24 Hr Poll: Should Party Politics End In Bermuda?

January 11, 2016

[Updated] The question of whether you would you like to see an end to party politics in Bermuda is the topic of this week’s 24 hour poll, with readers asked to cast a vote on their preference.

Bermuda’s political system operates with party politics and, while many countries and territories have a similar system, not all do.

For example, the Falklands Islands — which is also a British Overseas Territory like Bermuda however has a far smaller population than us — does not have political parties.

The Falklands official government website describes the system by saying: “All members are elected as independents, as there are no political parties. There is no formal opposition.”

Online Voting TC see end to party politics Bermuda Jan 11 2016 2

According to the London School of Economics U.S Centre, “Advocates of nonpartisan elections argue that they allow the officeholder to be accountable to the people, and not to the political party responsible for nominating him/her to the office.

“On the flip side, opponents of nonpartisan elections counter that providing the partisan affiliation of the candidates provides an important informational cue to the voters, and depriving voters of this information is making it more difficult for them to participate and participate meaningfully in elections.”

The Bermuda Parliament website describes our system by saying, “The Bermuda Legislature is a bicameral legislature based on the Westminster system. Bermuda’s Parliament, has two chambers: the House of Assembly [the ‘Lower House' of elected members] and the Senate [the ‘Upper House’ of appointed members].

“This system relies heavily upon the existence of organised political parties, each laying policies before the electorate for approval.

“The party that wins the most seats at a general election, or who has the support of a majority of members in the House of Assembly, forms the Government. In accordance with the Bermuda Constitution, the leader of the majority party is asked by the Governor to form a Government [i.e. a Cabinet].”

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Would you like to see an end to party politics in Bermuda?

  • Yes (74%, 1,389 Votes)
  • No (22%, 407 Votes)
  • None Of The Above (4%, 90 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,880

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The poll — which is completely unscientific and should be taken as such — will close in 24 hours, as of 9am on Tuesday, and we will then post the results.

The question above was suggested by a reader, and if would like to suggest a question for next week’s poll please feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email!

Update Jan 5, 9.25am: The poll has closed, and the results are below:

Online Voting Results TC Should Party Politics End Bermuda Jan 12 2015 4

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Comments (44)

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  1. Jus' Askin' says:

    So Sick and Tired of These Parties

    • Look says:

      If you look at places where there is no party politics, they are either dictatorships or they are places that few care about (e.g. Falklands and Guernsey). If you also look at Falklands and Guernsey they are very one-dimensional places….and also their legislatures don’t actually get much work done. Guernsey for example delegates out key decision making to NON-elected committees. AND THEREIN IS THE PROBLEM. When you have no party politics, you have either dictatorship, or (on the flip side) you have VERY weak, anemic “leadership”. News flash…if you cannot stand listening to political debate, then turn the channel. Political debate is NORMAL. What is NOT normal is a group of people who “get along” because there are always options to debate, and also (this is critical) stupid people need to be called out when they say or do stupid things. Lastly, if ANYONE honestly believes that in those places (like Guernsey and Falklands) don’t have an undercurrent of party politics, the I have some cheap land to sell you in Florida. Pushing aside political parties is pushing aside REALITY….and it also short-changes the voters as they often don’t know where a person is coming from if they are not affiliated with anyone. Hey, should I vote for “whomever” cuz they look cute, or they are a friend of a friend, or they support the SPCA? I mean, when you have political parties, you have PLATFORMS and you have a RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT OR FAILURE. Voters needs to know WHO STANDS FOR WHAT, and they need to know if a candidate stands for a platform which meets their interest, and the interests of future generations. Look Bermuda….grow up and get involved with the national debate. Don’t be a bunch of pansies and think all will be fine if political parties are abolished…because it won’t.

      • True Lies says:

        Everything you said about Falklands and Guernsey is also true of Bermuda!

        “What is NOT normal is a group of people who “get along” because there are always options to debate, and also (this is critical) stupid people need to be called out when they say or do stupid things”

        Getting along is not normal? Options to debate is a bad thing? Also not sure what stupid people saying stupid things has to do with any of it.

  2. tiny winey says:

    Bermuda is to small for party politics. one man one vote.

  3. San George says:

    What we do need are national elections instead of these little constituencies having so much power. National elections would be a true referendum on an individual and their position on important topics. Politicians will have to have national appeal.

    • hmmm says:

      Explain further…how would we vote under your idea?

