Column: Democracy Is Young, Challenges Real

September 30, 2020

[Opinion column written by FDM candidate Cheryl Packwood]

Vote!  Our Democracy Is Young And Our Challenges Are Real

October 1st is the day.  This is the time.  This is when you and I as fellow Bermudians with equal rights get to proclaim that “We Matter.”

Sometimes it seems so hard to believe that our “one little vote” will make a difference, but each one does.  In the end, it is not a “little vote;” it is a declaration of ownership.  Bermuda is yours as much as it is our representatives.  You are exercising your absolute right and obligation to contribute to your community and to our nation.  In some areas, the difference between victory and defeat can and will be a matter of a few votes.  This illustrates how each of us can make a difference and how we are small enough as a community to hold our elected representatives accountable.

Accountability is the key.  I have had the honor and privilege of talking with so many neighbors and new friends while canvassing.  Everyone who shared their thoughts spoke eloquently and passionately.  Each person cares deeply about our current situation.  Many of you are hurting right now.  Many have been hurting for a long time.  And, it hurts me when someone says they don’t believe their vote matters because “they are all crooked.”  That statement means that all of us have failed each other.  We have failed to vote in the right people — and to vote them out if they betray the public good.

A true public servant is not crooked, however.  Most elected representatives mean well. But, she or he may become conflicted, however, or may confuse their priorities.  That is where you and I have to help them stay on the righteous and sensible paths by voting.  That is why you and I need to embrace opportunities to bring new ideas and energy into government.  That is why a movement – not a party – like the FREE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT is such an important option for you and me.  Supporting new candidates forces everyone to straighten up and fly right, and it ensures that honesty and integrity are not discarded when folks get comfortable in their positions.

Do you know that the first election where all adults could vote did not take place until 22 May 1968?  Up until then only property owners had voted on our Island.  They had total say over what happened to all of us — men and women, black and white, rich and poor, foreign guests and local residents.  Bermuda has only had true democracy for just over 52 years.  We are better off as a nation because of that change.  Yet, democracy requires care and nourishment and participation. That is why we keep on working to ensure that our institutions act ethically and treat everyone fairly while listening to everyone equally.  Voting shows that we care enough to participate.  Your vote is part of that essential nourishment.

So, on Thursday, 1 October 2020, even if you do not yet know for whom you want to vote, take that long or short walk over to your polling station, have that last talk, and then go in there and place your mark next to the person you think has the best ideas, the energy, the integrity and the compassion to represent you and our community well.  Our ancestors are watching what we do and how we choose to protect our children’s futures and their children’s futures.  Our parents, grandparents, mothers and aunties fought so that we all could vote, so that we all would have a say.  Take those few precious moments and vote for who will fight for you and for all of us.

My name is Cheryl Packwood, a daughter of Bermuda.  I would appreciate an opportunity to show that my years of national and international work can serve you and our children.  I want to help build the new, sensible and sustainable economy that we need to help everyone.  I want to improve our children’s education, and much more.  When you vote, I hope you will consider me and all the candidates of the Free Democratic Movement. We would be honoured and humbled to receive your vote.

Cheryl Packwood is running for the FDM in Constituency #7. She is the former Overseas Representative for the Government of Bermuda to the Americas and Asia, and Director of the Washington, D.C., office.  She represented the financial services community as the CEO of Business Bermuda. She has held senior positions in Bermuda and West Africa as a lawyer and telecommunications executive. She is a lawyer and an historian—following in the footsteps of her father, the late Cyril Outerbridge Packwood.  Ms. Packwood holds a BA in history [honors] from Yale University and a Juris Doctorate [honors on thesis] from Harvard University Law School. Ms. Packwood is married with three adult sons.


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Comments (4)

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  1. Jonathan Land Evans says:

    Actually, non-property-owners were first allowed to vote in 1963, not 1968.

  2. ProudBermudian says:

    I am so impressed with the grit of the FDM launching so late and fielding an interesting and diverse group of candidates. The concept of a “movement” rather than a party is intriguing and follows a line of thought that I have been hearing that people are tired of OBA v PLP and just want to be represented by the people that are best for our country and all of us. Those same people suggest that when the teens of today are of age, they will start asking for exactly this because they don’t have the party indoctrination that their parents did and instead have been encouraged to be free thinkers. Imagine how wonderful Bermuda would be and how we could rise to any challenge if we could take the best of the PLP, the best of the OBA and the best of the FDM and have them governing us. The political equivalent of a fantasy football team : )

    • Ringmaster says:

      Stranger things can happen. Once the election is out of the way there may well be a number of switches. The PLP if they win are very short of MPs who can govern a business like Bermuda. Good on local social matters but nothing else. The OBA have business experience, and FDM have a bit of both but largely local. Give it a week and the political scene may change. Premier Burt is certainly under a likely challenge. AS new coalition may be in the works.

    • newperspective says:

      Agreed!. We need more independent thinking representation. My son has said to me more than once,young people need to come together and support a new movement, free from Party rules and Whip. Free to vote one’s conscience.