PLP rally attracts hundreds

  • Final push: Opposition leader David Burt addresses supporters at the rally at Prospect Primary School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Final push: PLP politicians address supporters at the rally at Prospect Primary School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • PLP supporters at the rally at Prospect Primary School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • PLP supporters at the rally at Prospect Primary School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • PLP supporters at the rally at Prospect Primary School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

There was a sea of green at the Progressive Labour Party’s public rally at Prospect Primary School last night as energised supporters gathered in droves.

Hundreds of people attended and with all parking spaces at the school and surrounding areas full, many were forced to park at Devonshire Recreation Club and walk.

Candidates for several constituencies took to the stage to remind those gathered in the school field to get out and vote and put an end to what many of them described as the oppressive policies of the One Bermuda Alliance.

Deputy leader Walter Roban delivered an impassioned speech in which he vowed his party would give “dignity to our seniors” in face of high healthcare costs and cost of living.

He spoke about the mould, rats and mice that have infested our public schools and spoke on the PLP’s commitment to good governance, balancing the budget by 2019 and advancing ministerial conduct.

“I am asking you to go to the polls at 7am pop your chair, get out your umbrellas and cast your vote at 8am for the PLP because we put Bermudians first.”

Michael Weeks made his entrance on the stage to his musical choice of Hold On (Change is Coming) which encapsulated the message he delivered. He called on every person in the field to reach out to 10 or 20 people and get them to go out and vote. “Turn support into victory,” he said to much applause.

Mr Weeks, shadow minister for health and community affairs, focused much of his speech on gangs and crime in Bermuda, saying that the worst failure by the OBA was not keeping its promise on putting an end to the violence. “The OBA failed to come up with a national plan to deal with this issue. If 30 young men being murdered is not a national state of emergency then what is?” He also reminded the public about the December 2 protests, where members of the Bermuda Police Service pepper-sprayed the crowd. He added: “The OBA has put us in a state of slavery.”

Walton Brown spoke about the PLP’s “long history of improving the conditions of the average man and woman in this country”. He said that the party worked “alongside the trade union movement”.

“For more than 50 years we have worked with the trade union movement. We have achieved a lot of good things in this country as opposition, as government and as opposition again and on July 19 we will start to do things again to improve the condition of the people.

“The PLP and the trade union movement have had shared leadership for a long time so we understand the struggle. We have a strong bond with the trade union movement, we will continue that bond in government. We will ensure that workers’ rights are protected and advanced. There are six words that trade unionists use all around the world that resonate with the PLP — especially today — and those six words are ‘united we stand, divided we fall’.”

Reverend Nicholas Tweed was introduced to say a few words. He said a PLP win would put an end to “four years of racist policies”.

He went on: “We have seen mould in our schools, we have seen boats valued more than our seniors, we have seen fuzzy numbers, we have been told that money doesn’t grow on trees. Well I got news for you — votes don’t grow on trees either.

New PLP candidate Jason Hayward made a joke when speaking about the stress families go through when a family member goes missing.

“If anyone could help me find [former immigration minister] Michael Fahy it would be greatly appreciated,” he said provoking laughter from the audience.

Mr Hayward said he had been missing since stepping down as immigration minister after proposing the controversial Pathways to Status legislation which would allow long-term residents to apply for Bermudian status. Mr Hayward pledged that his party would not allow the controversial policy to “see the light of day”.

“We want an immigration policy that is comprehensive and bipartisan,” he added.

• This article was amended to reflect that the number of attendees may have been closer to 1,000 than 600.

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