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The Progressive Labor Party is one of the dominant political organizations in Bermuda. Currently, it’s the party of Ewart Brown, who currently sits as prime minister.  According to their website:

When the PLP was formed, Bermuda was still suffering from centuries of race-oriented policies and an oligarchal Government. It was a veritable feudal system, with only land-owners having the right to vote (they retained an extra or “plus” vote until the late 1960s, even after the right to vote at the age of twenty-five years was achieved). Additionally, racial discrimination was widely practised in the churches and the school system and the employment sector.

The Progressive Labour Party contested its first General Election just three months after its formation, in February 1963. The Party contested nine of the then thirty-six Parliamentary seats. The PLP’s first successful Members of Colonial Parliament (MCPs) were: Mr. Arnold A. Francis (Party Leader), Mr. Walter N. H. Robinson (Deputy Leader), Mrs. Lois Browne-Evans (Bermuda’s first black elected woman Member of Parliament) Mr. Russell Dismont, Mr. Cecil Clarke and Mrs. Dorothy Thompson.

Apparently, they tried hard to change fundamental goverence:

Pressure for political reform led to the Bermuda Constitutional Conference in 1966, held in London, and to which the PLP sent a delegation of its three Parliamentarians and two observers. The Progressive Labour Party with the able assistance of their legal advisor, the late Mr. Geoffrey Bing, Q.C. fought valiantly around the conference table and gained a measure of success with the abolition of the “plus” vote and more seats for Pembroke. But the PLP delegates refused to sign the majority report which enshrined many basic iniquities in the Bermuda Constitution: like the foreign resident, non-Bermudian vote, and restrictive terms of reference for drawing electoral constituency boundaries; which had been introduced in the 1960s to frustrate the popular will of the indigenous Bermudian people.

The PLP delegation were unsuccessful in their campaign for an electoral system of “one man – one vote.” Bermuda’s first Constitution restructured the voting districts into dual seat constituencies and increased the number of seats in Parliament to forty to offset the gains of four seats in Pembroke Parish. While this new constitution also lowered the voting age to 21-years (prior to this it was 25) and removed the landowners “plus” vote; it retained the foreign vote and allowed the gerrymandering of districts.

This is, of course, only a slight sampling of their history and policies.


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