Highs and lows of political career

  • Stepping down: Then Senator, Jeffrey Baron during his time as Minister of National Security (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Stepping down: Then Senator, Jeffrey Baron during his time as Minister of National Security (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Jeff Baron spoke for the One Bermuda Alliance on national security before the party assumed power in 2012, and law and order remained in his portfolio over a sometimes colourful political career.

Mr Baron was appointed as special adviser to Michael Dunkley, the former Premier, in 2013 while serving as senator and Junior Minister for National Security. He held the position until April 2016.

He hit the headlines in 2014 when a scuffle outside the Swizzle Inn at Bailey’s Bay resulted in a 46-year-old man being charged with assaulting him.

The incident went to trial a year later.

Mr Baron told the court that he had attempted to stop an intoxicated customer from driving with a woman and toddler in his car, but counsel for the accused likened his conduct to “Captain America”.

Magistrate Archibald Warner faulted the senator’s conduct, and the accused man was cleared of wrongdoing.

Mr Baron offered one of the OBA’s rare critiques of the island’s racial dynamic from the Senate in June 2015, when he urged locals to “call off the inciteful and hateful language without giving up the reality that we have to have these conversations”.

In his first speech as Minister of National Security, Mr Baron addressed roads deaths and gun violence.

In his new role, he managed the Cash Back for Communities programme, which donated criminal proceeds to community groups.

His portfolio also included the Royal Bermuda Regiment and natural disasters — such as Hurricane Nicole in October 2016.

Mr Baron also waded into the island’s debate over same-sex marriage.

He joined fellow senators in rejecting a Bill to amend the Human Rights Act to define marriage as between a man and a woman only in 2016.

A vocal supporter of marriage equality, Mr Baron stuck to his guns in 2017 as an Opposition senator and dismissed the Domestic Partnership Bill, which replaced same-sex marriages with a partnership arrangement, as “a flimsy attempt at appeasement and middle ground”.

Just before voters went to the polls for the General Election in 2017, Mr Baron condemned a racially offensive Facebook post by his sister.

His election to the House came as the OBA was thrashed at the polls, with political observers, including former Attorney-General Phil Perinchief, saying Mr Baron was the fresh blood needed to lead the party.

But as Mr Baron set off across the American Southwest on a motorcycle to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters last December, his departure from politics was already on his mind.

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Published Apr 26, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 26, 2018 at 7:59 am)

Highs and lows of political career

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