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Context is important

Ben Smith

I learnt a valuable lesson in political communications before the snap 2020 election. I recorded a video about immigration so that we could have a reasonable policy discussion. Unfortunately, it was edited and used as a political weapon.

Of course, on the announcement of my candidacy for Constituency 8, the Progressive Labour Party propaganda machine went to work with a new and completely disingenuous misinformation campaign.

Context is important and the video did not give context or provide the clear message that was intended.

We learn from our mistakes if we are willing to be better for the country.

For three years, I sat on the immigration reform committee under two PLP ministers.

The hope was for bipartisan reform, but progress was held up by a PLP agenda. I thank the late minister Walton Brown and former minister Wayne Caines, along with all committee members, for the small progress that we made over that period of time.

Because of their effort, we have at least achieved some reform.

In 2020, the One Bermuda Alliance was frustrated with the lack of progress. The purpose of the video I recorded was to question why a government, many of whose close family members are one generation from outside of Bermuda, would be so against immigration.

Sadly, they painted us as being against a segment of our population and the message was that we were xenophobic.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bermuda has a great history of people who have come to our shores and have become a part of the Bermuda story. They have had children here and risen to the heights of leadership and world champions.

We must grow our population if we are to have growth in our economy, in our ideas and our understanding. This will be done by opening our doors and letting in new people.

We should be embracing those who want to help Bermuda and want to build the future with us.

The Government would like to build up walls and make new arrivals second-class citizens for generations.

We are competing with the rest of the world for resources. This government needs to remove obstacles, not create more. The One Bermuda Alliance will grow Bermuda so that there are more opportunities for our young people to return home and flourish in a great country with a growing economy. The PLP can use the same tactic to attack me while they use their same plan that has led to a shrinking population, making Bermuda less attractive to locate to.

I want Bermuda to welcome people from all over if they are interested in returning Bermuda to the destination of promise.

The OBA has built a new party that is open to all because ideas for making Bermuda better should come from all of Bermuda. That could be multiple generations of Bermudians or someone new to the island.

Let’s allow minds to be opened and not fall for the same political tricks the PLP used in 2020.

After six years of PLP governing, is Bermuda better off under their divisive agenda? Are you better off now than you were six years ago?

I believe in Bermuda, and I believe that when we work together, we will succeed. Let’s move forward with hope.

• Ben Smith, the Opposition Leader in the Senate, will be running in the October 5 by-election in Smith’s South (Constituency 8)

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Published August 30, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated August 29, 2023 at 10:00 am)

Context is important

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