MP DeVent's reaction to Andre Curtis' campaigning draws comment online
Ashfield DeVent, MP for Pembroke South East, is being urged to run for office after this newspaper's report on Andre Curtis' campaign in the district.
Mr DeVent would only say that he had been called by a handful of people when contacted by The Royal Gazette yesterday, and he would be monitoring the response over the next few days.
Andre Curtis, who has recently been released from prison for running an unlicensed investment company, has started campaigning in the district.
The news drew a sharp reaction from Mr DeVent who lost out to Rolfe Commissiong in the contest to choose the ruling party's candidate.
“The quality of the candidates who have put themselves forward concerns me,” Mr DeVent said.
“It raises the issue of integrity of political candidates and what message we are sending our young people in this country.”
He said: “We have a convicted armed robber and a fraudster. What's next?”
Mr DeVent said he is considering anew to make a run as an independent candidate.
His words seem to have struck a chord with many readers and ignited a debate about whether ex convicts should be allowed to run for elective office.
“Mr DeVent, I wish you would decide to run as an Independent in this arena. I haven't always agreed with you, but I believe you have integrity and that is sorely needed,” said website poster Syl Hayward.
Another poster, “Kathbell” suggested he join the One Bermuda Alliance.
“Purely from a voter's perspective, I would urge MP Ashfield DeVent to join forces with the One Bermuda Alliance and run under that banner. We need him and we need the OBA.”
Yet another insisted that he run, saying “Ashfield, you have my support — you don't need an imaginary angel to talk to you. Please run as an independent if necessary.”
And “St Stephen” concurred.
“Ashfield DeVent has to run. He is the only one with his heart (and brain) in right place in terms for the constituents of Pembroke South East.”
PLP supporter and former Senator LaVerne Furbert questioned Mr DeVent's logic saying that he might be sending the wrong message to constituents.
She noted that OBA candidate Shawn Crockwell has also served time for a crime but had every right to aspire to political office.
“I find Mr DeVent's comments extremely disturbing. I wonder if when he ran in the last election there was anyone on the electoral roll who had a criminal conviction that voted for him.
“If he runs as an independent in the next election, will he ask those persons who reside in the constituency and who have criminal convictions not to vote for him?
“I have canvassed the area with Mr Commissiong and I know for a fact that there are former inmates who live there. What message is Mr DeVent sending them?”
Both the OBA and the ruling Progressive Labour Party have chosen their candidates for the district which means that Mr DeVent and Mr Curtis would either have to run under the UBP banner or as independents.
Their participation would bring the field to five candidates.
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