OpEd: Determining Our Own Future
Self-determination for Bermudians has been at the core of the PLP's mission since our Party was founded in 1964.
In the decades that have passed, many of our sister islands have taken the bold and necessary step to move out from under the burden of colonialism and chart their own path forward.
Sadly, Bermuda has failed to take the next step in our political maturation. We have rejected independence at every opportunity, and decades of polling data also reflect the view that Bermudians do not wish to pursue independence at this time.
From our perspective, the unyielding opposition to independence for Bermuda is not a reflection on the mindset or courage of those who stand in opposition; it is a reflection of our failure to properly educate Bermudians on the pros and cons, benefits and risks of taking this step.
That's why those of us who support independence are excited about the government's Self-Governance Assessment prepared by Dr. Carlyle Corbin, International Advisor on Governance. This Assessment explores the minimum standards and the full range of self-government options for Bermuda. This is the first step and will be the basis of the necessary wide-ranging community discussion and education that must accompany any future moves toward enhancing Bermuda's ability to attain full self-governance.
To be clear, Premier Burt has promised that there will be no major moves on this subject, including a pledge not to hold a referendum during the life of this Parliament, set to conclude in late 2025. However, that does not prevent us from having robust, mature, and informed discussions on the many options Bermuda has to improve and modernize our governing system and enhance our capacity to self-govern even within the existing colonial relationship with the United Kingdom.
These discussions do not mean that your PLP government will be distracted from addressing the issues that genuinely matter to Bermudians. As seen in our recent Throne Speech, the Premier has laid out plans to:
- Reduce the cost of living
- Address affordable housing
- Provide greater protections for good tenants and landlords
- introduce a minimum wage to raise the take-home pay of thousands of Bermudians ● Reform Financial Assistance to meet the challenges of today and provide immediate, short-term relief to Bermudians economically impacted by a death in the family or redundancy
Discussions on the controversial subject of independence don't have to be a distraction from delivering a better life for Bermudians, nor does it have to be emotive or divisive. Your PLP government won't get ahead of the wishes of our people, nor have we made any definitive conclusions on what the outcome of these discussions will be. You have our word on that.
Together we can decide to listen, learn and think about ways Bermuda can be improved for all of us. How can that be a bad thing?
MP Lawrence Scott
Constituency 24 - Warwick South East