Independent Jonathan Starling To Run In C#20

November 14, 2012

Jonathan Starling has announced that he will run as an Independent candidate in C#20 Pembroke South West in the upcoming General Election.

The 32-year-old has Master’s degrees in Ecological Economics and Urban and Regional Planning, and is well known in the online community through his Catch-A-Fire blog, which he has maintained since 2007.

Mr Starling said: “Over the last year and a half I have been watching the political discourse in Bermuda, and, while there are good ideas and candidates, I kept feeling that a number of key issues were being ignored and that neither the PLP or the OBA represented my beliefs or were discussing the issues that I feel are important for Bermuda.

“As an Independent candidate I am able to bring these issues to the forefront. The ideas that I represent, that I have included in my platform, are ideas that I think are good – good for Bermuda and good for Constituency 20.

“As an Independent I am free to voice my opinion and vote freely on all issues. My decisions will be based on what I think are best for the country and my constituents, not what is best for a political party or its special interests. Ultimately I will be answerable to my constituents, not a party hierarchy.”

Some of Mr Starling’s platform highlights include:

  • Decriminalise personal possession of marijuana up to one ounce
  • Make medicinal marijuana available by prescription
  • Tax junk food to subsidise healthy food
  • Institute a minimum living wage
  • Extend the school day to 5pm
  • Fixed term elections, every five years, on the last Saturday of June
  • Reduce the age at which one is able to vote and run for Parliament to 16 years
  • Require MPs who switch from one Party to another to contest a bye-election within 6 months
  • Review the justice system with an intention of making restorative justice central
  • Expand the City limits to allow the more cohesive planning of the urban area

Mr Starling will be running in C#20 Pembroke South West, which is presently held by the OBA’s Louise Jackson. Mrs Jackson is retiring and the OBA has not formally announced her replacement, while the PLP has confirmed that Marcus Jones will stand for them in C#20.

The constituency saw  the largest margin of victory in the 2007 General Election, with Mrs Jackson [under the UBP] earning 83% [711-145] of the vote vs the PLP’s Laverne Furbert. In the 2003 General Election, Mrs Jackson won with 81.83% of the vote against Neville Darrell.

Explaining why he choose #C20 — traditionally seen as a stronghold for the Opposition — Mr Starling said: “Constituency 20 is where I am currently based, and I feel that my skills and experience can be best used to deal with the issues that affect Constituency 20, especially as it contains the City of Hamilton.”

The 2012 election looks to have more Independent candidates than recent years; the 2007 election saw two Independents [Harold Darrell & Roger Russell], while one Independent [Stuart Hayward] contested the 2003 election. The last Independent to win a seat was Mr Hayward in the 1989 election.

To date seven Independent candidates have signaled their intent to run this year: Kim Swan in C#2 St. George’s West, David Tavares in C#8 Smiths South, Phil Perinchief in C#18 Pembroke West Central, Erwin Adderley in C#19 Pembroke West, Tillman Darrell in C#21 Pembroke South East, Charles Swan in C#31 Southampton West Central and Mr Starling in C#20.

You can visit Mr Starling’s website here, his Facebook page here, and read more info below [PDF here]:

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Comments (66)

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  1. UK Dependent Territory Citizen says:


    i have never heard of you but will come and help you just or your stance on weed, you have a spine and deserve some support, please dont drop out of the race or join one of he othr parties if you win the seat, even if they promise you a Ministry

    • LOL (original TM*) says:

      Well he was a PLP member at one point, he has taken some points from both party platforms and seem to be a medium between the two. I will reserve judgement on this for now. Good luck to you Jonathan. Can you eleborate why this one:

      ” Reduce the age at which one is able to vote and run for Parliament to 16 years ”


    • snakes says:

      They will promise you a ministry of your choice and give you Louise seat if you join them.

  2. Vote for Me says:

    Mr. Starling
    Your blog posts seem logical and rational but your selection to run in C20 seems both illogial and irrational.

    Perhaos you should give more thougth and offer yourself to one of the other parties. At a minimum, you should consider offering yourself in a marginal where you can make a difference.

  3. Rick Rock says:

    Interesting that a person well used to living and studying abroad for the last few years has not mentioned the idea of rectifying the disenfranchisement of students. If he wins will he move back and live here?

    Also, good to see he has adopted the OBA’s idea of longer school days.

    • J says:

      You have obviously missed his sixth point… if the election is held on the same day every year in June, you can make arrangements to vote, should you be in school.

      • J Starling says:

        Thank you J, you are correct, that is my position indeed!

        For the sake of clarification, I’ve added this topic to the FAQ section on my website:

        • Boom Bye Bye says:

          Mr. Starling you should also consider raising the drinking age to 21yrs old. These children drink too much at a very early age. This is part of their issues. They can drink before they are legally an adult it dont make sense.

