Local issues set to decide outcome of C25 by-election
Danger on the roads, crime and education are among the concerns Warwick North East constituents would like to see tackled by their new MP.
The by-election tomorrow was called after Jeff Baron announced in April he was to quit politics in the wake of winning the seat at the General Election.
The Royal Gazette spoke to Constituency 25 residents in the run-up to the by-election, in which the Progressive Labour Party’s Curtis Dickinson and Justin Mathias of the One Bermuda Alliance will contest the seat.
A householder in the Henry Vale area said he and his wife were still on the fence.
The man, who said the couple were “swing voters”, added: “We will probably make a decision on Thursday morning.”
He said public education was his main concern and that he would like to see the new MP get the ball rolling on that and not just “pay lip service”.
He also raised concerns about road safety.
The man, who asked not to be named, said bikes speed up and down Keith Hall Road and there are frequent accidents at the junction of Morgan Road and Middle Road.
Another constituent said she was also concerned about traffic problems and called for speed bumps to be installed on Keith Hall Road.
She added more must be done to tackle drug dealing and the feral chicken problem in the area.
The woman, who said her neighbourhood was a PLP support base, predicted Mr Dickinson would win at the polls.
She revealed she would vote for the OBA candidate, as she did at the General Election, even though Mr Mathias “just seems so young”.
A resident on Keith Hall Road insisted he would cast his vote on Thursday even though he did not approve of party politics, which he said fuelled racism in a place as small as Bermuda.
He added: “We are in a small boat and if we don’t work together, we sink together.”
The man declined to say who would get his vote, but said his main concerns were racism, crime and education, which he said were island-wide problems.
His wife agreed with other area residents that traffic was a big problem. She said trucks treated Keith Hall Road like a “racetrack” during peak times.
The woman said she was a PLP supporter and that she would cast her vote for Mr Dickinson.
She added that despite always having supported the PLP, she would be open to changing her mind if a better candidate for the area stepped forward.
Another area resident said she had no interest in politics but that her husband had persuaded her to vote in previous elections.
She said: “I only vote because he tells me to vote. I believe they are all thieves. No matter who gets in, they all do the same things.”
The woman added that more should be done for the homeless and she added that some “type of structure” was needed to help the youth.
The resident said she liked former area MP Jeff Baron because she had heard him talk about the plight of young people.
She added: “I gave him a lot of credit for that.”
A senior who lives in a condominium development in the western part of the constituency said her biggest worry was the cost of healthcare.
She added: “It’s terribly expensive. Bermuda has had time now to put together programmes that take better care of seniors as far as healthcare is concerned.”
She said she would “definitely” vote, but declined to say who she favoured for the seat.
She added she had been upset to see Mr Baron quit.
The woman added: “I was really looking forward to him going forth and having some type of future in the OBA.”
A woman who lives off Harbour Road said she felt let down by Mr Baron’s departure after she spent thousands of dollars to fly home to vote for him at the last General Election.
The woman, an OBA member, said she was upset by the party’s failure to retain power, but that it was clear that the OBA had let down “a lot of people that needed help”.
She added: “I think they were trying, but they did not listen to the majority of the people that were suffering.”
The woman said traffic problems, crime and education were her main concerns.
She added that the PLP Government struck her as more professional and organised than previous PLP administrations.
She said she had seen Mr Dickinson canvassing the area, but Mr Mathias had not visited her home.
She added she would be voting OBA because “we need an Opposition”.
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