      • Not Exactly says:

        One way to make party politics have “national” candidates is that each party publishes a list of candidates from 1 -36 (or however many number of seats). You vote one party of the other and it does not matter where you live, your vote is applied equally. If party A gets 66% of the vote then the top 24 candidates from their list are voted in.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Even worse party politics, cause then you have no say in who you wan to represent you, effective the party then gets to decide who from their list becomes MP’s. Cronyism would run even more rampant

        • Look says:

          @Not Exactly…so if a group fueled by hate and division were to get 10% of the vote, you honestly believe giving them 3 seats in the HoA would be beneficial? YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!! Proportional representation would be a death nail to Bermuda.

  4. nothing up my sleeve says:

    Especially since i’ve never been invited to one of these parties! LOL

  5. Coffee says:

    Politics makes strange and familiar bedfellows . Let’s do a critical study of politics in Bermuda BEFORE party politics . I think the answer lay there in our history .

  6. bluebird says:

    YES Bermuda did very well before party politics,”WE DID NOT OWE ANY MONEY” We paid for things as we had the money.
    But that is so old fashioned today as everyone has to owe everyone money and then have to pay interest on it.
    Imagine today we are paying just under $500,000.00 a day in interest.
    In the old days all that money would have gone towards doing stuff, you know like fixing the roads and education and street lights etc etc etc.
    Instead we have become “SLAVES” again,economic slaves.

  7. Comfortably numb says:

    A population of circa 65,000 does not need 30+ MP’s and a gaggle of senators to run it. Just as we should have three post offices maximum, one east, one west and one central, particularly as mail volume has decreased substantially since the emergence of email/ courier firms.Name me a town of 65,000 that has more than one post office?A management group of 4 or 5 could run the country saving millions of dollars annually. I would say less than 5% of politicians are hard working, the rest are in it for themselves. I’ve lived in the same house for 18 years and have never had a visit from my MP, not even before elections. the OBA should be elected again at the next election but only because they are the lesser of two evils (Sage Commission anyone?). Sad isn’t it?

    • lowe says:

      They are equally evil. I’m not a fan of party politics.

  8. bluebird says:

    You do realize that if you do not have political parties all your stuff will be taken away,i mean everything.
    It will be pay as you go,It will be No ticky No washy.
    People will vote for either party that they “THINK” will give them FREE STUFF.And nothing is FREE,as they have to take it from someone else to give it to you.

  9. bluebird says:

    @ Comfortable numb,
    Bye,stop your nonsense as you are being FAR TO LOGICAL.
    You mean all those Blood-Suckers would have to work,what a radical idea.

  10. Triangle Drifter says:

    I’d love to see a Government of nothing but independents elected by some form of proportional representation & doing away with constituencys.

    Top 36, or whatever number, are in. From there they will have to sort out for themselves who will be Minister of what but each & every one of them will have to serve doing something. No more sitting on the back bench doing nothing.

    Fixed term elections. Maybe even set number of times one can serve without a break. Don’t want to see career politicians.

  11. Jonathan Land Evans says:

    Party politics have been a slow-motion train-wreck for Bermuda. Independent MPs (as we used to have, until the 1960s) would be far better. Sadly, our 1968 Constitution institutionalises this rancorous, antagonistic, debilitating, frequently embarrassing party system, with its dumbing-down of the electorate. The best thing Britain could do for us would be to suspend Parliament for a few years and appoint a non-partisan, technocratic administration to run things for a while (and then, I suppose, hand it back to the ‘professional’ politicians to mess things up again…!).

  12. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    Frankly, bit of a pointless poll, no matter what system you have, you are going to end up with some form of ‘party’ politics. Whether everyone is independent or party, the nature of the game will result in elected officials aligning, back room dealings, favour playing… all for power and getting what they want. It isn’t the party politics that has made our political environment so devisive, it is the people, and they would be there with or without party politics.

  13. biggadon says:

    No matter what its called PARTY, TEAM, GROUP, SQUAD….It will alway 2 sides in bermuda and thats the REALITY unfortunately !

    • Look says:

      Correct. Party politics IS reality politics. That’s why we went that way.

  14. Mike says:

    At it’s worst, you spend half your life benefiting because your party is in Government and half your life not benefiting when the other lot are in Govt.

    Crazy way for 50,000 people to live.

  15. craig looby says:

    the bermuda governing council face book group has been calling for the end of party politics since 2012.

