Robinson admits he has an uphill battle

  • Looking out for people: Dwayne Robinson, the One Bermuda Alliance Constituency 17 by-election candidate

An Opposition senator vowed to be the change that he believes voters want as he campaigned to become the island’s newest MP.

Dwayne Robinson, of the One Bermuda Alliance, admitted he faced an “uphill battle” to win the Pembroke Central by-election next Thursday.

However, he committed to providing representation for the people of Constituency 17 if he is voted in next week.

The by-election was called after the sudden death of sitting Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown last month.

Mr Brown won against former OBA candidate Andrew Simons by just six votes in 2012, but won a massive majority of 257 with 540 votes to 283 in 2017 in a PLP General Election landside, which appeared to make it a safe seat for the ruling party.

Mr Robinson said: “It was always an uphill battle. When I came in, you have to be truthful and honest and say it is considered that, but knocking on the doors, you find that folks are more receptive to the person, and receptive to change, and they just want to be represented.

“If you can present yourself as a viable option to represent them the best, then I’m sure that they’re going to vote that way.”

Mr Robinson said he hoped to emulate some of Mr Brown’s characteristics if elected.

He added: “I never really got the chance to know him that well, as he was in the other party and I was very new, but I will say, from what I’ve heard, that he was a very impartial person as far as reaching across both aisles and I think that’s something that the country needs, to have less partisanship and more bipartisanship.”

Mr Robinson was appointed to the Senate last year and said that a move to the House of Assembly would be “a matter of transitioning from seeing legislation in a finished product to being able to actually weigh in on it while it’s being crafted”.

He said he planned to “connect with the people” of Constituency 17 if he won and that he hoped his arguments were “polished enough and convincing enough” to be supported by voters.

Mr Robinson added: “From my canvassing experience ... a lot of people have repeatedly said that they feel like politicians are not looking out for them any more.

“So my main goal, if anything, is to showcase that I am looking out for people and to stay relevant and available and visible in that constituency and to continue to bring my arguments and stances directly to the people.”

He agreed it seemed that voters feared politicians were power hungry or looked after their own interests and it was up to members of the legislature to shape their own reputations.

Mr Robinson added: “I personally made it my goal to be the change I want to see.”

He said: “I do believe that folks are very disconnected from politics right now.

“The onus is not only on the voter to be an engaged voter, but also on us to give them something to vote for.”

Mr Robinson added that he had been given “a really good reception” while canvassing.

He said: “I think folks are looking for change; they’re tired of seeing the same old, same old and I know that they want a politician that is going to deliver results.

“I think that presenting myself as the new politician that’s going to give them those results has seen me being received very well.”

Mr Robinson added that his priorities, if elected, included education reform to make sure that young people are equipped to take up the jobs available in Bermuda, such as in trades and the finance or reinsurance sectors.

At Court Street salon and barbershop Hair Am I, where the senator is a regular customer, staff showed their support.

Akilia Darrell, the owner, said: “I feel like he’s a humble person, he has been getting his hair cut at my salon for a while now. I didn’t even know he was in politics.

“I think going in humble definitely gives you an insight and a clean slate of where you’re going to begin and what you’re going to get done, and not focused on the whole image of ‘I’m a politician’.”