Dunkley calls election for July 18
July 18 is now the official date for the next General Election, Michael Dunkley announced Thursday night, just ahead of an Opposition vote of no confidence set for today.
Emphasising the One Bermuda Alliance’s record with the island’s economy, the Premier condemned the “politics of destabilisation” — saying the election was about “affirming Bermuda’s commitment to continuing the recovery”.
“It’s our record versus their record,” he said.
Ending weeks of speculation, Mr Dunkley, flanked by Cabinet colleagues, confirmed he had met with the Governor, John Rankin, who accepted his request to dissolve Parliament.
Mr Dunkley disputed suggestions that his hand had been forced by the impending motion from the Progressive Labour Party, calling July 18 one of five dates he had contemplated, with two already past.
“The people need to decide,” he added. “We don’t need to have rancour in the House of Assembly about the direction that Bermuda is going.
“Everyone can see that we are moving in the right direction, so now it’s time for the people to decide, and the politicians to listen.”
Casting voters’ choice as one of “safe” economic management against “the reckless conduct of the past”, Mr Dunkley said that social progress depended largely on economic progress.
If returned to the Government, Mr Dunkley vowed to return to the House on July 20, “or as soon as is practicable”, to continue legislative work, including absentee balloting, fixed-term elections, the Boundaries Commission report and roadside testing.
An election manifesto is to be brought out in a couple of weeks’ time. Meanwhile, Mr Dunkley spoke out against negative campaigning, saying that “people in Bermuda do not like divisive politics — political parties are distrusted for that approach”.
He denied any rift within the party ranks, calling the departure of MPs Shawn Crockwell and Mark Pettingill, “water under the bridge”.
With diversity came “strong opinion”, Mr Dunkley said — but he continued: “What I have a hard time with is people picking up their cards and walking out.”
While the Opposition has criticised the “two Bermudas”, Mr Dunkley said his party stood for inclusion, and “deeply” opposed “the politics of division”.
Added Mr Dunkley: “For those not yet touched by the recovery, do not despair. The ship has been turned. It’s moving in the right direction, and we’re going to get everyone safely on board. That’s our promise — that’s our commitment to you.”
Among his colleagues at the OBA headquarters was Charles Swan, the former United Bermuda Party MP.
Asked if Mr Swan had thrown his hat in the ring with the OBA, the Premier replied: “Of course. He’s here.”
Mr Dunkley had remained tight-lipped over the election date within hours of calling it, telling this newspaper simply: “You’ll find out when I do it.”
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