UBP Hones in on Race and Economic Opportunity

The UBP has just announced the creation of a Shadow Minister for Race Relations and Economic Opportunity. David Dodwell, former Shadow for Tourism has turned that role over to Senator Kim Swan in order to assume responsibility for this new area.

Full text of press release:

Gibbons unveils newly created Shadow Ministry for Race Relations and Economic Opportunity

UBP Senate Leader appointed Shadow Minister of Tourism

United Bermuda Party Leader Grant Gibbons today announced changes to his Shadow Cabinet intended to strengthen his party’s position as the next government.

“The United Bermuda Party believes that the diversity of our party, like the diversity of our community, is a source of strength,” said Dr. Gibbons. “However, in Bermuda we still have one community that continues to experience pain and anger from the injustices of the past, as well as current challenges, and another community that’s frustrated and scared to address race for fear of making a mistake. We believe that there is still unfinished business between black and white Bermudians that must be addressed in order for us to work together as equal partners in the challenges we face.

“We want to lead this country by beginning a serious discussion on race, economic opportunity and all the related issues, which continue to divide our people. We believe we have a role and responsibility as a political party to work to break down racial barriers in our community and assist in the process of reconciliation. The issue of race is not just a black issue. The white community has an important role to play.

“To facilitate this discussion, I am pleased today to announce the appointment of David Dodwell to the newly created shadow portfolio of Race Relations and Economic Opportunity. We recognize that this discussion on race won’t be easy and that we probably will make mistakes along the way, but we feel that the goal of building One Bermuda and breaking down racial barriers is worth the challenges we will face.”

Dr. Gibbons added, “I have known David Dodwell for many years, and he has always impressed me with his commitment to working toward our vision of a Bermuda with opportunity for all and special privilege for none. I believe he is the right man to advance this critical agenda.

“But it’s not just David’s responsibility; all of us in our party will be fighting for a fairer and more inclusive Bermuda. And all of us will be speaking out against polarization and divisiveness in our community.”

Dr. Gibbons continued, “We, like so many Bermudians, are very concerned about the continuing decline in tourism. I am pleased today to announce the appointment of Senator Kim Swan to the post of Shadow Tourism Minister. Kim has spent almost his entire life in the hospitality industry. He began his career as a young man working at the Port Royal Golf Course. Later he worked at Belmont in the dining room at night and played golf with visitors during the day. For many years, he was the general manager of the St. George’s Golf Club. Kim has the experience, dedication and understanding of what’s required to restore tourism to its critical place in our economy.

David Dodwell said, “While I have mixed feelings about reducing my formal responsibilities for tourism I am very excited about my new role in Race Relations and Economic Opportunity. Bermuda is at a pivotal point in its history. We can either continue as a community that is divided by mistrust, hatred and injustice or we can begin to talk to each other about how we can level the playing field, create opportunity and make this great vision of One Bermuda a reality. We are committed to breaking down the barriers that deny our people an equal chance to succeed in this country. The United Bermuda Party is committed to aggressively seeking out new economic opportunities; empowering all Bermudians to compete for and have access to Bermuda’s prosperity. To do this we must begin to talk to each other and seek ways to resolve the unfinished business between black and white Bermudians.”

Kim Swan said, “Someone once told me that the secret of Bermuda’s success in tourism was that we ‘romanced’ our visitors. The Bermudian people, the friendliness and attentiveness that we give to our visitors are key to our success. In 1998, the PLP promised a 100-day rescue mission to save tourism. November 9, 2004 marks the 2190th day of the PLP’s 100-day rescue mission with no end in sight. My love and understanding of tourism doesn’t come from a book but from working in the tourism industry and spending time with our visitors. My main focus will be to facilitate empowerment for the stakeholders in the industry, those who already have a vested interest in and understanding of the industry, who are the best persons to facilitate a rebirth of tourism. We need to get back to basics and expand the role played by the private sector through a tourism authority.”

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