Why, in his first interview on policy as Bermuda Democratic Alliance's new leader, would Craig Cannonier come out quasi expressing support for independence? For such a controversial issue it seems rather odd to do, especially when it isn't clear whether he is specifically speaking for only himself or if he's speaking for the party. The larger question would be why mention support at all when likely there is far more to gain simply by leaving it at his first suggestion of "it's up for the people to decide?"
In today's paper upon being asked of BDA's stance on independence newly elected leader Craig Cannonier suggests
"That's a decision for the people of Bermuda. It's my belief it can only be done through referendum."
Brilliant answer. It's an important issue and the best way to resolve it is to put it to the people. It's what many people want and he could have left it at that, but he's not done.
"Personally, someone said to me if it's not broke don't fix it, but I'm of the mind of progression like any other country who's dependent, they believe in the future and progress, and that progress includes Independence. Many of the great minds of the world became independent to progress.
Natural progress for Bermuda would probably be to embody Independence. However, what's the best thing for Bermuda is still to be determined."
What does that even mean? Many great minds became independent to progress? Was that through progress or they stood aside from progress? It's not very clear. Is he speaking only for himself or for the party? Is his first statement on policy as the new leader the best time to be promoting personal beliefs when it will surely cloud the issue on where BDA stands and leave quite a few people wondering whether they should be supporting BDA or not.
It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to jump out and tackle a highly controversial issue right after being elected leader, especially with really unclear explanations as well as a blurring of the line between individual and party. Let's remember, a poll released last month put 74% of people against independence.
Now, while there's nothing wrong with being pro-independence why would you take on such a controversial issue unnecessarily when you just finished giving a perfectly reasonable answer? Even further, "Natural progress" doesn't offer any tangible benefit that would be gained for independence, especially when one considers the EU counter argument that many countries are moving towards greater dependence on a centralized body.
All that aside, the very phrasing sounds incredibly similar to the way Premier Brown has been putting it so he ends up coming off like he agrees with and supports the Premier's argument for independence. With the Premier's popularity rating being so low, poll rating high against it and apprehension from the international business community about independence does it really make sense to be using such phrasing let alone tackling the issue with his own personal views now of all times?
The simple answer was that it's a decision for the people. End statement. Anything more and you're more likely to push away more support than gain it. This just doesn't seem like a very solid PR move and will raise a great many questions for the party at a time when they're still trying to develop momentum. Granted BDA is new and still learning but it is likely worthwhile that they learn to avoid these kinds of unnecessary predicaments pretty quickly because public opinion can be pretty fickle when it really comes down to it, especially on highly controversial issues like independence.