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Youth should know the power of their vote

Dwayne Robinson, an opposition senator, is the One Bermuda Alliance’s approved candidate for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)

The political arena is subject to extreme change, as is the flow of democracy. Elected officials change, governments change and governance systems are reviewed. However, the one thing that must remain the same is the power vested in the people. That is the strength of any country’s democracy.

The electorate maintains its power through education, unity, advocacy and political engagement. A people divided and politically disengaged will run the risk of being exploited and misled, regardless of the system of governance in place. Each generation has a responsibility to ensure that its taxes are spent correctly, policy is crafted in its best interest, and that its politicians are held accountable.

This is why I urge my generation and the one behind me to be politically engaged, if they aren’t already. That does not necessarily mean become a politician, but to keep informed of the political process, the actions of our governing officials, and to participate in elections.

Your voice and your vote matter. Never sell your contributions short simply because you think you are too young to be heard. We live in a democracy, so you may not always get what you vote for, but that doesn’t mean the process ends there.

We have seen what consistent advocacy by pressure groups can accomplish. The Government’s recent about-face concerning two school closures proves that.

Our forefathers have consistently shown us the proper way to fight for what you believe in. It is long overdue for us to take up their mantle collectively.

Unfortunately, many young Bermudians are not even sure how the political system works.

Empowering our people with knowledge of our governance system and educating them around the power of their vote should be one of the most basic endeavours of any country that wishes to have a robust democracy.

The community also has a responsibility in this effort. The community must maintain its ability to direct government, or we will be constantly disappointed, disillusioned and disengaged. I got involved in politics as many young people have before me — to encourage my peers to be engaged and to advocate for the changes I wish to see.

I urge the older generations to teach us and pass on lessons they have learnt. However, the desire is not to indoctrinate our future generations but instead to allow them to draw their own conclusions.

The ability to facilitate spirited and open political debates, and supporting differences of opinion, will only enrich the community.

Suppressing the youth voice can lead us to feel forced out of our society or marginalised. This is something we need to actively guard against.

No system will ever be able to hold elected officials accountable more than the people who put an “X” in the box that best suits them on election day.

Dwayne Robinson, an opposition senator, is the One Bermuda Alliance’s approved candidate for Southampton East Central (Constituency 30)

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