Seaman to stand as an independent
A pastor announced yesterday that she will stand as an independent in the General Election.
The Reverend Maria Seaman said she wanted to have the integrity of her own voice in her attempt to represent the constituents of Warwick North Central.
She explained: “I am certainly glad to have pondered this long enough and come up with the decision to run as an independent in the upcoming election.
“Thought about it long and hard, some would think maybe just over the past couple of months, but I've actually been thinking on it over the years.
“Having been prayerful and understanding that I need to be my best voice to present the best to the people, that's the conclusion of the matter.
“I want to fully represent who I am and fully represent who I can be for the people of Warwick North Central.”
Dr Seaman outlined her reasons for not signing up for one of the established political parties — the Progressive Labour Party and the One Bermuda Alliance — and added that she could not back the legalisation of cannabis.
She said in a video posted on her Facebook page: “I have to have the integrity of my own voice, I have to be myself fully.
“As I thought on it, one of the statements I want to make is that I'm not running against OBA or against PLP, I'm running for the generations — not just this present generation but the generation to come.” She added: “The OBA, they don't have the platform that I ever supported.
“The PLP, unfortunately on the horizon, I believe they will support something that I wholeheartedly cannot support and therefore it would be very hypocritical of me to voice my opinion on a matter when the PLP Government is set to go another way.
“That in particular is the legalisation of weed. That is something that I — as a Bermudian, an adult, a pastor, a mother, a former teacher — cannot put my signature to.”
The pastor is also a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage. She told a public meeting on the subject in 2015 that marriage was “a pattern sanctioned by God” in the form of Adam and Eve,
Dr Seaman, who founded Shekinah Worship International Ministries at Shekinah Worship Centre, hoped that constituents would believe that she could make a difference as an independent politician in Parliament.
She highlighted that she backed decriminalisation of cannabis, but legalisation “is another matter”.
A document from the Ministry of Legal Affairs, published on the Government's online forum, said that its policy on the liberalisation of cannabis laws aimed “to strike the right balance between full (unregulated) legalisation and safe, controlled, regulation of cannabis”.
It added: “The challenges include: rectifying legacy demonisation of the plant and persons who use it, satisfying Bermuda's international obligations, protecting young persons and providing economic opportunities for our citizens.”
Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, won Warwick North Central with 661 votes to 338 for the OBA's Sheila Gomez in the 2017 General Election.
Wayne Scott, of the OBA, defeated Colonel Burch for the PLP by just ten votes — 436 to 426 — five years earlier, when independent candidate Roderick Simons got the backing of 22 voters.
Dr Seaman said that she appreciated the work carried out by Colonel Burch and that the last PLP government had done “a splendid job”.