Group continues push for voters’ rights bill

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A campaign group will continue to press for new good governance laws.

The Voters’ Rights Association has vowed to keep pressure on which ever party wins the General Election tomorrow.

The group wants to see a Voters’ Rights Bill that will put into law issues such as giving both the Auditor-General and the Bermuda Ombudsman the power to subpoena anyone, including Cabinet ministers.

“This island needs a Voters’ Bill of Rights to protect every citizen from political abuse of power and political corruption and such a Bill would ensure more accountability and integrity,” co-chairman emeritus Geoff Parker said. “Whatever the outcome tomorrow, all MPs and senators will be lobbied and pressured by the VRA to put forward and support a Voters Bill of Rights.

“We want something that will keep undue power from the politicians. We need to see a greater depth to our democracy that involves the people to a much greater extent. Divisive party politics does not suit such a small community.”

Co-chairman emeritus Stuart Hayward added that they want “a covenant that will help politicians keep their power in check”.

“We need to see a greater depth to our democracy that involves the people to a much greater extent.”

The VRA wants a Voters’ Bill of Rights to address issues such as:

• The right to a fair absentee ballot voting system;

• The right to vote, currently the party in power invites you to vote at its election;

• The right to voter referendums and citizen initiatives or similar, to determine public issues;

• The right for all election candidates in a constituency to participate in open debate;

• The right of constituents to recall parliamentarians they have elected;

• The right to fixed-term elections.

• An Independent Parliamentary Electoral Commission.

Mr Parker added: “Everything we are proposing is designed to help hold government to account, to lessen the chances of corruption or political interference and to strengthen democracy by giving people more rights.

“That can only be good for everyone and we would urge people to continue to lobby their MPs when they are returned or newly elected on Tuesday.”

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