HAMILTON, Bermuda, Tuesday July 18, 2017 – A new government will be chosen in Bermuda today, following last minute pleas from the incumbent One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) and the opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) .
At press conferences ahead of today’s vote in which 46,669 citizens are registered to vote, the two sought to convince voters they should be the party to govern the British Overseas Territory.
The PLP says education remains its top priority, and promised there would be: a review of all school facilities to identify and correct any health and safety issue in the first 100 days of a PLP administration; an increase in scholarship funding, and implementation of a low-interest student rate programme to “further increase access to higher education”; a phase-out of middle schools and the creation of “signature schools”.
Opposition Leader David Burt said students had been forgotten under the OBA and frequent changes in education ministers had created inconsistencies and a lack of accountability.
“It is a baffling exercise to imagine what the One Bermuda Alliance had been thinking when they had been wilfully ignoring the needs of our children and our teachers,” he said, adding that Premier Michael Dunkley had disrespected teachers “who dared to stand up for their students, and their own health”.
Meantime, noting his party’s record on tourism and improving the economy, Premier Dunkley said it had “made progress in restoring jobs, opportunity and hope, but we still have a ways to go”, as he asked voters to give the OBA another term in office to continue its “broad programme to progress Bermudian life”.
“Our mission is to extend the recovery and renewal into every household. Now, Burt and his colleagues have been trying to convince you that the choice in this election is between them and us, but the real choice is actually much simpler and much more important: Will Bermuda move forward or back?” he asked.
In an opinion poll published by the Royal Gazette newspaper over the weekend, half of the respondents said they would vote for the OBA, 39 per cent preferred the PLP, two per cent would vote for one of the five independent candidates, six per cent were undecided; and three per cent refused to say who they would vote for.
It indicated that Dunkley remains the most popular of the party leaders, with an increase in approval rating from 37 to 44 percent. Burt has an approval rating of 29 per cent, which is unchanged from the last poll in May.
Polls open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.