Bermuda will know fate today

Hamilton - Tramping through debris from Hurricane Felix, Bermudians went to the polls yesterday to decide whe-ther to end centuries of British colonial rule, writes Phil Davison.

"Are you in favour of independence from Britain," said the simple postcard- sized ballot slip with boxes for "Yes" or "No." The referendum, in which 38,000 are eligible to vote, had been postponed for a day because of the hurricane, which caused extensive superficial damage but no casualties.

With so few votes to count from only 20 polling stations on the 21-square- mile strip of islands, the result was expected before dawn today. Opinion polls have suggested a clear rejection of independence, but simmering resentment among the majority black population over ingrained colonial racism is difficult to gauge.The independence issue has not only divided but confused Bermudians because it cuts across traditional party lines.

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