This job is about remembering who put us there
“If you were handed power on a plate, you'd be left fighting over a plate”
— Tom Stoppard
During canvassing for the upcoming by-election in Constituency 25 in Warwick over the past few weeks, we have spoken to hundreds of Bermudians. For those who do not know, C25 is a seat of mixed demographics when it comes to its residents.
The voters pretty much represent the patchwork quilt of this island:
• Some black
• Some white
• Some rich
• Some poor
• Some who support St George's in Cup Match
• Some ... that support another team
In speaking with the residents, we have found:
• Some staunch Progressive Labour Party supporters
• Some who are staunch supporters of another team
Then there are some who are what we call “swing voters”. They are those who effectively, can and will, switch their support from one party to another.
In speaking to these swing voters, they have passionately stated the following:
• You are now the Government
• You now have no one to blame about lack of legislation
• You now must be the government for all Bermudians
• You now must be both the Government and the Opposition
The point about being both the Government and the Opposition really stood out in our minds and left food for thought.
Thinking about it, over the course of time, the PLP has proven itself to be both: effective as an opposition party and now as the sitting government. However, as it stands now, we must learn how to be both an effective government and opposition at the same time. Which is quite a new thing for us.
Those of us in the back bench must be the eyes and ears for our ministers. In doing so, we help them to see things from various perspectives that can work in conjunction with advice from their technical officers.
Along with that, we must do the following:
• Continue to have robust, in-house discussions on upcoming policy and legislation
• Continue to listen to the day-to-day concerns of all residents, whether they are supporters or swing voters
In the eyes of many swing voters, they are rightfully concerned that the One Bermuda Alliance has reached a point of being an ineffective Opposition. As such, the only viable option is for the PLP MPs to hold themselves and each other to high standards.
Last week, C25 candidate Curtis Dickinson and myself went to see Carmen Butterfield, aka the “Mayor of Morgan Road”. After inviting us into her immaculately kept home, she laid out in no uncertain terms what the people of Warwick are expecting from Mr Dickinson as both a candidate and potential MP.
Like anywhere else in Bermuda, people of C25 expect the following from their representative:
• Frequent visits
• Keeping residents informed of pertinent legislation
• Attending funerals
• Seeing about local concerns
Politicians, on either side of the fence often get into those nice leather seats in the House of Assembly and in important ministries and then sometimes forget exactly how we got there and exactly who put us there.
By continuing to canvass in one way or the other, we will remember that we did not vote ourselves into office; the people of Bermuda voted us in. They are who we are accountable to.
Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at email@example.com