Good day, Bermuda.

Thank you for your continued support, encouragement and advice.

Our Budget Reply has been designed to speak to all of the concerns that so many of you have voiced to us over the last year.

We would like to speak on a few topics of importance today.

In any form of human relations, the key element is how we communicate with each other.

Lack of proper communication has been the demise of many relationships; likewise, it can be the demise of the relationship between politicians and the people who trust us to represent them in Parliament.

In this regard, the Progressive Labour Party has committed to being more proactive in proper communication with the people of Bermuda.

Over the past year we have taken to speaking about pertinent issues, and long-term goals of Bermudians in a multi-media approach.

These are the various methods we have used to continue to communicate with you: Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Bernews; The Royal Gazette; Bermuda Sun; Radio interviews; Television interviews; Community Open Mics; Town Hall meetings; Face to Face; canvassing.

Even more, we desire you to increase your communication with us. That’s why we will continue to place our email addresses into the public domain so that you may be able to share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and constructive criticism with us.

In an age of corporate and cultural globalization, we seem to have allowed ourselves to forget about our own Bermudian culture. The Bermudian culture of which we speak has the following unique hallmarks:

• Stopping to give someone a ride

• Offering to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor

• Taking a moment to verbally correct a child going astray

• Sharing baked or cooked goods with family and friends

• Taking in family or friends when they fall on hard times

There is nothing wrong with appreciating other cultures and customs.

However, we must not trade our own unique culture. As the song says, “Proud to be Bermudian”.

If we allow ourselves to believe every negative headline and sound bite in the media, we will lose confidence in ourselves, each other, and our country.

This constant negativity has a profound effect on the mindsets of our people, employers and even local and international potential investors. In order to restore confidence in our island, we must restore confidence in ourselves, and in each other as Bermudians. The constant belittling of Bermudians as uneducated or lazy, must cease immediately. Social and political divides will not close if we cannot look each other in the eye as Bermudians, and say to each other, “I am confident in your abilities and intentions”.

Bermuda, we will not falter in our goal and ambitions to make Bermuda affordable and livable for every Bermudian. We call upon every Bermudian to remain confident in our ability to evolve as a community, as an island, and as a nation.

These components are what made Bermuda unique on this planet.

This is our true Bermudian culture, and we must embrace it, and pass it on to the next generations.

In closing, we wish to say it is these small things that make or break a society.

We are confident that our Bermudian society will not be broken. Thank you. n Marc Bean is the leader of the PLP Opposition.