Bermuda not ready for independence now – but it will happen, Mayor
Independence is on the cards for Bermuda, but the island should not sever its ties with the monarchy, Hamilton’s Mayor has insisted.
Charles Gosling, widely seen as a conservative figure, said Bermuda’s political scene needed to ensure it was mature enough to be able to handle full nationhood.
Asked if the island should go its own way from the UK, the Mayor told The Royal Gazette: “At this current point in time I’d say no. But, I also believe very strongly that at some time Bermuda will become independent.
“And I think that we need to prepare for that independence.
“And I think that we need to be able to operate and to govern ourselves in a proper, mature manner, rather than saying ‘oh, we need to go running up to Government House’, or that we need to go dashing off to London to answer all these things.
“We need to be capable of doing that ourselves. And if we are not then there’s absolutely no reason at all why we should become independent.“
However, Mr Gosling thought it would be a mistake to “do a Barbados” and remove the British Queen, or her successor, as head of state following independence.
He said: ”I have always believed that it’s very important to build your relationships through friendships.
“You do, I’m sure, a lot more for your friends than for an acquaintance that you see, maybe once a year.
“It is very important for us to maintain whatever relationships we have. We are an island of 60,000 people and we need as many friendships and memberships that we possibly can.
“And I think it would be a mistake on our part to become a republic.”
Mr Gosling, who has announced he is not seeking re-election, said that one of his proudest achievements as Mayor was replacing the British flag outside City Hall with the island’s flag.
“Whenever I’m driving up Cedar Avenue and the wind’s in the right direction and we are able to fly the big Bermuda ensign, it’s really, really nice to see the Bermuda flag flying.
“It is a nice symbol for all of Bermuda to get behind.”
The Mayor added: “There are a number of other things. There’s the unveiling of the We Arrive sculpture at Barr’s Bay Park, which is the unplanned arrival of a slave ship which had set sail from the north east US to South Carolina and got blown here in a nasty storm in February 1835, and where the entire community got together and offered the slaves their freedom on the island which every single one, with the exception of a mother and her children, accepted.
“And these families are still here on the island.
“It is one of the success stories that we have in our complicated history, and one very worthy of celebration.”