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Governor on self-governance report: ‘position on independence unchanged’

Rena Lalgie, Governor of Bermuda

Rena Lalgie, the Governor, has insisted the UK has not changed its position on independence for Bermuda in the wake of a report into self-governance for the island.

A Government House spokeswoman said that Ms Lalgie had read the study, but was not in a position to express an opinion on its contents.

Despite David Burt insisting in September that sovereignty was the “next step” for Bermuda, a poll out last week showed 83 per cent of people against independence.

A spokeswoman for Government House said: “The UK’s position on the question of the independence of Bermuda is unchanged.

“The Governor has, of course, read the report. Assessments of its content, value for money, and implications are for the Government of Bermuda to make.”

The study, Assessment of Self-Governance Sufficiency in Conformity with Internationally-recognised Standards by Carlyle Corbin, sparked controversy as its commission, at a cost of $50,000, and delivery to the Government was not revealed until the Throne Speech in November, and it was not made publicly available for a further month.

Dr Corbin’s work suggested the island cannot afford to delay its political evolution, which would include “removal of the final vestiges of colonialism”.

The academic said that the level of delegation to Bermuda by the UK appeared to be at its peak while the Legislature’s ability to govern itself without unnecessary supervision was fully developed.

The latest opinion poll on the matter showed that 70 per cent of Bermuda residents were completely opposed to sovereignty, and 13 per cent mostly opposed to it.

Just 3 per cent were completely in favour of independence, with 7 per cent mostly in support of it, according to a Narrative Research Bermuda survey.

The research showed a spike in opposition since the question was last posed in September 2019 when 71 per cent were against sovereignty while 23 per cent were in favour.

The survey report noted: “Across demographics, opposition decreases somewhat with age.

“At the same time, opposition is greater among White residents, wherein 95 per cent indicate they are either mostly opposed or completely opposed.

“Those with household incomes over $75,000 more commonly report being completely opposed compared with those with lower incomes.”

The Premier used a visit to London last autumn in order to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II to push the case for independence.

He told the BBC: “Our next step is certainly to be a sovereign state and whatever form that sovereignty takes will be a matter for discussion on another day but today was a day to reflect on the Queen’s life and service.”

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Published January 16, 2023 at 9:48 am (Updated January 16, 2023 at 11:30 am)

Governor on self-governance report: ‘position on independence unchanged’

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