Dear Sir,

I credit the Bermuda Sun Editor with the three articles on home page of the Bermuda Sun-online edition of March 15.

These articles revealed in a unique way the despair that many are experiencing, but remain unable to pinpoint the source of their disillusionment.

The articles: ‘Boys’ Club under Fire’, ‘Legal Clash for the PLP Leader’ and ‘Heatley Short-listed for New Orleans Job’ all have one striking similarity, which has slowly slipped into the fabric of Bermuda’s society, creating a ‘communal senility’.

The similarity is the lack of accountability which has become evident in leadership; historically, this has been the hallmark of a society in decline.

Recently, the Chamber of Commerce provided an excellent example of leadership and accountability. Their Executive Director was dismissed following public comments she made during a BIU march in Hamilton. The Chairman of the Board stated that her comments were “unacceptable and offensive, and not at all reflective of the values or viewpoints of our organization”.

As a counter-point, during debate in the House of Assembly (June 2013), the Attorney General (AG) made derogatory comments about Christians in Bermuda, stating: “I think there are a lot of countries not as advanced that will embrace you [gays] and say, ‘come on in’. They can go somewhere else. And I will be happy about that, too... This is where it gets scary, when the Kool-Aid drinkers get a hold of things, and aren’t prepared to have any critical thought …”.

Interestingly, the Premier responded that the AG, whom he appointed, was speaking of his own accord. During another House of Assembly session, the Deputy Premier was recorded saying to a colleague: “Kim and Cindy Swan were talking to ZBM on camera for about 10 minutes and I thought to myself, what a f***ing waste of time.” Now, despite this egregious breach, the Deputy Premier later stated: “Like any citizen I am entitled to private views but when those views are inappropriately expressed I am man enough to apologize”.

Clearly the Bermuda Sun headlines are examples of leadership voids and lack of accountability. Surely anyone who touches a child in their care in an inappropriate manner should be held accountable by their Board of Directors. The PLP Leader is never off duty, whether at work, on vacation, on or off island.

Similarly, the actions of the Commissioner of Education do not demonstrate leadership commitment to the Ministry of Education or the people of Bermuda, having apparently looked for a way out so soon after appointment to a critical post.

The lack of leadership and accountability across many segments of the Bermuda society has become the rule of thumb rather than the exception. Leaders must understand their stewardship and that the authority they wield belongs to the entity they represent. Personal interests at the leadership level appear to trump commitment to one’s organization or community and persons are not held accountable by their leaders for their decisions and actions.

Time to wake up Philip Atkinson, (A Nation in Decline), coined the term ‘communal senility’ as “the inability of a community to resist being colonized by unarmed invaders”. I liken this to being on a hospital operating table and at the instruction of the anesthesiologist, counting backwards; 100, ninetynine, ninety-eight, ninetezzzzzzzz. At this point we don’t have the power or inclination to resist what the doctors do to us. We exist in this deep dark stupor until we hear the charge nurse calling our name and whispering ‘it’s time to wake up’.

The Chamber of Commerce seems to stand alone in demonstrating authentic leadership and accountability. Certainly, the Board wrestled with their respect and admiration for the Executive Director and doing what was right rather than what was expedient. This model stands as a supreme beacon of leadership and accountability required to suppress this rapid and continued societal decline into a dark abyss. It is as if the charge nurse is calling: ‘Bermuda… Bermuda… open your eyes; it’s time to wake up!’

Richard L. James