By Christopher Tobutt
With the slogan “Community Builds Country,” Osbourne “Ossie” Bodden held an election campaign meeting for Bodden Town East at the side the Bodden Town Bypass road. MC Robert Bodden, Osbourne’s brother, who ran for election last time, but had chosen to be a fellow campaigner supporting his more politically-experienced sibling this year, introduced the ‘Community Builds Country’ fellow-campaigners: Heather Bodden and Wayne Panton.
There was an endorsement via video from the venerable ex-parliamentarian and educator Roy Bodden, who spoke of Osbourne Bodden’s dedication to the people of Bodden Town, his hard work, and experience. There was also a heartfelt endorsement from artist and special Olympian athlete, artist and photographer Matthew Ebanks “We love you Mr. Bodden. You’re the best,” he said.
Wayne Panton began: “People of Bodden Town East, you’re discerning people. You look at the track record of the people that have represented you. If you look as Osbourne Bodden’s track record, he has worked extremely hard during the term 2013-2017. That was a very trying time for the country.” Mr. Panton reminded the audience of the tough financial times, and the ten percent unemployment rate that that government had worked hard to turn around, expressing his disappointment that, when the time came for the people to benefit, the present government had failed to deliver: “We were not re-elected, and what have you got out of that? Nothing,” he said.
Taking the podium, Osbourne Bodden said: “We need statesmen. We don’t just need politicians for ego and for money to go around and puff out their chest because they’re now a politician. You need people that are here for the right reason, and that’s what my two humble colleagues and myself are about. We have been working in the community, that’s why this theme is so relevant, because we have lived it. I started off doing community work here in Bodden Town as a youth,” he said.
Speaking about the Premier, Mr. Bodden said: “Him and Mr. Bush the Speaker warred for twenty years, yet they are now one happy married couple. The reason they did that was because they both killed their parties. They don’t want anyone else near the parliament; they want to keep a lock on that. So now an independent candidate is a bad word to them.”
“Ladies and gentlemen don’t be fooled, the only way to deal with this group of people that are selfish and all about big business and big money, is to vote them out. If you make the mistake of re-electing that government you are going to have four years of the same suffering: the lack of homes, the lack of food on the table, the lack of jobs.”
Warming to the theme of affordable homes, Mr. Bodden said: “The National Housing Development Trust is simply too cumbersome and moving too slowly for the amount of people that we have needing homes. We have 400 people on our waiting list. That is unacceptable.”
“Government look seriously into buying up large parcels of land or reclaiming the land that is already in the government’s hand, putting infrastructure into it such as electricity and water, having it ready in lots and selling it to our people. We have to maybe look at reducing the size of the plots, going up instead of just single-story.”
“We know the minimum wage is too low, so a lot of people are being paid that. The minimum wage should be at least nine or ten bucks an hour without a doubt. You cannot live on those six dollars an hour. They were supposed to revise that, because that was the starting point,” he said.