Bermuda’s Burt Calls Snap Election For October 1st “To Avoid By-Elections.”

Photo: Bermuda Online. Bermuda is another world, and the second most remote island in the world, but it is well connected to North American and Europe by airline routes. This map appears to be not to scale.
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The Bermuda Government announced yesterday in a press release tha: “A general election has been called for 1 October, 2020.”

New constituency boundaries will be in effect and any voter who has a change of address needs to register at the Parliamentary Registry website www.elections.gov.bm.

There will be a seven day registration period which will end on Saturday, 29 August, 2020 at 5:00.p.m.  All first time voters or voters who have changes to their details should submit their registration forms during this period.

The (Bermuda) Royal Gazette reported that Premier David Burt, the Progressive Labour Party leader, said the decision was based on financial prudency because of the possibility of multiple by-elections caused by the resignation of several parliamentarians from both parties.

But Craig Cannonier, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, claimed that a General Election could cost more than $1 million at a time when civil servants faced pay cuts.

Political commentators had mixed reactions to the announcement — one branded it a distraction, but another said it would allow the Government to get a clear public mandate.

The PLP already has a sizable majority.

There do not seem to be any particular political issues at stake as Bermuda has been relatively successful in containing the COVID-19 virus, albeit at the expense of the tourism industry, as in many island destinations, but has announced success in recent days in attracting digital nomads with a new kind of one year beaches-with-benefits visa for people who want to wait out the COVID-19 virus while working or studying online.

Some commenters in the Royal Gazette alluded to Bermuda now being overrun with rats and feral chickens, roads having potholes, and claimed that the extremely affluent Atlantic archipelago which is a British dependency, was now starting to look like a third-world country.

The Royal Gazette had reported last month that posh Paget parish, which contains the official residence of the Premier and the Bermuda College, was becoming overrun with “brazen” rats and that residents had seen many of the rodents, larger and less timid than they had seen before, crossing the road in broad daylight and that the excess rats were first noticed about two months ago.

This is by no means the first time that Bermuda has had a problem with rats.

Rats were introduced to Bermuda, states the Bermuda Department of the Environment on its Web site accidentally sometime before 1614 and almost certainly came ashore from visiting or wrecked ships.

They were a significant pest to the early human residents of Bermuda, as the rats destroyed crops and ate stored food supplies. The problem was so bad that various parts of Bermuda were burned by the desperate settlers in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat the invasion of rats.

Likewise feral chickens are a known issue in Bermuda. Again, the Bermuda Department of the Environment notes that:

“Bermuda has a large population of feral chickens (Gallus domesticus) that are a serious threat to our parks and agricultural lands.  The current population of feral chickens in Bermuda is estimated to be at least 20,000 to 25, 000.”

“These wild chickens are a nuisance as they disturb gardens and many of us have been awoken at night by a crowing rooster! There is also a significant economic cost from controlling the chicken population and from the damage they cause. Feral chickens cause an estimated $50,000 to $100,000 worth of damage to crops each year in Bermuda. Crops primarily damaged by chickens include beans, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, strawberries and bananas.”

No doubt the wild roosters will be giving Bermudian voters an early wake-up call on Election Day.

 

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