculative

development, loss of agricultural land, a construction epidemic - the list of environmental threats is long. And while golf tournaments and music festivals get priority attention, the Sustainable Development Initiative has been tanked.

Policy by policy, contract by contract, the Bermuda that has been such a blessing to everyone resident here is being taken apart.

The principles governing our Civil Service have been compromised. The transparency promised in our governance has been shelved. The complete reform we expected for education is only partial and questionably progressive. And while some Bermudians live, eat, travel and party in luxury, we are now hearing horror stories of people in real poverty, struggling to make it from day to day.

Bermuda is being transformed and sold off in front our eyes; the demolition and sellout is underway. Bermuda, as we're currently reshaping it, will no longer be suitable for Bermudians.

What do you think? E-mail feedback to editor Tony McWilliam: tmcwilliam@

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