          • J Starling says:

            I admit I had not considered this option, but I will look into it, thank you.

            On the issue of alcohol though, two platform positions of mine are:

            Reduce the blood-alcohol limit from 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood to 20 milligrams per 100 millilitres for 16-18 year olds, and to 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres for all other drivers.

            Institute a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

            These, and other policies, can be found here

            • Zombie Apocalypse says:

              So, if you win, will you move back and live here?

              • J Starling says:

                Good question.

                The nature of my studies was such that my presence in Scotland was required for most of this year. This is no longer the case, and I am able to continue the rest of my research in Bermuda from now on.

                While I will have to visit Scotland occasionally for technical and other reasons, I will do this only when parliament is not in session.

                I do not believe that my research will in any way impede my ability to be an independent voice for Bermuda in parliament, or to give my constituents the attention they deserve. If anything I believe my research will complement and enhance my duties to my constituents.

                • Zombie Apocalypse says:

                  Ah. So you’re unemployed over there and you’re looking for a job as an MP over here. Is that it?

            • martin says:

              dumb a__ you are an idiot have you not lived abroad or what sector is paying to divert votes you are an idiot ask?

          • BILL says:

            boom bye bye. go back to america you Pr*CK.

            in the civilized world, people can drink when they’re 18. In america….well, they’re just not civilized.

  4. Hmmm says:

    5pm school for kids. The traffic would be an absolute nightmare…some people don’t think.

    • Boom Bye Bye says:

      Then how about letting us hard working people get off at 4pm? Wouldn’t it make sense for parents to finish work before children finish school and not the other way around?

    • J Starling says:

      You make a good point. I have attempted to answer your concerns on my site:

      Ultimately, I believe that we should be focusing on what is best for our children and society as a whole, rather than the risk of increased traffic congestion.

      • Huh? says:

        Traffic congestion is not a risk it is a current reality that would be exacerbated by your proposal.

    • Real Talk (original) says:

      [sarcasm] Yes, let’s forget about all those unsupervised kids who are home alone for a few hours while parents are still at work. Or the fact that our kids need all the extra hours of school they can get. How ’bout that pesky traffic!!![/sarcasm]

  5. Kim Smith says:

    I am extremely grateful to all those independents who are putting themselves forward to give the voters of this country some options, and to serve to expand our understanding of the many issues that can be addressed to move us forward, without the limitations of partisanship that is typical of the usual offering.

    • Ayisha says:


      • snakes says:

        bull crap – a vote for an independent candidate is a vote for independency from party bull crap politricks

  6. Hmmm says:

    5pm school for kids. The traffic would be an absolute nightmare…some people don’t think.
    The tax on junk food to subsidise healthy food. The cost of administration, collection and distribution would likely outweigh the consumers savings. Who defines what is healthy! This is net net ging to be punitive to the conumer.

    • i gotta be me says:

      Really? I think it would be simple to tax junk food. It is taxed by Customs as soon as it enters the country… just like everything else. It would not be a “point of sale tax”.

    • Free Thinker says:

      Science has already define what is healthy and what is not. You may not follow such trivial facts but it’s true, junk foods or highly processed foods are bad for your health and by extension, bad for the economy. The high cost to treat these diabetics, and people with other life style aliments, are the reason why our heath care cost are through the roof. You people need to think logically for once, and stop jumping on the sound-bite band wagon. Consumers are already punishing themselves, and us who have to pay increased heath care cost. It’s just common sense, to reveres the roles, make junk more expensive and make good food less expensive.

      I totally understand why you all do it though, you all find it easier just to repeat sound-bites, rather than do your own research and find the facts. Watching FOX and listening to Sarah Palin is not food for thought, trust me, there is actually a fact base world out there.

      5PM school days makes a lot on scene. I would imagine, that school will be out at the usual time, at which point, the parents who are fortunate enough, to be Stay at home Moms, will still have the option to pick up their children at that time and the parents who leave work at 5:00 have the convenience, of picking up their children after work. Not to mention the added benefit of not having children going home, to an empty house.

      • LOL (original TM*) says:

        Would also be a plus for the kids as there is some talk about bring sports to the schools that could be a step in the direction for the Olympics. Oh and traffic is already jacked up at 5 pm so this is the norm anyway I don’t see any additional congestion as a result of this. Also making junk food pay for healthy food I think this should be the norm ;) . It’s the evolved form of thinking for Zane as I don’t think he mentioned where the tax money would go with his tax idea at least Jonathan’s will do something use full like reduce food prices (for the healthy stuff) and in the long run has a good chance to improve the health of the island and may (I repeat MAY) bring down health costs. I knew Jonathan would be an asset to the country. Now if only I could get another guy I know to run (mentioned him earlier)………


      • Hmmm says:

        Smoking was good for you at one time acording to science.

