All to play for: A view of Spanish Point, one of the main attractions of the Pembroke West constituency. *Photo by Sarah Lagan
All to play for: A view of Spanish Point, one of the main attractions of the Pembroke West constituency. *Photo by Sarah Lagan

FRIDAY, DEC. 14: Continuing our series on where the General Election will be won and lost, Sarah Lagan looks at Constituency 19, Pembroke West, which sees brother and sister Jeanne Atherden (OBA) and Erwin Adderley (independent) run against each other as well as the PLP’s Vince Ingham.

What are the main local issues/problems in your constituency?

Jeanne Atherden: Increasing crime and the need for a neighbourhood watch/ community building type programme. Local issues include things like lighting, the roads. We have narrow roads and over time the developments have expanded so there is a lot more traffic and as a consequence of that the roads are under stress. Then you have got lighting – I take the position now that lighting has become a safety and security issue. On top of that I really want to try to develop the community feel.

Erwin Adderley: All matters related to seniors including, but not limited to, the high cost of health insurance. There are several issues constituents have identified regarding drugs and crime in the area.

At one point in time, because of this activity, they had a neighbourhood watch and there were two constables assigned to that area who kept the people feeling reasonably comfortable. They did away with that and the level of activity has increased but more importantly the people feel less comfortable.

Vince Ingham: I have had several issues raised by my constituents which I think are fairly common — street lights, the bus schedule, neighbourhood signage, condition of private roads and some drainage problems in one of the neighbourhoods.

Increasing incidents of crime in the area is a growing concern and with that there is increasing anxiety regarding public safety. Perhaps unique is the request for a new public dock and a potential traffic haphazard from parking on one of the main roads in the area. I have also had constituents seeking advice and support for a music production venture and a Culture Foundation that will deliver new social programmes across the island.

I have offered as a part of my commitment to the area residents to work with them over the next three to five years to address these issues as well as to develop and action a Parks improvement plan for Spanish Point Park, Admiralty House Park and Deep Bay. I have also promised to look into the establishment of a community garden within the constituency.

What can be done to create and keep jobs?

Adderley: Stimulate the development of tourism to ensure its competiveness by developing it up to a minimum of 20 per cent of GDP and reducing the dependency on Government-funded programmes.

Ingham: The National Tourism Plan will stimulate and create job creation as we explore new markets and develop new products in each of the new destination hubs at St George’s, Dockyard, Hamilton, South Shore and our ocean environment. The Plan targets year-round tourism which will ensure that that Bermudians can rely on year-round jobs and be no longer subjected to the seasonality that now exists.

New product developments that will support business and leisure travellers as well as sports, cultural and nautical tourism markets will increase the work opportunities in our construction sector.

Increased year-round air arrivals will benefit everyone in the tourism value chain — our taxi industry, our retail and hospitality sectors, and of course our hotels and guest houses.

Atherden: Putting policies in place that grow jobs such as the tax exemptions for all new Bermudian hires. Expanding the career options for Bermudian students to take up jobs by transitioning Bermuda College into a four-year institution. Supporting small businesses through directing 20 per cent of Government goods and services spending towards them. At the same time extending the North Hamilton EEZ and developing the Marsh Folly area which will provide further job growth and business and career opportunities. 

Do you support gaming in Bermuda?

Ingham: The subject of gaming will be addressed at some point by a government referendum. I have always viewed gaming as a form of entertainment and as such should be available for visitors and locals alike. I recognize that there are some concerns across our community that rightly must be heard but I believe it ultimately should be an entertainment option available in Bermuda.

Atherden: I believe that in order to revive tourism in a way that creates jobs and provides career opportunities for Bermudians, we have to investigate all possibilities. 

Tourists want things to do while they are here. Other places provide good entertainment, good restaurants and gaming as part of their attractions. A referendum, which is our party’s policy, allows a final decision to be made.  

Adderley: No.

Why has gang violence escalated?

Atherden: The rise of gang violence is a complex society-wide problem. The conditions that feed and perpetuate gang life are equally complex but the island’s economic conditions are not helping. There is no quick or easy answer.

Our first priority is to stop the shootings, stop the killings. We will fully fund crime-reduction strategies such as Operation Ceasefire. There are many excellent community groups and social agencies operating today, but their work is fragmented.

An OBA government will provide the leadership this situation needs, by mobilizing, coordinating and directing a Bermuda-wide effort.

Adderley: The breakdown of the family unit.

Ingham: My only comment is that the gang problem is one that concerns all of us and requires a contribution from all of us to solve. We need to continue to support programmes like Mirrors that give our young people alternatives to gangs.

“We must continue to develop new avenues for expression, offer different challenges and opportunities, create jobs and ultimately give the next generation hope there is something to aspire to and work towards.

Should gays have equal protection under the law?

Adderley:  Yes

Ingham: The human rights of everyone should be protected by the law.

Atherden: I believe there should be no form of discrimination. As a woman I support the OBA’s intent to strengthen Bermuda’s commitment to human rights for all, prohibiting discrimination in employment, goods and services and housing.

Meredith Stapff will also run as an independent but was nominated too late for this feature.