People need to speak up about Bermuda’s issues rather than “sticking their heads in the mud”.

Politicians from the island’s three parties believe residents need to come together to help make a difference.

They insist phoning radio talk shows or writing a letter to a newspaper is not enough.

Instead, they want to see open conversations between all ages and all races to move the country forward.

PLP Senator Walton Brown, UBP Senator Jeanne Atherden and BDA leader Craig Cannonier were speaking at yesterday’s BEPRO Lunch and Learn.

The idea was for Bermuda’s young professionals to learn about each political party and what they stand for “because much of what we hear usually comes from third parties”.

Mr. Cannonier said: “We are all uncomfortable where we are right now. None of us like what is going on politically, economically and socially in this country.”

He said at the House of Assembly there “are folk on this side and folk on that side with a wide divide in the middle” and the BDA were “not pleased with the language going back and forth”.

He said: “In the political world we are operating like an analogue phone even though the world is operating like an iPhone.

“We are no longer another world. We are competing with the world, we all need to pull together to make the right decisions.”

Mr. Cannonier said Bermudians often “stuck their heads in the mud” and pretended things weren’t happening but they now needed “to have a voice”.

He said politicians needed to “tap into the intellectual capital” and get involved with “open conversations to move Bermuda forward”.

He added it wasn’t about black or white but about “getting to know one another as people for the good of the country”.

Each of the politicians had five minutes to respond to three questions before answering questions from BEPRO members.

Mr. Cannonier, who was the only politician to rise to his feet as he spoke, said he wanted to “make the country dream again”.

He said: “The ideal Bermuda is for people to be able to dream again. Bermuda has lost its dreams but we can be whatever we want to be.”

There was a crowd of about 25 people at the event at the Chamber of Commerce on Front Street. Most of them were in their 20s and working in the corporate world.

Also in attendance were UBP hopefuls Jeff Sousa and Devrae Noel-Simmons, UBP shadow finance minister Bob Richards and Nicholas Swan from the Corporation of Hamilton.

Senator Atherden said everyone needed to pull together as the biggest issues were “not just solved by politicians”.

She added: “We all need to come together to find solutions, Bermudians deserve better.

“We have to start working together again, we are very innovative people.”

Senator Brown admitted that politicians were “an unusual breed of people” calling them “the motley crew.”

He said: “The public need to be involved in politics. It’s not sufficient to say you have contributed by calling a radio talk show or writing an anonymous letter to the editor. We all need to talk.”

What does your party stand for and represent?

UBP: “We believe in the diversity of this island. We recognise Bermuda has challenges and in unity we have the opportunity to overcome them. Our core values are empathy, freedom, respect and integrity.”

PLP: “We represent social justice and social reform. We want to bring about a Bermuda where men and women have opportunities. There are no racial diversions within the party — we believe in racial harmony and deliver on that.”

BDA: “We need to come together to come up with the best solutions for the country. We find our answers from the people. We don’t dictate, we listen to where people want Bermuda to go.”

What are the largest and most pressing issues?

PLP: “Crime, tourism and external challenges. Tourism used to be the cornerstone of our economy but we’ve let it slip. We need to make sure Bermuda is on the priority list when other countries are making decisions.”

BDA: “We need a new type of politics, a new way of doing things. The education system has failed us, the economy is in trouble and international businesses are leaving or not hiring.”

UBP: “Right now the issues are the greatest we’ve had since the Second World War. We are going in the wrong direction, we believe Bermuda is better than this.”

What is Bermuda in its ideal state? What kind of Bermuda do you want to see in the future?

BDA: “Being able to trust politicians will benefit Bermuda. We want a true democracy where politics speak honestly about what is going on. If mistakes are made, admit to them and move on from there.”

UBP: “We want fairness to all and equal opportunities to people with no barriers. We have to make sure our children succeed, save tourism and make sure healthcare is available to all.”

PLP: “John Lennon depicted the type of society perfectly with Imagine. We want people living in harmony.”