Family reasons behind Baron decision to quit
Family reasons and new career opportunities are behind One Bermuda Alliance rising star Jeff Baron’s decision to quit politics.
Mr Baron said the decision came at a “critical time” in his life. He added: “Now is the time where I had to take a good look at the next five years or so.
“This is a critical time for me personally, with an eight-year-old son.
“I have five Christmases left with him and five Cup Matches left with him before I’m not the centre of his universe.
“So I know in my heart it’s the right decision as a father, aside from the professional opportunity that I’ve grabbed.”
Mr Baron told The Royal Gazette he was not able to discuss his new job, but that “the process took six months”.
Mr Baron explained that a charity motorcycle trip in America last year had played a “big part” in his decision.
He said: “A long ten hours sitting on a motorcycle on a wide-open highway with the same view for literally half a day will really get your mind racing — not just the engine.”
He said at the time of the trip he was considering two potential career opportunities.
Mr Baron said: “If I accepted or was offered the opportunity, I would have had to leave politics for either of them.
“I had to come to terms with ‘Is that something I am going to do?’”
Mr Baron said his absences from the House of Assembly were in part because he had to attend “various interviews and other processes” relating to his new position, as well as other opportunities.
He added: “It was quite a busy winter, and a very competitive process.”
Mr Baron said there was a “reflexive assumption that those who sit in the House are doing the people’s work, but I’ve seen first-hand that just wasn’t the case. That’s a sad reality, but it is a reality.”
Jeanne Atherden, Leader of the OBA, thanked Mr Baron “for his service to Bermuda, Constituency 25, and to the party”.
Ms Atherden added: “Jeff is leaving politics to pursue other personal endeavours. On behalf of the party, we wish him much success.”
Michael Dunkley, the former Premier, said that he was “surprised and disappointed” by Mr Baron’s decision to quit.
He added: “The sudden resignation with little notification to his colleagues brings to an end his short and promising political service.”
Mr Dunkley said he was “acutely aware” of the difficult task of “juggling family, politics and employment”.
He added: “Mr Baron is not the first one to face this challenge. It was evident in his case during House sittings but I am pleased to learn he has secured employment and is focused on his young son.”
The departure of Mr Baron, seen as a popular candidate, will increase pressure on the One Bermuda Alliance in the wake of its bruising defeat in last year’s General Election, which left it with 12 seats to the Progressive Labour Party’s 24.
Warwick North East was held by Mark Pettingill of the OBA, who left the party in March 2017, but remained as an independent and quit politics when the 2017 General Election was called.
He lost in Pembroke South East to the PLP’s Rolfe Commissiong in the 2012 General Election that propelled the OBA to power, and was subsequently appointed to the Senate.
Mr Baron was later appointed chairman of the inter-agency gang task force and became Minister of National Security in 2016.
Mr Baron said when he announced his 2012 run that he was “taking this step to help bring change to Bermuda, change to safer communities, change that better educates our children, change that creates jobs for everyone who wants one, and change for representation that is always available”.
Mr Baron, 42, served as a police sergeant before he entered politics and also worked as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in war-torn Kosovo.
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