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Sir John ‘overwhelmed’ by calls of support to run in by-election

Popular call: Sir John Swan at Monday’s press conference (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Former Premier Sir John Swan has been “overwhelmed” by support following his call for people to stand as independent MPs.

And the 88-year-old, who stood down as Premier in 1995 after 13 years in office, still hasn’t ruled out running in next month’s by-election in Smith’s North.

Sir John issued a rallying cry on Monday saying that he will lead by example and throw his hat into the ring — providing he gets sufficient positive feedback.

Yesterday, Sir John said he had been swamped by telephone calls and e-mails from supporters encouraging him to re-enter the political arena.

He said: “I’m feeling so good — I’ve never seen such a response in my life.

“My e-mail is burning up and the telephone calls keep coming through. I am getting so much support.

“It really is overwhelming. But this isn’t about me. People are supporting the concept of some form of freedom — a freedom from the shackles of party politics and entrenched ideology.

“What people are supporting is the idea of having independent MPs who can represent them rather than representing a party.

“That doesn’t mean that we have to get rid of the two political parties, but there is an alternative to the ‘winner-take-all’ system that we have at the moment.

“We could have a coalition government made up of independent MPs and political parties.

“I really do believe that idea is appealing to many people who are tired with our current system.”

Smith’s North voters must register by April 17

Yesterday, the Acting Governor Tom Oppenheim issued a Writ of Election for Smith’s North Constituency 10.

Earlier this week, the Parliamentary Registry Office announced that a by-election for the constituency is scheduled to take place on May 22.

Registration for the by-election will close on Wednesday, April 17 at 5pm. All voters in Smith’s North are encouraged to verify their registration details on the government website at www.elections.gov.bm.

Voters in Smith’s North who are certified by a medical practitioner as unable to leave their residence due to illness, infirmity, or disability, even with assistance, can request to vote from home.

Please contact the office on 293-VOTE by May 10, 2024, to schedule an appointment.

For further information about the by-election, visit the Parliamentary Registry’s website at www.elections.gov.bm.

The Smith’s North by-election will be held on May 22. Already named as candidates are Progressive Labour Party government senator Lindsay Simmons, and political newcomer Robert King for the One Bermuda Alliance.

Sir John would not be drawn on whether he will be contesting the seat, saying that it was too early to make a final decision.

Suzie Arruda, a director for the Swan Group, said: “The momentum hasn’t fallen away but Sir John hasn’t made a decision yet.

“We are getting calls not only from the constituency but across the whole island. We’re also getting calls from people expressing an interest in running as independent MPs.”

Asked for a reaction to Sir John’s announcement, both established parties gave diplomatic responses.

A statement from the Progressive Labour Party said: “The PLP is focused on rallying behind our hard working candidate senator Lindsay Simmons's work on the doorsteps of Constituency 10 Smith's North.”

Jarion Richardson, the Opposition leader, said: “We believe every Bermudian is key to a vibrant, successful democracy.

“Our candidate in the Constituency 10 by-election is Robert King. He is a man of outstanding character, demonstrated commitment to Bermuda’s wellbeing and experience with the deep problems facing today’s Bermudian.

"Robert is part of a team who rebuilt the OBA brick-by-brick over two years, and is on the doorstep every day. The quality of our candidate is clear, and does not require inflammatory or derogatory comments on other candidates."

Registered voters who wish to let Sir John know if he should stand as an independent candidate in the Smith’s North by-election can contact him on 504-3495 or 299-1781. Sir John can also be reached by e-mail at independentmp@sirjohn.bm and on social media

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