Sir John Swan On Bye-Election, Politics & More

April 12, 2024 | 11 Comments

“I am prepared to stand for election in the Smith’s North Constituency 10 bye-election as an independent, but I will not act as a spoiler,” Sir John Swan said, adding that “I will run only if I feel that a significant number of the voters of Smith’s North want the sort of change that I stand for.”

The bye-election has been called due to the resignation of Michael Dunkley and will be held on May 22nd. The OBA has announced that Robert King will be their candidate, and the PLP announced that Senator Lindsay Simmons will be their candidate.

Sir John Swan said, “I believe the place Bermuda and Bermudians find themselves in today is not healthy.

“The continuation of party politics, as it stands now, is not serving us currently and is not addressing our future. The result is, Bermuda is stagnating, our people are suffering, many are seeking to emigrate and find hope elsewhere, others have given up. Most are unhappy. This cannot stand.

“In my many years involved in the political system, I always represented change. I suggest we need a change now and we need it urgently.

“We need leadership free from the shackles of partisan politics, we need individuals prepared to personally sacrifice their time and devote themselves to defining a vision for our future and then to realizing that vision.

Video of Sir John’s Press Conference held earlier this week

“Those involved in party politics are spending more time defending their party or attacking the other, this is not allowing for positive or forward momentum. Too many people are suffering. There must be change. We must step away from insults and arguments.

“I cannot stand by and just allow Bermuda to continue to sink into mediocrity. That is not the Bermuda I know, not the one I worked so hard for. We need to get back to leadership devoted to the needs of the community. I am thus prepared to lead by example.

“I am prepared to stand for election in the Smith’s North Constituency 10 Bye election as an independent, but I will not act as a spoiler. I do not wish my entry in the race to result in furthering the system of either existing party, that is not change.

“I will run only if I feel that a significant number of the voters of Smith’s North want the sort of change that I stand for, a change that moves Bermuda forward, that lifts our expectations towards a better future, to a Bermuda where Bermudians want to stay, but also want to return from wherever they are abroad, a Bermuda that is again internationally recognized and respected.

“I am prepared to step forward and be recognized, not as a representative of either party, but as an independent. I ask the voters of Smith’s North to let me know whether they want to be part of that change, to also step forward. I need to see their names and witness their commitment to the future.

“Finally, what of the future? I am more aware of my age than anyone else,” said the former Premier, who is 88 years old. “I am not announcing another enduring personal campaign, rather the advent, the start of something new. By stepping forward, I am hoping that others, as tired of the partisan bickering as I, will also step forward and that we can form a coalition of independent thinkers dedicated to the future of our people.

“I will wait to hear further from the people of Smith’s North. It is in their hands, I must though emphasise, I need to see and feel that this new direction, this change is supported by a majority, of voters from all historical political affiliations. Voters who want to cast aside those old, tattered labels and be part of the movement of change. I await their response.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. watching says:

    Independents may not be tied to a particular party, but people will always align based on some commonality. Back in the day didn’t the “UBP” members run all as independents, and then come together to form the UBP, hence winning control of the government over the already formed PLP. Kind of a bait and switch?

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Prior to 1963 there were no political parties in Bermuda. All of the members of the House of Assembly decided which among them would take up the various leadership roles (Cabinet Ministers).

      The PLP was the first political party in Bermuda and it successfully contested 6 seats in the 1963 election.

      In order to counter the force of the PLP, the UBP was formed before the 1968 election.

      I am not sure that was a “bait and switch” and you might want to look at who the first leader of the UBP was.

      • Jonathan Land Evans says:

        Most of what you have said above is correct, but actually there were no Cabinet Ministers in Bermuda until our 1968 Constitution came into effect. Prior to that there was the Executive Council (“ExCo”), which comprised the Governor, the Colonial Secretary, the Senior Military Officer (back when there was a regular Army garrison here, i.e. up until the 1950s), the Attorney-General, and the Receiver-General/Accountant-General, together with a handful of senior parliamentarians (MCPs — Members of the Colonial Parliament) who were appointed to ExCo by the Governor. Most ExCo members would thus have been non-Bermudian. Parliament had less importance than it has in our current (post-1968) constitutional set-up, although individual Government departments (what became Ministries after 1968) each had a senior MCP (appointed by the Governor) to chair its Board; and Government Boards in the old days were executive in nature, rather than primarily or entirely advisory as they are now. Readers wishing to better understand the development of our political structure, economy etc would benefit from reading my ‘An Introduction to Bermuda’s Modern History’ (available inexpensively from and sometimes also available in local bookshops) as well as the other books in my Lulu series on Bermuda’s modern history.