  7. M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

    I love you man … Stay true to yourself and your beliefs .

  8. swinginfromchandoliers! says:

    Sounds much like electioneering to me—-when is someone going to have the b@lls to legalise marijuana! make school education relevant,the school day is already extended with extracurricular activities,and after school programmes,we need to have curriculums that make sense to the Bermua infrastructure and qualify them upon leaving schoolwith certification that takes them to the workforce! RAPARATIONS needs to take place because of all the false education that we have been fed over the years especially Black people! who has the b@lls to do the right thing and actually secure jobs for Bermudians by sending unnecessary blue colour workers back home replacing them with our own people!who can accomplish a nationalized health plan that actually works for all Bermudians and is not vetted out to private companies! anyb@lls anyone!

    • Tommy Chong says:

      You need to read what the definition is of legalize & decriminalize is since you obviously have no idea of the difference.

      As for reparations for “black people” what about all who have been imprisoned for a 1930s prohibition law that is still in effect designed to keep minorities in the western world from modern progression & assimilation into society.

      You are playing a tug of war with yourself & don’t even know it but it’s okay since after years of being fed erroneousness propaganda its hard to get past this mentality.

      • US Observer in Pink Sand says:

        Now I can appreciate that Tommy…knowledge is POWER.

  9. Fedor Emelianenko says:

    @Hmmm – I’ll tell you what’s a nighmare. Having to deal with this ever increasing number of under-educated ferral youth walking around. Give me traffic over ignorance any day. What an ignoramus. I bet you are also ok with the dismal gcse exam results (yet to be released by gov’t)…..don’t bother responding, I have no time for your ignorance today.

  10. Justin says:

    For someone who couldn’t get enough on posting about racial inequalities in Bermuda, you’ve never mentioned it once in your platform. Care to elaborate? I guess since you quit being a member of the PLP it’s no longer an issue?

  11. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    “Restorative Justice”? Isn’t that where the child has to meet the paedophile and reassure the offender that he has been forgiven?

    • Union Member says:

      No it’s not. Please stop trying to take away from a very proven approach to justice. Instead of focusing on penalization it looks to identify the needs of the victim and SEPARATELY the crime of the offender and how it impacts the individuals, their families etc and it seeks root cause so that re-offense is less likely to occur. It’s not a lock them up and throw away the key approach, which is what we do now. Our current justice system often leaves victims to heal on their own and if not done right the victims themselves may never function right or become criminals themselves thus they become a burden on their families and society. Also prisoners who are not made to understand the magnitude of their crimes and become worse criminals behind bars and when released are a greater harm to society and re-offense is very likely. Restorative justice makes sense and has proven positive results. It takes strong leadership from the powers at be and requires various government and non government agencies to work together–something BDA is lacking right now.

      • Zombie Apocalypse says:

        We do not “lock them up and throw away the key”. We lock them up for a very short token amount of time and then let them out the first chance the parole board gets. You think the criminals give a darn about their victims?

        Research suggests there is little in the way of any change in recidivism as a result of the approach. It certainly has never been found to have any beneficial affect on overall crime rates. There are no “proven positive results”.

        The ONLY potential benefit of the system is if it benefits the victim of the crime. That might be worth investigating.

        • Union Member says:

          Research shows that their are two critical factors that helps to lower recidivism if the person is not an addict. Both are outside of the restorative justice realm—meaningful employment and proper housing. Restorative justice seeks to help the criminal understand the path tha led to the crime. This helps reduce re-offense however the critical factors must be in place.

  12. Sandgrownan says:

    Way to go to give the PLP a fighting chance by diluting the vote. We need rid ofthe PLP.
    Them we can look at your platform.

    I don’t want to live in The People’s Republic of Pembroke South West.

  13. navin johnson says:

    Fedor one of the reasons we have so many uneducated youth walking around today is the use of Marijuana…..having that as the first thing on the agenda would disqualify any serious candidate….

    • Free Thinker says:

      The reason we have so many uneducated youths are a result of an education system that has failed our them. The smoking of weed, would be categorized, as is just a symptom of a greater problem. This is assuming, that there is something wrong with smoking weed. Because the popular belief is that something is inherently wrong with someone smoking weed, doesn’t make it factual. You are buying into a brainwashing and propaganda machinery, that controls almost everything you think you know to be true.

      In order to get a full understanding of a particular subject, whether it be weed or anything else, for that sake. You have to do quite a bit of research, and not just the garbage that is spilled from North America, and regurgitated by the politicians. You need to dig deep and look at the other jurisdiction for examples and listen to what other scientist have to say about the subject. You basically have to research, with an opened mind, you have to free your mind from any preconceived notion you may have. Only then, will you get the facts. Again, that’s to do with anything, including weed.

