Column: Apology, Congratulations And Caution

October 7, 2020

vic ball OBA 2015[Opinion column written by Vic Ball]

As those of you reading this can imagine, it is without a doubt one of the most difficult opinions I have written. I initiate it with an apology to the Bermudian people. It is very evident that the OBA failed to provide a viable alternative to the questionable governance that we have endured over the past three years. This fact and the clear message suggest that it be addressed in another forum.

That failure is compounded by my own personal loss of a seat held by the OBA since it began in 2011. I sincerely thank the people of constituency 9 who opened their doors and to those that placed their vote of confidence in me. However, in the end, I was 30 votes short.

I extend sincere congratulations to the PLP for its overwhelming electoral victory. For the sake of us all, I hope that they will be true to their words of bipartisanship as stated in the Premier’s victory speech. We all have a vested interest in your success at advancing the interests of the Bermudian people.

In the meantime, it is helpful for us to place the victory and the OBA’s spectacular defeat in context. It should be pointed out that despite rumblings and wishful thinking to the contrary, the independents and the FDM received under 6% of the total votes, while the PLP and OBA together garnered more than 94% of the votes. Of those, 62% went to the PLP and 32% to the OBA.

It is also worth noting that there was a notable 61% increase in the number of people who chose not to vote as compared with 2017. That number stands at a whopping 44% and represents 20,548 voters of a total electorate of 46,311, excluding the three uncontested seats. Clearly all is not well in our democracy.

At risk of boring readers with numbers, there is an important and undeniable story being told if you want to see it. In spite of the PLP’s impressive dominance on the surface, the vast majority of eligible Bermudian voters [over 65%] did not vote for them.

In a broader context, the domination at the polls in Bermuda seems to be consistent with notable trends in other jurisdictions as well. In Grenada in 1999, one party took all the seats and repeated it again in 2013 and 2018. On the other hand, in Bahamas in 2012, their PLP won 29 of 38 seats. While the FNM completely reversed that victory in 2017 taking 35 of 39 seats. There was a landslide in Barbados in 2018. Earlier this year in St. Kitts, a coalition party took 9 of 11 seats and just last month in Jamaica their JLP won 49 seats to the opposition’s 16.

To sum up my view on this election here in Bermuda from the numbers, lack of voter participation and my experience on the campaign trail, the collective wisdom of voters is saying this.

The PLP should not be complacent and over-confident in their victory. As overwhelming as this election victory appears, it has been given with enormous reservation. However, it was also done with a crystal-clear mandate without political opposition. It appears that the people have said, “the government is yours to deal with. You are now required to perform the heavy lifting required from the enormous challenges created by the PLP for 17 of the past 22 years”. Be careful what you wish for.

Therefore, I offer this caution first and foremost as a Bermudian. This mandate was not handed to the PLP to carry on the divisive, deflective and racial politics of the past. You should not continue to pit Bermudians against each other racially, socio-economically or otherwise. This victory is not intended for you to continue to weaken the institutions of our democracy for political gain, i.e. by attacking the judiciary, the free press, civil servants and Parliament itself. You have the opportunity to rectify past wrongs and to avoid corrupt practices that will ultimately spell your doom and ours if they continue.

Also, we do not want for you to trade the illusion of short-term gain for very real long-term pain by the established pattern of borrowing and wasting. This will only increase Bermudians paying more and higher taxes and our dependency on more borrowing. Resulting on a fast track to a Bermuda we no longer recognize.

Your mandate is to lead us through this extremely difficult period and to improve the quality of our lives so that we can leave a better country for our children.

The ball is now in your court.

- Vic Ball


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Comments (27)

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  1. watching says:

    interesting analysis.
    Mr Ball takes no responsibility either personally or from his party for his loss of an OBA stronghold. He says OBA has held it since 2009. But technically the OBA/UBP has held it FOREVER. He was the first person from that alliance to lose this seat. He should call a spade a spade.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Vic only came to my house to see if I was registered, no doorstep chat. Vance Campbell on the other hand, with John Barritt in tow, was engaging.

      In opposition, the OBA have failed badly and allowed the PLP to control the narrative – they alone were responsible for poor turnout.

  2. hmmm says:

    He’s lost his marbles it was the ubp aka oba that continued to run surrogates every election. Look Victor Fail get jetgatter out from you’re party and the voters will return.

    I hope Bernews can display a side by side comparison of the number of votes each candidate receive in 2017 and 2020 election.

  3. Time To Go says:

    After reading this piece, if there is to be an OBA, Mr. Ball should lead it. Cannonier and/or Dunkley should resign and Mr. Ball should run in the subsequent bi-election.

    • wahoo says:

      Why do you mention Dunkley? He is the hardest working politician in Bermuda so please tell me what your problem is with him.

    • The Truth says:

      Vic Ball leader?
      Are you mad?
      He lost his seat in a stronghold because OBA supporters lack trust in him after the Commission Of Inquiry.
      He is IMO not a good candidate.

