Now is not the time to consider independence, says Sir John Swan
Now is not the time for the island to consider independence, said a former premier who asked the public to vote on the issue more than 25 years ago.
Sir John Swan resigned as leader of the United Bermuda Party after over 73 per cent of people who turned out for a referendum in 1995 rejected cutting ties with Britain.
The former premier's comments came as antiracism charity Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda said that the death of Queen Elizabeth II should not, in itself, be a catalyst for the pursuit of independence.
Other commentators highlighted the need for changing mindsets, whether to remove “mental shackles” or to take on greater collective responsibility.
Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, said he intended to introduce a vote – if re-elected – on whether the Caribbean nation should become a republic.
He was speaking after he accepted Charles III as the country’s king and head of state.
Sir John said yesterday: “The world right now is in turmoil, there’s so much uncertainty out there.
“We don’t know what alignments are going to take place, what conditions will exist in terms of economic conditions, climate change, security issues – particularly with us being in the middle of the Atlantic, all by ourselves.
“We know that the Americans would like for Bermuda to at least keep some ties with Britain, which they very much have a close relationship with."
He added: “Personally, I don’t think this is the time now for us to do it. We have so many other issues we have to deal with.”
Sir John said: “It would cost us more money, more time and more human resources, that we know we have limited supply of, so I don’t think that this is the time right now for us to consider independence as much as what we should do – is to try to make sure we get our house in order and keep it in order, in order for us to meet our commitments to the people of Bermuda.”
He added: “Some other dependent territories might decide that they need to do it for various reasons.”
Sir John said: “I think that we have to evaluate ourselves and make sure that we are doing what will best serve Bermuda, not to follow the political trends but to follow the wishes of Bermudian people and I don’t think, quite frankly at this stage, Bermuda people are in the mood for independence.
“That’s my opinion; I could be wrong but that’s my opinion.”