    • Tommy Chong says:

      The youth walking around today without an education are more often drunk then high on herb. I’ve seen them with their paper bag rapped bottles & can smell it coming out of their pores as they drag past me. Though I still wouldn’t blame their lack of education on alcohol since the real problem is that there are many parents who apparently don’t want to be parents. If a parent doesn’t discipline their child for skipping school & going out all hours of the day they will eventually start using substances too early for their young brains to cope with it. Then there are the councilors or psychiatrist who will always suggest or prescribe addictive mind altering drugs as an easy solution for parents & teachers dealing with kids with behavioral problems. Cannabis has been used for decades in Bermuda & world wide & its only been in the past decade that our education system has decline so your point has no foundation.

      • Free Thinker says:

        You are missing the big picture here, the question is, are the parents themselves educated and if not, why?. nothing happens in a vacuum, parents that are themselves uneducated or undereducated parents, are more likely to have off springs, following in that same cycle. the children not being educated is just a symptom of a bigger problem. all too often, people are too content with just recognizing the symptom and not the problem.

        The key is, whenever you see a problem, ask yourself, why is this so. The more questions you ask, the more answers you will get, but I guess that takes too much effort. It’s way too easy to blame the sniffles on your nose and not try to find out, why your nose has the sniffles.

    • Union Member says:

      as Tommy stated earlier, decriminalization is NOT legalization. Every young person who makes a mistake and is caught with personal use is automatically put on the stop list and given a criminal record that impacts their opportunity to study in the US get a professional job. Realize for the hundreds of children that are exposed to weed by their parents, they are in a generational cycle that thwarts them to use marijuana more than 8 times then those who have not been exposed? Our drug culture cannot be ignored any longer it is impacting our society, our economy and our children. Let’s see the specifics of Mr. Starling’s platform and see what other options he puts forth besides a criminal record.

  14. Rhonda says:

    We have hell getting teachers to cover early morning drop off…not that I disagree with a longer school day, and working year round, with teachers having their prerequisite vacation time…

    • Tommy Chong says:

      Teachers have a prerequisite vacation time?

      I wish this was so then I wouldn’t have to rush to find a camp or take an impromptu day off because a note about some out of the blue day off gets sent home a week before the day.

      • Smiling Teacher says:

        With BDA ranking 29th out of OECD (developed) countries in tertiary education. With an economy that thrives on IB we need to be producing kids that go to college and get a 4 year degree! Something needs to be done to ensure our children our learning more. I didn’t see education on either political platform…way to go Johnny

        • Hmmm says:

          Erm, liar …Education is certainly on the OBA plan, I just read it.

    • Family Man says:

      As with all civil servants, its all about the vacation time.

      And when you run out of vacation time, there’s always sick leave.

      • M.P.Mountbatten JP says:

        Funny thing happened this morning . There were two civil servants picking up trash this morning in the pouring rain . They were riding on the back of this filthy older trash truck .What amazed me though is that one of these men took the time out to walk the three primary school children safely across the road . I have a new found respect for the quality people that work to keep you and me safe .

  15. hmm says:

    yesss jonathan!

  16. swing voter says:

    Starling you’ve really shown yur azz this time. We know you’re not serious since you’ve chosen to run in ‘la la’ land. Why not run in a constituancy that has at least 65% voters that support weed smokers if you really want to be taken seriously.

  17. Triangle Drifter says:

    I touch base with his blog from time to time. He seems to have his head screwed on tighter than many of the MPs currently warming seats & his views seem to make sense other than lowering the voting age to 16. Heck, most early 20s don’t have much interest in politics. A 16 year old is more concerned about the bike he rides.

    Nice to see some independents running but to run in a safe seat for one party or another….whats the point?

  18. S Brown says:

    All the best Jonny Star!!!

    I can respect a person who makes the decision to create their own path instead of following others who they feel are not going into the right direction.

    You could have been like the many who frequent blogs and msg boards who complain about everyone and everything and do absolutely nothing.

    Way to go to making your voice heard and wanting to represent the people in that constituency.

    All the best man!

  19. Real Talk (original) says:

    Go Jonny Go!

    Some interesting ideas that warrant a second look indeed.

  20. Allan says:

    It would be great to see more independents in parliament, we the people would have more power in what goes on in the house.

  21. Bermudianworldcitizen says:

    Jonathen, much support, much respect from a large swath of free thinkers whom are beyond party poltics and our conservative lens as Bermudians. I wish you the best, let us know if you need any help and how.

  22. Change is good says:

    I guess Minister’s taking a drug test is out of the question.

  23. dinosaurmedia says:

    A politician that makes sense?!!!? Villify him! Burn him at the stake!!

    this cannot be allowed to continue….this…rational though process!

  24. LMAO says:

    I love this guy. I’m looking an apartment in C20 so I can vote for you.