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MP to hold open-mike night for voters to air their frustrations

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Jamahl Simmons, PLP MP (File Photograph)

A government MP has called on voters to air their “frustrations” at the way Bermuda is run.

Jamahl Simmons is hosting an “open-mike” night so that people can discuss concerns with the Progressive Labour Party in the wake of David Burt’s re-election as leader, and the Premier.

Mr Simmons, who represents Sandys South, said many constituents had voiced dissatisfaction across a number of areas.

The comments come after PLP delegates and MPs kept Mr Burt in charge of the party by 97 votes to 56.

Mr Simmons told The Royal Gazette: “My hope is that we can also channel any frustration with the rate of progress into positive action at the community level.

“Alongside canvassing and monthly clinics, this forum is another way to help me even better articulate the views of constituents to the leadership.”

PLP leadership election at the St. Paul A.M.E. Church Centennial Hall. Pictured- Curtis Dickinson and David Burt, Premier (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Mr Simmons added: “Over the past year, we've been hosting virtual town hall meetings focused primarily on keeping Constituency 33 residents informed on what the Government is doing.

“From our other forms of community outreach, we've had many people expressing their dissatisfaction on a number of issues.

“As a result, we wanted this event to shift from us telling the community what's going on to providing another platform for our constituents to freely express themselves on whatever topic they choose.

“On Thursday night we will be doing more listening than talking.”

Mr Dickinson has distanced himself from some social media calls to hold a protest march this week over the PLP election result.

The leadership campaign saw several flashes of disharmony as Mr Dickinson warned the PLP leadership against engaging in “dirty tricks“, and Mr Burt said he had been subjected to false ”vicious stories“.

The Premier said the process had been “difficult” for him as he pledged not to stand again when his new four-year term expires in 2026.

Mr Dickinson said he would return to work in the corporate world, but remain as an MP, leaving the door open for a possible future run at the PLP leadership.

In the final hours of the campaign, matters became markedly fractious as the former finance chief accused the Premier of being an “arrogant liar” and making a “dangerous gamble” with $125 million of taxpayers’ money on the $376 million revamp of the Fairmont Southampton hotel complex.

Mr Burt refused to be drawn on whether he would offer Mr Dickinson a return to Cabinet.

In a scathing social-media post before the vote, Mr Dickinson laid into Mr Burt’s track record and predicted the PLP would lose the next election if he was still leader.

Mr Dickinson, who complained the PLP leadership had gone against tradition and denied him the platform to address delegates at the party conference, warned that Bermuda was “on the brink” economically and that Mr Burt was not telling voters the truth about the actual scale of the problems.

Alex Scott, the former PLP premier, urged Mr Burt to come across as looking less “autocratic” in his new term.

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Published October 25, 2022 at 7:30 am (Updated October 25, 2022 at 5:41 pm)

MP to hold open-mike night for voters to air their frustrations

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