Eron Hill. *File photo
Eron Hill. *File photo

Democracy is Government of the People, by the People and for the people of a country. It gives its people freedom of speech, and the right to take actions to govern themselves accordingly. 

The people of Bermuda have elected representatives, in the form of members of parliament. The will of the people is expressed by these elected officials through the debating and passing of motions, bills, and legislation. 

Those MPs pass bills, which are later signed off by the Governor. The act of having the Governor sign off on the bill may seem to some to be traditional and ceremonial: after all, he is unelected and doesn’t have a say in Parliament. Last week, we saw a bill tabled and passed in the House of Assembly that stated a Commission of Inquiry should be established to look at “historic losses in Bermuda of citizens’ property through theft of property, dispossession of property, and adverse possession claims”.

June 4th 2014

Our elected officials passed legislation that would see a Commission of Inquiry organized to investigate and further probe the concerns that the people of Bermuda have.

June 9, 2014

In a  letter to the Speaker of the House, the Governor rejected the bill, and stated that those concerns “are not clear enough or urgent enough to require a Commission of the type proposed”. He added that “I would be open to consider this again”.

June 11, 2014

When asked to comment on the Governor’s actions and things that followed, our Premier had this to say: “Really, I don’t have anything to comment on that. We’re here to do the people’s business. The government is determined to conduct the business as was scheduled on the agenda today, and so we’re up here to work.”

How dare the Governor have the audacity to affront democracy in such a way by denying an inquiry? It was arrogant in my humble opinion for him to dismiss the claims as not clear and not urgent. 

With the greatest degree of respect, the Governor has no place to tell the people of this country what is important, and what is relevant to them.

Secondly, it concerns me that the leader of our country has no comment on this slight to our democratic rights. After all, he did not support the bill and so it might not surprise some that he’s in no rush to call out the governor for denying the inquiry. The issue is not so much with the inquiry , but rather the bigger picture, the principle that democracy has been delayed and denied, and that is unacceptable.

Our Premier seems not to like to comment on the big issues facing our country. He was silent on the PRC matter, and has said he really has no comment on the affront to our democracy by the Governor. 

Bermuda needs leadership that is not afraid to tackle the difficult issues.

Bermuda, we all have the choice to put up with something that we don’t believe in or stand up and speak out about something that we do. 

We must not allow our rights, our democracy, or our voice to be trampled upon and ripped from our very grasps. As events unfold, let us see who will truly fight for Bermuda, her people, and their rights…

Eron Hill, an 18-year-old former member of Bermuda’s Youth Parliament and the Bermuda National Debate Team, is now an aspiring lawyer and legal understudy working at Compass Law Chambers under the tutelage of local barrister and attorney, Charles Richardson.