  16. ALVIN WILLIAMS says:

    One of the biggest myths about Bermuda’s political development is that Bermuda was better off when we had a parliament made up of independents; when in fact we had a cartel of like minded interests who for years presided over a undemocratic system that barred the participation of the majority of Bermuda’s people and blocked the progressive social movement of the country.
    Even if we had a parliament that was run by independents; it is highly unlikely that there would be total agreement on every issue and we would soon have a government that would be in fact a one party state with no political opposition. Political opposition would still exist even if it were driven underground which is bound to destabilize the country in the long run. it is far better to have differing opinions on how to govern a country represented in a democratic system with organize political parties or representative political groups.

    • anydeeng says:

      You just described what we are dealing with right now… lol

    • Look says:

      Well said Alvin. If people think it’s bad having political parties, you can be DAMN SURE it would be worse under “independents”. Bottom line?…the term “independents” is a huge misnomer. Behind closed doors, like minds will come together and form groups, BUT the voters will never be aware of all this.

  17. Pondering says:

    what was the result of the same sex marriage 24 hour poll?

  18. GAMEOVER says:

    Get rid of the parties and just elect qualified individuals once voted in by the public.

  19. Tom Cooke says:

    Bermuda is to ploirised to have ” just a management team”…

  20. Sandman says:

    The problem is not political parties, but an electoral system which does not offer enough accountability.

    First Past the Post, combined with sectarian racial dynamics, leads to a polarised two party system where voters are reluctant to switch parties to hold politicians to account.

    White / mixed race voters perceive the PLP as hostile to them, so are very reluctant to vote for them. Conversely, some black voters are concerned about being labelled as race traitors or ‘uncle toms’ if they show public support for the OBA. The result is a dysfunctional system where people feel like they have to continue supporting a party despite its flaws due to lack of choice.

    Parties themselves are okay. A party is a kind of branding system so that you kind of know what a politician stands for, and enables people with common views to organise to support each other.

    I believe Bermuda would be better served with a proportional voting system which can accommodate more than two parties, combined with increasing the number of MPs to reduce the influence of bad apples and defections for personal gain.

    • David Tavares says:

      Agree with a proportional voting system; not convinced a two party system is good for Bermuda; and you don’t see white voters joining or supporting unions.

      We need a better trade-off system. One that will minimize the tax payers burden while maximizing benefits to all the people of Bermuda, and not for special interest connected to a two party system of politicians.

  21. Betty Boop says:

    Maybe what there should be is the best out of the two to bring this island back into shape. So no parties fighting each other, just one party for all of us.

  22. jeremy deacon says:

    I wonder if the question/s could have been: Should we do away with the Westminster system in Bermuda, oe 2. Should we abandon the first past the post system and have proportional representation instead?

  23. Didn’t the UK Say no more constitutional changes.

  24. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    You all got what you voted for, a Genie in a bottle! now make three wishes.

    Try, Peace; Hope ; Harmony ,or Money; Money; Money.

  25. Triangle Drifter says:

    80% fed up with party politics. Who would have thought?

    There are companys far bigger than Bermuda & they are run by a Board of Directors (Ministers if you will) elected by the shareholders (voters).

    Below these Directors or various division heads & managers who answer to them & are accountable all the way along the line. If anyone in this chain, from the CEO on down does not perform they get fired.

    Hmmmmm, what is so different here at Bermuda Inc.?

    Why could we not run ourselves more like a corporation. Why do we have so many doing so little?

  26. gunsmoke says:

    Really tired of The Opposition.

  27. anydeeng says:

    One deeng…

    As long as our political structure is based on a more successful political example like some european democracies i think as a country well be alright.

    Want bermuda to modernize and be a great country?
    1 Get rid of red tape that works against the small bda entrepreneurs.
    2 Grow a pair and decriminalize a plant thats having people locked up faster than our population growth rate.
    3 Restructure our highly corrupt and complacent(BOTH PARTIES) party system.
    4 Stop being so damn afraid and fearful of change and take pride in creating your own future as an independant nation. (In time/steps obviously)

  28. anydeeng says:

    Oh jeez i almost forgot…

    We cant seriously set up a new, modern, useful political structure wothout first becoming independant.

    Also the restructuring of our banking is important as well. As long as we borrow money that doesnt exist abd pay interest on it our debt will ALWAYS grow as this is an exponential equation for the enslavement of the general population of ANY country.

    Its really not rocket science bermuda… you just have to grow some balls!

  29. Whatever…but whomever should be from overseas…maybe then they’ll listen and do as we tell them…everyone we get so far tells us what is best for us from lofty perch…

  30. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Sir Henry Tucker , a true statesman, formed the United Bermuda Party, opening the doors to the best of every one regardless of Bermudian origin provided that the individual possessed unquestionable integrity and well qualified for the positions.

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