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May 22 was just the beginning

Sir John Swan (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

I have taken the time since the by-election to reflect on the results and the journey we took to reach that point. I have never suffered an election defeat before and found the experience both valuable and humbling. But most importantly, I came away from May 22 with a profound sense of gratitude to those who took the time to vote in Constituency 10.

After reflection and discussion with my colleagues, I realise that we did extremely well. We launched into this campaign only five weeks before the election day, we had no party apparatus, no systems and no external financial support.

One thing that parties do well is fight elections. In fact, it has become their single greatest focus. From the moment they are elected, to the moment of the next election, huge amounts of attention, resources and focus are spent on getting re-elected. And thereby hangs the problem. We need the focus to be on our future, our destiny.

For us to come within approximately 12 voters of winning this by-election after so short a period of preparation and as an independent is an extraordinary result. I am not sure that any independent running for the first time has ever come so close to being elected.

I am thus accepting the result as a fundamental endorsement for the need for change in our political governance system. As there have been several individuals who have approached me about running as independent candidates, I am committing to provide encouragement, organisation where needed, guidance and advice to all other individuals who wish to discuss the possibility of joining an independent movement for change.

Soon, I shall be announcing the creation of a forum that will bring together people who share the dream of a new Bermuda, and who endorse the need for fundamental change in how we govern ourselves. This forum will create a new dialogue for Bermuda and interested people, discussing how the change that we agree is needed can be delivered.

Make no mistake, the political parties have sophisticated political machinery, computer databases and people who spend many hours plotting how they can achieve political success for their party. The forum I speak of will seek, rather, to encourage a new movement and build momentum for change. I will make myself available and shall ask those who have already advised me that they wish to help to provide the core of this new forum.

I shall announce further details soon. In the meanwhile, I would ask anyone seeking to be part of this change, who feel the urgent need to cause a significant course correction in our ship of state, to contact me.

Finally, I end as I began: thanking the people of Smith’s North for being so warm, so encouraging and so supportive. I know we asked a lot of you: to break with the traditions of decades, and many of you responded positively; others told me they will when given the opportunity.

May 22 was a beginning. A new journey has begun.

• Sir John Swan, National Hero and Premier of Bermuda from 1982 to 1995, was an independent candidate in the by-election for Smith’s North (Constituency 10)

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Published June 12, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated June 12, 2024 at 7:14 am)

May 22 was just the beginning

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