Budding lawyer with deep belief in politics
Political science student Anthony Howell believes politics can be on a par with a life-saving profession because of the significant impact it has on the wellbeing of society.
The 25-year-old, who is taking a minor in international studies and pre-law at New Jersey City University, is also enrolled in a master's programme in global diplomacy at the School of Oriental and African Studies out of the University of London.
He says he is not interested in getting into politics for the money or the power but more so to help people live better lives.
He told The Royal Gazette: “I want to compare politics to something life-saving. It is imperative to allow certain ideas to develop that will help people and to expand beneficial activities and better structuring of society. That helps people as a whole.”
Anthony, who was three-time captain on the award-winning CedarBridge debating team, became interested in politics from a young age after hearing how his parents were affected by certain policies and legislation. With the help of some significant mentors his dreams are becoming a reality.
Once he has graduated, he aims to apply for Harvard University's law school so he can be Called to the Bar in the UK, US and Bermuda. He is interested in doing international law and may go into politics depending on the climate in Bermuda at the time.
Asked whether anyone inspired his ambitious drive, Anthony said: “My mother is the most inspirational person in my life, she is always 100 per cent supportive of anything I wish to pursue,” he said.
“She is an educator and a teacher — her love for education has been instilled in me. Dr Timothy Jackson, the vice principal at CedarBridge, was very influential and told us we could achieve anything we put our minds to.”
Anthony has been making the most of the opportunities that are out there for him and he recently completed a five-month internship with Democrats for Education Reform — a group of democrats leading a political reform organisation that supports leaders in the party who champion America's public schoolchildren. He said one of the most significant things he learnt during his internship was to always be open to opinions. He ended up working on a report that challenged the assumption that educational malpractice only affects those in poor communities.
“I learnt a new perspective,” he said. “We looked at how education affects those not only in poor middle-class families but also those in higher income families. I always believed that those who come from high-income backgrounds didn't have to jump through the same educational hoops than those poor have to go through.
“When I read through the research material it was not the case. Those from wealthy families actually ended up paying more for certain educational courses that should have been covered in high school. It showed that no matter how much money you make we are all tied into the same mould. It opened my eyes in general and allowed me to look at things more broadly and gain a different perspective on the challenges people face.”
The report ended up being picked up by the New York Times which ran a story under the headline, “Guess Who Is Taking Remedial Classes”.
Speaking on the political turmoil that recently brought Bermuda's parliament to a standstill over the One Bermuda Alliance's proposal to grant Bermudian status to long-term residents, Anthony said: “Bermuda is very polarised — we have many personalities coming together — there just has to be give and take, unification is what is best for the people. People don't understand that if decisions that don't work out they can be reversed so. Some will take the chance on the way they think is best — it might not be but it is not an outcome they will know unless you go with it.
“Having said that, some decisions are difficult to reverse.
“It needs much discussion with the people. You are a representative of the masses so it is ill-advised to make a decision with a small number of people when it may affect all of the people. Shutting down of parliament is a viable way of making your position known that you are against this.
“There is an argument for and against — is someone is living here for 20 or 30 years why shouldn't they have status? On the other hand, because of the small size of the island, allowing too many that path could be detrimental.
“As a politician you make the decision you think is best for the people. They have put their stance out there which they think is the most beneficial for Bermuda — that is what democracy is about.”