Bermuda’s political pundits are watching with bated breath to see which way Premier Michael Dunkley will go in the lead up to the next General Election. But in the interim the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) has issued the rallying call for Bermudians to “register to vote and really make a difference”, in what could be “the most important most important election in our lifetime”.
Speaking at a news conference today, PLP candidate Senator Renee Ming predicted the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) will call a General Election rather than “suffer a humiliating defeat” on the no confidence vote on Friday.
“It is clear that the OBA has lost control of the House of Assembly, and no longer holds the confidence of two of its founding members,” said Sen Ming.
“The Progressive Labour Party is calling on the youth of Bermuda – and all unregistered Bermudians – to register to vote. We have heard you; I have heard you!”
While canvassing and talking to young Bermudians in particular, she said: “I hear the concerns that they have with their island home. I and my PLP colleagues understand the hopelessness that you feel with employment for you and your families.
“I understand your concerns about being able to afford to live in your Bermuda. I hear your concerns with the increased amount of protest and unprecedented division and unrest in our island home. I hear you and the PLP hears you.
“Young people you are our future; I implore you to take your rightful place; participate and be engaged. It’s time for you to sit at the table and be a part of the process to really move our island forward and put Bermudians first.”
To unregistered voters, she said: “It’s time for you to let your voice be heard in your island home…You can no longer sit back and watch. We all have to work together to see and be the progress we want.”
She urged “Bermudians of all races and ages” to “close our gaps and build relationships for a better Bermuda” and to “register to vote and really make a difference”.
“This may well be the most important election in our lifetime, because, it’s about what it means to be Bermudian. In the last four years, we’ve experienced 2,000 lost jobs and many young voters have given up hope,” she said.
“Health insurance rates have skyrocketed which means that Bermudians are taking home less money than they did four years ago. Our cost of living remains the highest in the world and it’s getting higher.
“Instead of investing in Bermudians and fixing our public education system so Bermudians can thrive, the OBA has neglected our schools, causing them to fall into disrepair.
“The OBA has done well for one Bermuda. But they’re failing the Bermuda where you and I live.”
She was joined by political newcomer Dr Ernest Peets Jr, who will run in Smith’s North who said: “In a lot of ways, this election is about Bermuda’s future and what that future is going to look like going forward,” he said.
He noted that the OBA Government broke their pre-election promise on term limits. “Pathways to Status legislation and other initiatives by the OBA have fundamentally redefined our society and what it means to be Bermudian.”
Dr Peets echoed Sen Ming’s call to “potential voters to register to vote as soon as possible…to cast their vote regarding the key issues facing our country”.
“Let us not forget, one of the OBAs first moves was to break their promise on term limits, and their second move was an attempt to minimize opportunities and jobs for Bermudian children by offering the same to children of guest workers.
“Bermuda can do better. It’s time for a Government that puts Bermudians first. It’s time for a Government that has a plan to develop an Economic Diversification Unit; a Technology Hub and one that will deliver new hope to young Bermudians,” said Dr Peets.
He urged potential voters to visit elections.gov.bm to check their registration status. “If you are not registered, please register or update your voter registration information. Alternatively, you can visit the offices of the Parliamentary Registrar at Craig Appin House on Wesley Street in Hamilton. Because our future is so important, let’s all get involved.”