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New Premier’s rise has been meteoric since he entered politics in 2009

By Owain Johnston-Barnes –and Jonathan Bell

From political outsider to Premier Craig Cannonier has risen to the top of Bermuda politics in three years.

The 49-year-old businessman was raised in St David’s.

“It’s hasn’t quite sunk in yet — but it feels great,” wife Antoinette told The Royal Gazette shortly after Mr Cannonier was sworn in at Government House yesterday.

She attributed her husband’s drive to “his love for people”.

“He is someone who wants to make a difference,” she explained.

The couple are members of the Marsden First United Church. They have four children: Lakilah Spencer, Mikaela Ian Pearman, Samaela Cannonier and Trae Cannonier.

Mrs Cannonier said her own political interests leaned toward “the plight of single women and their children, struggling to make ends meet”.

Asked how she felt about the victory, Mrs Cannonier said: “It did come as a surprise, but I know he worked very, very hard. I believe it was inevitable.”

Bermuda’s new Premier studied at Towson State University in Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial psychology in 1986.

After returning to Bermuda, he worked with the MarketPlace Group and later became the general manager of People’s Pharmacy.

He now operates Esso City Tigermarket, Collector’s Hill Esso and Warwick Esso.

Although related to political figures on both sides of the fence — the late Progressive Labour Party MP Larry Lowe and former United Bermuda Party Jim Woolridge — Mr Cannonier only entered politics in late 2009.

He ignored the Island’s two main parties, and instead joined the fledging Bermuda Democratic Alliance

Months later Mr Cannonier defeated Myron Piper and was made leader of the BDA.

He held that position until the party merged with UBP members to form the One Bermuda Alliance.

Soon after the merger, Mr Cannonier defeated Bob Richards for the new party’s leadership position.

He then defeated the PLP’s Anthony Richardson in a by-election in Devonshire South Central to earn a seat as an MP.

Asked what lay ahead for the family now, Mrs Cannonier said they would all enjoy Christmas, “and then straight back to work”.

Daughter and journalist Mikaela Ian Pearman said: “It’s very surreal. I’d never have thought in my life that I would hear the word ‘Premier’ and my dad’s name attached.

“I’m very proud. Hopefully this is the change that Bermuda needs.”

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Published Dec 19, 2012 at 9:05 am (Updated Dec 19, 2012 at 9:05 am)

Rocket man

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