Generation Next is inviting all to come out and be heard at the ‘Generation Next Community Forum’ on Monday, July 3 at 6.00pm at the Bermuda Industrial Union’s Dr. E.F Gordon Hall.
Eron Hill said, “Generation Next organized a live election debate to provide a platform for the leaders to enlighten the electorate regarding their respective parties’ manifestos, proposed policies and future plans for our island regarding sustainability and the like. It was our hope that through this discussion, the populace [specifically our young Bermudians] would be in a position to then make an informed decision on July 18th, 2017.
“On June 2nd 2017 Generation Next contacted the Hon. Premier Mr. Michael Dunkley and the Hon. Opposition Leader Mr. David Burt [including their respective parties] regarding the proposed Generation Next Election Debate. Each party was invited to provide feedback and/or suggestions for the debate. Equally, they were both informed that the formal invitation would be published in the media in the near future.
“Being observant of our invitations and mindful of our advice that the invitations were to be published in the media, on June 22nd Generation Next publicly yet humbly requested the Leaders’ attendance at the aforementioned live debate, currently set for 3rd July 2017.
“Regarding the situation as it currently stands, we are most grateful to the Opposition Leader, the Hon. David Burt for his agreement to engage in the Generation Next live election debate. By contrast, it is most unfortunate the Premier, Hon. Michael Dunkley has refused to engage in this much needed interchange and discussion.
“Further to the OBA’s and by connection the Hon. Premier’s disinclination to engage in this Generation Next live election debate, the stated objections centred on the venue and the moderator. Put plainly, these concerns were not insurmountable and I shall address the advised cure in short order.
“However, Generation Next, on behalf of all young Bermudians wish to humbly proffer the following to both sides of the political spectrum:
“Leadership is not for friendship, nor for satisfying the whims of someone or just a particular segment of the community; leadership must be about truth, justice, and equality for ALL. Therefore, as a leader one is expected to rise above personal preferences and prejudices. Leaders must understand that there will be those that disagree with them from time to time. However, as a leader you have a duty to lead those individuals too. Good and effectual governance entails leading ALL of the people of Bermuda, not just some whom you believe will vote for you, or those whom you believe agree with you, and not just the few, but ALL of the people of Bermuda. As such, any refusal to attend due to location sends a subliminal message of avoidance due to dissimilarity or even alarm. We propose this manner of approach does not echo inclusiveness or of moving Bermuda forward.
“Moreover, if the temperature and sentiments of Bermudians generally, and specifically young Bermudians were properly gauged, it would illustrate their reticence to and resistance of personal and vitriolic politics.
“We humbly yet fervently state that the people of this country want to know what can be done for them as the electorate on a community and personal basis; the current and collective murmurings of the community evoke a passion for a solution based approach which surpasses party affiliation; the political leaders in this country would do well to recognize and acknowledge that reaction.
“Bermudians are desirous of encouraging and fostering a political environment that is based on ideas, and ideology not race, background, age or elitist mind-sets. With this as the précis for the conversation, allowing Bermudians the opportunity to listen to the proposed plans and policies for the future of this island is of upmost importance – notwithstanding that this same format of electoral debate occurs in almost all other developed democracies around the globe.
“Allowing our young Bermudians the opportunity to engage with our leaders and hear their views on issues of concern is paramount. The concern of the venue and the moderator for this conversation pales in comparison.
“In the spirit of amity and putting country ahead of perceived partisan politics, we then invited the OBA to identify and secure a venue of their choosing thus removing any perceived stigma of partisanship and placing the focus squarely on the issues, free expression of concerns and healthy debate.
“In conjunction, we also extended to the OBA the opportunity to select a moderator of their choice to work in tandem with a moderator selected by Generation Next, with the details to be considered and agreed between the parties.
“In an announcement on 21 June 2017, The OBA stated ‘the Premier and his colleagues have no objection to any debate or discussions on issues to help move Bermuda forward’.
“However, contrary to this pronouncement the Premier has decided not to engage in this conversation with Generation Next nor at the time of this drafting has he or a representative of the OBA given Generation Next any indication of a suitable venue or moderator.
“Simply put, it is apparent that Premier Dunkley and the OBA are disinclined to participate in this event.
“Young Bermudians deserve the opportunity to gauge the position of our leaders on a number of concerns currently prevailing in our island nation and the lack of engagement from the Premier and One Bermuda Alliance with respect to the Generation Next live election debate will not handicap our efforts to provide such a platform for young Bermudians to allow their voices to be heard. To that end, the date and venue previously arranged for the Generation Next live election debate will remain and the event is now a ‘Generation Next Community Forum’, and we invite and urge all to participate.
“This invitation remains extended to both parties’ members, senators, former members of parliament, and candidates in the upcoming general election. All public representatives and candidates desirous of participating will be afforded an opportunity to address our young people in an open-mic format. Please contact email@example.com to R.S.V.P by Sunday July 2nd2017.
“A question and answer period will follow, followed by a period [after the event] allowing for public representatives to avail themselves of more intimate one-on-one discussion. The event will be hosted by Generation Next members Aminah Simmons and Kemilah Swan.
“Generation Next speaks for the masses of young Bermudians who ardently seek sincere, honest, transparent, and accomplishing governance. We invite all to come out and let your voice be heard at the ‘Generation Next Community Forum’ on Monday, 3rd July 2017 at 6pm at the Bermuda Industrial Union’s Dr. E.F Gordon Hall.”