Log In

Reset Password

OBA renews calls for Caricom referendum

Wanting to make a difference: Maurice Foley, the OBA candidate for St. David’s (Photograph supplied)

A decision on whether Bermuda is to become a full member of the Caribbean Community should be settled by a referendum, according to a One Bermuda Alliance election candidate.

Maurice Foley, the Opposition candidate for Constituency 3 — St David’s — said that the benefits and disadvantages of joining the body were unclear but that voters should have a say on the issue.

The Government announced plans for the island to sign up for full membership of the organisation in its Throne Speech last November.

Bermuda at present has associate membership in the 15-member bloc, but is pressing for full membership.

The Government has received a Letter of Entrustment from Britain granting it permission to open negotiations with Caricom on the issue.

David Burt has given assurances that there will be full public consultation before any decision is made.

The Premier has not said if a referendum will be held.

Last night, Mr Foley reiterated OBA calls for a vote.

He said: “Full membership of Caricom should be decided by a referendum.

“Ultimately, whether full membership is good or bad depends on the country’s goals, priorities, and capacity to engage effectively within the regional framework."

Mr Foley, an entrepreneur who was born and raised in St David’s, was confirmed as the OBA’s candidate for the constituency last week.

He told The Royal Gazette that he decided to enter politics “to contribute to the greater good”.

Mr Foley, 54, said: “It's about me wanting to contribute to shaping the direction of the community and making a positive impact on the lives of others.

“The opportunity to represent our community is a privilege and an honour that I do not take lightly. I am committed to working tirelessly on behalf of our constituents and I believe that together we can create positive change and build a better future for all.

“Politics offers a platform to address pressing issues, advocate for meaningful change and leave a lasting legacy of progress and improvement.

“With dedication, resilience, and a commitment to integrity, we can turn the perceived "poisoned chalice" of politics into a vessel for positive transformation and advancement for our community.

“I have chosen to pursue a career in politics despite the sacrifices because I want to make a difference, be an advocate for change, address important issues and represent the interests of my constituents.

“Also, serving as an MP is a fundamental aspect of democratic governance and I see it as a privilege and an honour to represent my constituents and contribute to the democratic process.”

The seat is held by Government backbencher Lovitta Foggo, who defeated the OBA’s Edwin Cannonier by 663 votes to 125 at the last General Election in October 2020.

Mr Foley said that the concerns of constituents in the East End were varied and needed “focused attention and action".

He said: “Some of the key issues that have been raised include infrastructure, economic development, environmental conservation, social services and community development.

“Regarding the perceived neglect of the East End by the Government over the past 25 years, it's essential to acknowledge the valid concerns of constituents who feel their needs have not been adequately addressed.

“As a candidate committed to serving the interests of St David's, I am determined to change this narrative and advocate for meaningful solutions to the challenges facing our community.

“To address the issues of neglect and bring about positive change, several key steps need to be taken: engagement and advocacy; collaboration and partnerships; investment in infrastructure and services; environmental stewardship; and effective representation.

“While the challenges facing the East End are significant, I am confident that with determination, collaboration and effective leadership, we can bring about positive change and build a brighter future for St David's.

“Together, let's work towards a stronger, more vibrant community, where all residents can thrive.”

Mr Foley said he was “dedicated to being a strong voice for the people of St David’s, listening to their concerns and representing their interests with integrity and transparency”.

“I am well equipped to tackle the complex issues facing our community and to work tirelessly to ensure a brighter future for all.”

Questioned about the performance of Mr Burt as Premier, Mr Foley was diplomatic.

He said: “I believe it's important to focus on substantive issues and constructive dialogue rather than engaging in personal attacks or character judgments.

“While there may be policy disagreements with Premier David Burt, I prefer to focus on discussing the merits of specific policies and approaches rather than questioning an individual's integrity.

“It's essential to maintain a respectful and civil discourse in our political discussions and I am committed to upholding these principles throughout my campaign.”

• Comments are closed on political content from now to after next month’s Smith’s North by-election to stem the flow of purposefully inflammatory and litigious comments during the election cycle. Users who introduce extreme partisan comments into other news content will be banned