Mixed views today now that the Free Democratic Movement (FDM) party has thrown their hat back into the Bermuda’s political arena, with plans to field 36 candidates in the next General Election.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, party leader Marc Bean invited “people who are like-minded” to join the FDM.

Unlike the last time around when the party formed in September 2020 in response to the snap election, the next General Election does not have to be held until January 2026.

Whether or not Premier David Burt will hold out that long remains to be seen. But as it stands now, the election deadline gives the FDM plenty of time to build up their momentum.

But the big debate with the island’s political bloggers questions whether or not Bermuda needs a third political party.

On the one hand, some say Bermuda’s electorate deserves another choice, while on the other hand, there are those who say the FDM would do better to run independent candidates.

But generally, bloggers said a third party could not hurt, based on the disenchantment with both political parties.

Either way, the party’s “primary goal is to be the next Government o Bermuda”, guided by the following principles:

  • Self-Discipline
  • Humility
  • Accountability
  • Morals and Ethics

“Our purpose is to position ourselves as the next Government of Bermuda”, said Mr Bean.

“Thirty six candidates will be presented for consideration to the public, but our focus is not just on 36, our focus is on the development of a pool of candidates whereby we can choose and select who we think is best suited for various constituencies and various tasks.”

In hindsight, he said: “We knew that when we first emerged in 2020 we were ahead of our times.

“We realised that while the people didn’t appreciate what we were attempting to do in 2020, three years later, you realise that time is longer than rope.

“Through the experiences of the current Government and the Opposition, we realise that the time will come when what was not appreciated in 2020 will certainly be appreciated now,” he added.

Acting chairman Rayki Bascome-Emery explained why the party has been “dormant” in recent years, saying: “We chose this approach of strategic silence because we support democracy and in recognition that experience is often the best teacher.”

He also stated that the FDM “represents a new beginning for all Bermudians both locally and overseas”.

“Our strategy over the next few months will be what we refer to as the three Cs — communication, canvassing, and candidates.”

Mr Bean was asked by Bermuda Real to respond to the critics who say he has been in hibernation, if it would have been smarter to build momentum leading up to this.

He replied: “No, there is no regret because we knew that when we first emerged in 2020, we were ahead of our times.”

He also stated that the FDM was only able to produce a limited amount of candidates on a very short notice of three or four days.

“And so, we realised that while the people would appreciate, generally speaking, what we attempted to do in 2020, three years later you realise that time is longer than rope, and through the experiences of the current government and the Opposition, we realise that the time would come that what was not appreciated in 2020 would certainly be appreciated now.

“So, we have no regrets in the stance that we took over the last few years.”

He was also asked by Bermuda Real about the last time he ran against the current Attorney General, Kathy Lynn Simmons, in Constituency 36 and the recent government contract awarded to her husband, Myron Simmons.

We asked Mr Bean to speak to the sentiment on the case of the AG not responding to the “conflict of interest” issue with her husband getting another government contract…what does it say about the Progressive Labour Party supporting their “friends and family”.

His response: “I have no comment, the FDM has no opinion or comment on what the PLP has done.

“If people feel that there is a gap in terms of ethics, then it’s for them to make that clear at the next election.”

Asked if he cared to say whether he will run against the AG in C36 again, he replied: “I would not even reveal that.

“But again, today is not to focus on any particular person within the current government or in the Opposition.

“Our idea today is to announce that the FDM is back on the runway and we’re about to take off, and we’re inviting people who are like-minded to join us.”

Asked to say why he decided to return to the political arena after his medical issues with a young family, why not just go and live your life, he said: “You can walk and chew gum at the same time.

“And when a man or woman recognises their purpose in life, then it is incumbent for them to fulfill their purpose and pursue it, and I am no different.

“And those in this room who have joined the FDM are no different.

“People are voluntarily associating themselves with the FDM.

“If people have an ill will because I have a family – a young family, which I consider to be a supreme blessing, then that’s not my issue, that’s not the FDMs issue.

“But I will always ensure that my family comes first. I am a man 100 percent.”

Photo Courtesy Of TNN

Asked by TNN for the FDMs position on education reform, Mr Bean, unlike the current administration said the FDM has no intention of closing any schools.

“It’s not our position to criticise the current Government but what I can say is that we have a totally different approach to addressing the concerns regarding educational reform,” he said.

“I don’t want to pre-empt presenting our ideas, but I can say that the different approach means that we do not have any intention to close any schools.

“We will be looking to sit down with the concerned institutions at either end of the island.

“Yes, it’s potentially a political opportunity to take advantage of the ill-feeling that people might harbour towards the Government. But in the end education is about the cultivation and development of our minds, in particular our children and as adults.

“So, while it can be used as a political football, our focus is ensuring that we have a system that speaks to growth and development and ensuring that the island is able to advance.

“Most of the feedback that we have seen over the last few months and years is reflective of the fact that people are not comfortable with the approach we are going through. Basically look forward to us presenting that alternative vision of education.

“The fact is that if on one hand we are saying that we need more people in the country — we need to attract more Bermudians back to the country and new persons — non-Bermudians to the country, then it’s kind of contradictory to seek to close schools.

“That shows that the vision is not coherent. What’s important is for us to understand is that if we’re going to build our education system, it’s one that doesn’t remove facilities or schools. The idea is to grow and not to diminish. That is going to be the overarching focus of the government-in-waiting, which is the FDM.”

Asked by Bermuda Real about the current disenchantment with the PLP, the OBA and politics in general, he said: “They have not had enough of the FDM because as you said, they haven’t had nothing from the FDM over the last few years.

“But I have heard and I’m sure all of us have heard the disenchantment with politics in Bermuda today.

“But hopefully what we are undertaking now can give a new source of hope that there is an opportunity for us to navigate out of the challenges that we’re facing.”

Our last question to Mr Bean was whether or not he had a special message for the Premier, his response: “No, absolutely not!”