I wanted to share my platform speech that I presented at the Miss Teen Bermuda Islands Pageant.  Although my platform was addressed to the youth of Bermuda, I believe that it is a message for our entire community.


What is missing from our Bermudian community? How often have you heard about the youth congregating at Victoria Park awaiting a vicious fight? How often have you seen a crowded bus with seniors who are awaiting a seat?  Haven't you seen youth lining the streets without proper attire? I am sure you have heard young people disrespecting themselves!  What about those dreaded beer bottles, soda cans and those chip bags that are scattered all over the streets?  So, what is missing from our Bermudian community? It is a seven letter word, so little, but yet so profound. That word is respect!  I firmly believe that our Bermudian community needs to have more respect - for self, for others and for the community. 

         Let's take the example of youth fighting in the park.  What would make two people fight? It seems to me that when people fight it is because they have disrespect for one another.  Respect means "to relate, and to avoid degrading or insulting."  

         You may ask what can we do? We do have choices! We can walk away and take the high road.  After all, nobody can fight by themselves!!   How about our seniors?  What can we do to help our seniors?

  • We can offer them a seat on the bus.
  • We can open a door for them.
  • We can even offer to help them with their groceries.  

These are the standards that we should be setting as the youth of Bermuda. These are the things that I try and practice whenever I can so that I can be an example to my peers and make a difference.

        What about the youth who dress inappropriately?  It seems to me that they have no respect for self.  Many young people have a copy-cat mentality.  When the youth see their peers dressing in a particular way, they want to do the same.  

What about the community?  I am sure that like me you have seen trash scattered along Bermuda's roads. This tells me that as Bermudians we are losing respect for our beautiful island.  We need to take better care of our island's natural beauty.  The bottom line is .. we spoil our environment when we throw trash on the ground.

 What are the solutions?  I believe that there are three solutions for a more respectful Bermuda.    One.. we must have stronger personal values. Two. we must enforce respect in our educational system, and three.. we must make a commitment to change!

If we have stronger personal values, we can say "no" to anything that may degrade us, even in our dress!  We must set a positive example!  

If we are better educated we will learn that how we dress and how we speak define who we REALLY are! 

If we make a commitment to change, we will have the courage to "just say NO to any form of disrespect".

So remember Bermuda, we need to say "yes" to.respect for ourselves, say "yes" respect for others, and "yes" to respect for our community.  

Let's take pride in ourselves Bermuda! Let's present ourselves as young people of excellence!  In the words of well known gospel singer Aretha Franklin, all we need is "respect" just a little bit ...of... respect!  

          I realize that my audience today is an adult audience.  I also realize that I am in the midst of respectful people.  However, I also believe that because we are all in Bermuda together, we need to share the message of respect.  In order for the message of respect to have an impact in our community, we who "know better, must do better".

    Unfortunately, I have observed adults who are disrespectful.  I am sure you have too!  I have also observed my peers being disrespectful to each other.  My goal during my reign as MissTeenBermudaIslands is to spread the message of respect to our community.

     It is my hope that organizations like the Rotary Club of Hamilton will find creative ways to get the message of respect out to our community.  What can we do, you might be asking yourself?

More time can be spent building respect within our schools, within our businesses and within our social organizations.  We can do address the issue of relationships and communication.  We must not assume that schools are addressing the issue.  We must not assume that businesses are dealing with the issue.  We must not assume that organizations have a handle on the issue either.

I believe that we must probe deeper to really see what is going on in our community. There should be 'watch dog groups' that go into organizations and to really see what is going on, in our schools, in our businesses and in our organizations.

If we address the harmful disrespectul behaviours, hopefully we will be less inclined to disrespect each other.  When I read about individuals who fail to respect the opinions of others, I am saddened.  When I hear adults disrespecting the accomplishments of others, I am disappointed.  I am also saddened when I hear of adults who are dishonest. 

Bermuda as a whole needs to turn its full attention towards respect.  Without respect, we can not go forward as a great country to be what God has called us to be.  Bermuda can be a great country with much more effort. 

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the words of gospel singer Aretha Franklin, one more time, "All we need is respect, just a little bit ....of.. respect