On December 18, 2012, led by a tall and handsome new Sheriff, the new posse rode into town, swung off their steeds, swaggered into the saloon, slammed their Stetsons on the bar, loosened their gunbelts, and ordered double shots of rotgut.

Over the next few weeks and months, the new posse metamorphosed. First, the new Sheriff appointed his ‘deputies’ and by golly, there were 12 newly appointed deputies. Same as the old Sheriff.

The newly appointed deputies started working. They began saying much of the same sort of thing that the old deputies had been saying. Things like how good the Civil Service was, and how some ideas and policies were really good. This happened most clearly in Education where all the right words — sounding remarkably like the ‘right words’ of the old Sheriff — were being regurgitated.

Why, in Education they even went so far as to go to America and bring in a new American gunslinger just as the old Sheriff’s team had gone off to America and brought in three American or Americanized gunslingers. Just like the old Sheriff.

Months passed. The new Sheriff and his team of newly appointed deputies seemed to settle into the soft saddles astride the tame horses of the past ten years. The new posse got quite comfortable. And they looked it.

The new Sheriff had said that he was facing enormous problems. He was correct. The new Sheriff said that there would have to be some hard decisions. He was correct. The new Sheriff said that all Bermudians would have to work together to ride out of a deep gulch before the flash flood of massive Debt overwhelmed us. He was correct.

The new team announced a SAGE Commission which would examine Bermuda’s national problem and Government processes and recommend cost savings and make suggestions about how to be more efficient.  

This was, and still is, a good idea. But the new Sheriff and his team omitted one teeny-weeny thing. Nobody, no one, no one at all – not the Sheriff, not any of the deputies - explained THE PROBLEM.

There was a national consensus that we had to fix something. But there was no national consensus about what that ‘something’ was.

It was as if the new Sheriff shouted: “Mount up! We gotta’ ride and catch Dead-eye Dick! Gotta’ move now and ride hard!”

But nobody, nobody at all, had the faintest idea of what Dead-eye Dick looked like. Even whether Dead-eye Dick was on foot, riding a wagon, or a palomino pony. Nobody knew!

So there wasn’t much point in the posse mounting up and riding hard. Not much point at all.

So here we are. Just days away from the new Sheriff and his deputies commemorating a full twelve months in control. SAGE, which is supposed to be a problem solving, problem fixing mechanism, will be debated. But there is no consensus on what the problem is.

What, exactly, is the problem?

Nobody knows, nobody can explain what Bermuda’s problem is. To date, nobody has. Tomorrow, nobody will. This is most clearly shown in these bits of rolling tumbleweed.

In December 2011 – two years ago during the old Sheriff’s time – the Rating Agency Standard & Poors [S&P] commented that Bermuda had a problem involving “gaps in official data”. In March 2013 — now in the new Sheriff’s time — S&P repeated this comment about “gaps in official data”.

December 6, 2013. In the House of Assembly debate led by MP Terry Lister [Ind], Mr Lister said that Bermuda needed good data about its residential population. He said that nobody in Government knew what changes were taking place in Bermuda’s residential population. He then said that from peak of 66,000/68,000, by 2012, there had been a 6,000/7,000 decline in Bermuda’s residential population. He concluded by saying that this population decline was the main driver for Bermuda’s four year long recession.

Government Minister and thus new deputy, Dr Grant Gibbons replied by agreeing that Government did have “a lack of good data”. The new deputy agreed that Government did not know what was happening with Bermuda’s residential population. In confirming MP Lister’s observation, the new deputy was also confirming and AMPLIFYING what S&P had TWICE said.

So here we are. December 2013. One year on.

We have a problem but nobody knows what it is. In SAGE, we have a solution to the problem that “nobody knows what it is.”  Neither the new Sheriff nor any of his deputies has told us what the problem is.

But they have told us, and are still telling us, that that they’re gonna’ fix this thing that “nobody knows what it is”.

This story ends like this. The New Sheriff jumps up on the bar and shouts: “Everybody, quiet!” Then the new Sheriff whispers [stage whisper that all can hear…]: “Anybody got a picture of Dead-eye Dick?”