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Spotlight on orators at Speakers’ Corner

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Bermuda's answer to London's Speakers' Corner comes to Devonshire tomorrow, allowing anyone a platform to discuss the island's topical issues.

The “Loyal Gazette” event will take place at Loyal Hill Field, with orators standing on stage for five minutes each between 4pm and 6pm.

The person holding the microphone can talk about anything of interest — although profanity, defamatory remarks and personal attacks will be prohibited.

“We're hoping for a strong turnout. The feedback so far has been pretty good,” said event spokesman Keith Simmons, who is also chairman of the Devonshire Community Field Trustees.

“It's to get a feel of what people are thinking. The community now is well-attuned and people are concerned about the issues.

“Their words will be noted and maybe presented to the MPs afterwards.”

Overseeing proceedings will be an adjudicator and a griot — a wise elder in the West African tradition — with the latter's identity yet to be revealed.

Mr Simmons recalled witnessing Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park about 40 years ago.

He said that the scene, in which members of the public discuss and debate matters of the day, intrigued him.

“There were a lot of people there and it was quite rowdy,” he added.

Mr Simmons hopes that Bermuda's young population will showcase their own social and political knowhow at this weekend's gathering, which may become a regular fixture if it proves popular.

Although the “Loyal Gazette” welcomes voices from all corners, one demographic will be actively excluded.

“MPs aren't allowed to speak — Government or Opposition,” Mr Simmons said. “They have their say in the House of Assembly.

“This is a chance for the people to speak. If the politicians are going to come, they can listen.”

The event will run from 3pm to 7pm, with live music and a DJ playing before discussions commence.

Providing inspiration: Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, London
Platform for debate: a sheet on North Shore Road advertises the “Loyal Gazette” public-speaking event tomorrow (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
All welcome: the sign advertising the “Loyal Gazette” public-speaking event (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 11, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 11, 2016 at 1:22 am)

Spotlight on orators at Speakers’ Corner

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