  4. What? says:

    Mr. Ball, why do none of your numbers take into account the fact that 3,673 people didn’t vote because there was no election in three constituencies?

    • watching says:

      Because that wouldn’t fit the narrative he is trying to push.

    • Andrew says:

      umm..he says right there in the article ‘excluding the three uncontested seats’

  5. Unbelievable says:

    I won’t get into Mr. Ball’s analysis but the fact that nearly half the number of voters did vote should tell you that there is MASSIVE voter dissatisfaction in this country.

    This election was poorly timed and launched simply to amass power (wipe out the opposition) before the you-know-what hits the fan in the spring 2021. That’s not a democracy. That’s a power trip.

  6. John says:

    It can be argued that the voters that did not show up at the polls were historically OBA supporters. If the OBA were able to motivate their base, they would have won seats that they never lost before. The lower voter turn out can be partly blamed on the ineffectiveness of the opposition in general and specifically the style/past indiscretions of their leader. I suggest that the OBA write less opinion pieces and get more connected with their communities

  7. Be Real says:

    Ok time for some real points. Questions should be why the low voter turn out and why didn’t OBA supporters stayed away or change their vote? One reason and none of you have brought it up! Look at the nasty campaign ran by the OBA, starting with Ms.Scott and Ben Smith video! We all know what happened to them. The people were tired of hearing them (ads). I voted, but seriously i was tired of it hole things! OBA, you reap what you sow!

  8. Ringmaster says:

    Sadly it will be 95% of Bermuda who will suffer seriously from the upcoming financial implosion. Clearly the PLP voters who jumped for joy on the streets to celebrate the power, have no idea of the hardships to come. The new debt will be spent within a year. Government payroll will not be paid in full. There won’t be enough residents, or tourists, to pay the taxes needed, especially since so many of the so called taxpayers are in fat tax guzzlers. 5 years to the next election will seem like an eternity, but what then?

    • Bermudian says:

      PLP will lose and the new govt will be handed over a sinking economy and we’re talking sinking into the abyss. And voters will expect them to fix it within 4 years.

      • Ringmaster says:

        Not sure you’re right. Who in their right mind would want to take over from the PLP. More likely a 36 – 0 result and good luck to anyone with a job (especially a Government one).

  9. Joe Bloggs says:

    “it is helpful for us to place the victory and the OBA’s spectacular defeat in context”

    Ok, the OBA is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as UBP 2.0

    There is no place in modern society for such a party. Fade away and let young progressives create an opposition that is relevant today. Leave the old UBP members and legacy in the past.

  10. Bermudafirst says:

    This piece and the comments are why Vic ball lost…. Craig put him in for this area despite the baggage of the commission of inquiry with him. He was horrible and disengaged on the doorstep and not even from the neighborhood. I could not vote for him and I normally vote Oba. Putting him, Leah or Ben in the senate would be a HUGE mistake …. oh and Craig has got to go….

  11. Kushite says:

    Vic COI people dont forget that you said you will do it again. No apologies. Imagine you as a minister God forbid. Take time to look at self.

  12. Cordell W Riley says:

    Voting was down by 25% compared to 2017. Votes casts for the PLP were down 20% and 40% down for the OBA. For the OBA in particular the questions start there.

  13. Gemini says:

    I wish that you were as engaging on the doorstep as in this article. The woman with you on the doorstop talked too much and she was more interested in getting emails and telephone numbers and honestly you didn’t have a chance to be engaging. She assumed that because we are white we are a tick in the box. Wrong, I vote for you I think can lead this country. Your leader couldn’t even get 35 others to run for office, how could he lead a whole country?

    Did John Barritt have something against you, or the OBA?

    Oh yes, bi-election Is needed so get your party leader to step down and elect someone that the people can support. Dunkley, he could go too!

  14. ImJustSayin says:

    Leaders who apologize publicly are especially vulnerable. They are highly visible. They are expected to appear strong and competent. And whenever they make public statements of any kind, their individual and institutional reputations are at stake. Clearly, then, leaders should not apologize often or lightly. For a leader to express contrition, there needs to be a good, strong reason.

  15. Dwayne Talbot says:

    What was the apology? Failing the Bermudian people is the fact. It is my opinion that the apology should include how they failed the Bermudian people.

    • sandgrownan says:

      19 years of PLP failure. That’s the fact. The only green shoots of recovery happened under the OBA’s watch.

      Clearly, success at the polls has nothing to do with competence.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        He does seem to be another one who doesn’t realize that just 2 weeks after election 2017 our economy started tanking again for no other reason than lack of confidence in the government , eh ?

  16. Sean says:

    In my humble opinion, the majority of people who normally vote for the OBA didn’t bother to come out to the polls. What I believe is that they are fed up with the new candidates chosen to run by their party. The history of the party is that the OBA/UPB is the predominantly white party in Bermuda. If you look at the OBA today and for this election, the majority of the candidates are black. There are many white people who still don’t want to be represented by or definitely vote for a person of color. They stayed home and their pundits are blaming the PLP for the low voter turnout. Check the facts people??