Should Holding Debt Disqualify a Bermudian from Public Service?

Should Holding Debt Disqualify a Bermudian from Public Service?

The public discourse regarding a private matter involving a PLP Senator has shifted. It has shifted from allegations regarding the use of political affiliation to escape the accountability of outstanding debt; to the assertion that an individual with debt should not be eligible to be a public servant.

To be clear, it is the firm position of the PLP and its leadership that anyone with outstanding debt should ensure every effort is made to rectify the arrears. However, what is observed is that persons are leveraging this Senator's challenge in an attempt to score political points, which calls into question their motives.

The PLP Senator, in an effort to ensure this private matter did not distract from the work of the Government, made a decision to resign.

The PLP stands firm on their Senate appointment criteria. The members of the Party who come from all walks of life should be eligible to run for public office as a servant of the people.

As a country, do we think it is good for our democracy if only those who do not hold debts are eligible for public service? We believe unequivocally that holding debt should not automatically disqualify someone from such service.

If debt is a litmus test for political service, then, it would disqualify otherwise smart, hardworking Bermudians. And, it would rob our representative democracy of the perspective of the working class, including those with debts. This goes against the principles for which the Progressive Labour Party was founded. The model advanced by some would - as so many things in our society do - privilege the wealthy.

We reiterate our position that outstanding debts should not be ignored. However, we believe that everyone can serve and lead, and we encourage others to do the same.

 Lauren Bell
Deputy Chair
Progressive Labour Party