Baron predicts OBA will struggle in by-election

  • Family reasons: Jeff Baron has resigned from the One Bermuda Alliance and his seat in Parliament representing Warwick North East constituency (File photograph)

    Family reasons: Jeff Baron has resigned from the One Bermuda Alliance and his seat in Parliament representing Warwick North East constituency (File photograph)

The One Bermuda Alliance could struggle to hold the Warwick North East constituency, former area MP Jeff Baron predicted.

Mr Baron, who resigned yesterday for “family reasons”, said that it would be difficult for the party to retain Constituency 25.

He added: “The voters are clever. They’re going to look at the candidates.”

He said there was support for both the OBA and the Progressive Labour Party in the area, but that voters “really take time to drill down on some significant issues”.

Mr Baron added: “I think the current government will have a hard time addressing some questions regarding a lot of different topics.

“You’ll have difficult questions for the Opposition, whom the public have felt they want to hear a bit more from nationally.”

The former Shadow Minister of National Security was speaking after he announced that he was to quit politics, which will force a by-election.

Mr Baron said that the OBA would “circle their wagons and come up with a strategy” in the run-up to the vote to select his replacement.

He emphasised that he would have “no say” in who his former party picked to run in the constituency.

Mr Baron added: “I am not going to endorse anyone, either.”

He said he wished constituents in the area “the very best in their decision-making”.

Mr Baron said: “What you learn very quickly in politics is that the voters are never wrong.”

He thanked everyone who had come out to cast a vote in the General Election last July — not only those who backed him.

Mr Baron said: “I walked away with a hard-earned win and was the only OBA candidate to take a Warwick seat.

“The entire constituency engaged and they made a choice.”

Mr Baron said he would continue a public-service role despite his decision to leave the House of Assembly.

“I’ve made it very clear that I am going to continue to serve the community in various ways,” he added. “Whatever it takes.”

Mr Baron won the constituency by a margin of 493-428 over PLP candidate Kathy Lynn Simmons, who has since been appointed a senator and Attorney-General as the Minister of Legal Affairs.

Warwick North East was earlier held by Mark Pettingill, who left the OBA in March 2017 amid disillusionment with the party to sit as an independent. He did not contest the General Election.

Mr Pettingill ruled out another run in the constituency yesterday.

He added: “And certainly not for the OBA, who should consider letting an independent run there in the interests of creating a viable Opposition.”

Jeanne Atherden, the Opposition leader, said Mr Baron’s resignation was “an opportunity to have some of the younger members get involved and get a seat in the House”.

She added: “We have talked recently about getting more people to be candidates, so this ties into that quite well.”

Ms Atherden said she expected a “fiercely fought” campaign in Warwick North East.

“We have plans to be out there on the doorstep,” she added. “We plan to talk to people about what we stand for so they know what their representative will do for them.”

Ms Atherden said the OBA was still a valid Opposition.

“We have had the opportunity to discuss what we stand for and what we want to say when we are on the doorsteps. We are all committing ourselves to go out and have these conversations.”

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.”

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Published Apr 26, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 26, 2018 at 1:55 pm)

Baron predicts OBA will struggle in by-election

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