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          ” there were no Cabinet Ministers in Bermuda until our 1968 Constitution came into effect”

          Agreed. That is why I said “leadership roles” and put “(Cabinet Ministers)” in parenthesis.

          • jonathan Land Evans says:

            Yes, but with the (non-policy-making) exception of the Speaker of the House of Assembly and memberships of occasional parliamentary Select Committees, those leadership roles were allocated by the Governor (who in those days had a far more active, executive role in our political structure than has been the case post-1968), not by means of decisions of “All of the members of the House of Assembly” as you had stated,

  2. Ringmaster says:

    C10 is not the place to run. The danger is a split vote could give the PLP 31-5 which would make the 2 party system even worse. He, and any other Independents, need to run in PLP held areas to cut the 30 MPs. At the same time please recommend an end to 36 MPs. 15 is more than enough for such a small population.

    • Billy says:

      What you don’t have any confidence in King and the other losers in the obaUBP?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        No, the principles of King and Swan are somewhat similar therefore the split vote.

        The principles of Simmons are the same as 28 other MPs. Do what you are told to do. Always under the whip.

        IMO Sir John should pick a PLP stronghold. A place where the voters have not had a choice in a long time and are fed up with the ‘yes’ person they have. There are plenty to choose from.

        • Ringmaster says:

          Agreed. For example, Sir John and other Independents should look to the East and West where there is disquiet about the schools closures. They would be a good test of whether there is public support for change or keep the status quo.

  3. Pa says:

    I have viewed Sir John Swan’s Speech three time to date and no doubt I will view the speech again.

    We do no need to go into panic mode we just need to sort our difference out.
    Bermuda Is too much for one man wuith a big heart
    I would like to point out that my family are disenfranchised so do not come to me for help and we have not voted for many years , we do firstly do not care to be told who to vote for that in our oppinion is no democratic and takes away from our right of choice so we why like many other peoples away from the poles. there is no second comming !
    Another abseration that is very apparent is Bermuda is not doing very well, that is unhealthy as we are taxed up to our eyeballs.
    The UBP / OBA has run for the hills i guess you all know why,, cant blame the can you ?
    What is new to try next ?
    There has been several change sin our constitition over the years with changes to the vote over to the land owner because they were said to have a vested interest in the island.
    Then we found 25 people owning the same piece of land to up the voting numbers
    Sir John appears to be looking the fill the seats on the hill with Doctors , business men including Lawyers, aparently wanting what is left of the people here to assist with that .
    You can readily see that divides the nation further .
    Common sense and prudence runs the nation.

    If the comman man can pay 25 % of his income in taxes he should be eligible to run the country.
    We are not Europeans Americans where their life style is many time differen from ours and they sure have their problems.
    May be the big problem here is that we spend money we don’t have which belong to our children we can not survive with blunders like that.

    Back in the days of 40 thieves of Front street ran the show , they did well and we did we also , no taxation back then people were not happy with that.
    What does it take to make you happy. don t say
    I know its money .

    Party politics and the symbols of cricket bat and ball will never go away.

    St Augustine Florida .
    100 ordinary citizens approved every thing with the check book manage they managed the business of St Agudstine Florida
    Mixin money with laws do not work .
    The local Government there just makes the laws only, that policy has been working for years.
    We pass ram rod laws here and no body says ……what if! after it is too late .

    Alignment with Cariocom takes our independent way of life away from us , also big brother will say jump and we will say how high . We do no need or want another country telling Bermuda how , what ,and when to do it , that is inviting total and financial disaster .

  4. Maddog says:

    Sir John is right we need change. The people at the wheel are not making the right decisions for our country. They only make the popular decisions. That is not leadership. Curtis Dickinson we need you as our leader….and pick the best from both sides and the best independents for your team…and collectively stand up and make the hard unpopular decisions to get us out of this financial mess…

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