Bermuda: Poll Shows Opposition to Independence

The Antigua Observer reports that in Bermuda, a recent poll shows that opposition to independence among Bermudians has increased since Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip toured Bermuda two months ago to mark the 400th anniversary of the settlement of the island. Seventy-four per cent of people now do not want to sever ties with the United Kingdom, according to the survey carried out in early January, up from 66 per cent last October. Twenty per cent said they were in favor of splitting from Britain, with six per cent remaining unsure.

The island’s relationship with the UK has been in the spotlight since Premier Ewart Brown brought four Chinese Muslim Uighur former prisoners (from the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba) to the island without the permission of Governor Sir Richard Gozney last June. The latter is in charge of internal and external affairs in this Overseas Territory. Some observers say that while the move improved Bermuda’s relationship with the United States, the fact Brown antagonized Britain set back the push for independence.

Young people remain the most firmly against independence, with 87 per cent of the 18-24 age bracket opposing it, along with 80 per cent of the 25-34 age group. Brown has repeatedly expressed his frustration at the younger generation’s stance on the issue, saying in many other countries 18 to 34 year olds have spearheaded independence drives. But young people point to a number of benefits from the status quo, such as subsidized tuition fees from the UK.

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