OBA source: Baron unhappy at leadership result
Former One Bermuda Alliance MP Jeff Baron was “unhappy” at the result of the post-General Election leadership conference last year, a party source said yesterday.
The source added the Warwick North East MP, who resigned from Parliament on Wednesday, was “often not engaged, whether in Parliament or in caucus”.
The leadership election was held after Michael Dunkley, the former premier, resigned in the wake of last year’s election landslide victory for the Progressive Labour Party.
Jeanne Atherden took the top job in a three-way contest with Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and former leader Craig Cannonier.
The insider, who asked to remain anonymous, said Mr Baron’s decision to quit did not come as a surprise.
The source added the OBA would “roll with the punches” and had “no sense of loss” at Mr Baron’s decision to quit politics.
The insider said: “It’s an opportunity to get different, younger people into the party.”
The source pointed out that the PLP had fallen to just seven MPs in the early 1980s, but now commanded a 24-12 majority in the House of Assembly.
The source said: “We are slowly rebuilding. I hear people say that the OBA is not a viable Opposition, but the truth is that the PLP has not had any major missteps. The atmosphere is calm.
“Whether there are 12 MPs in the OBA or two, we have to work on rebuilding.”
The insider was speaking five months after Nick Kempe, a former senator, quit as party chairman just five days into the job after a row with Ms Atherden over the party’s direction.
Mr Kempe declined to comment on the latest defection yesterday.
The source added that a by-election in Warwick North East would be “a tough slog” for any candidate.
The insider said: “I don’t think it’s going to be a landslide, or a given, for the PLP.
“Whoever gets in there is going to have to work very hard.”
The source added the ruling party’s large majority left David Burt, the Premier, “managing 23 people, which means 23 personalities and there will be camps and factions”.
The insider said: “There will be people who thought they should have been given positions, and people who supported Burt after Marc Bean became ill and stepped down as leader who will want compensation. Expectations are hard to manage.”
Mr Baron said his retirement from politics was driven by family concerns and work prospects.
• UPDATE: this article has been amended to correct that Jeff Baron was not in contention for the leadership of the One Bermuda Alliance after the resignation of Michael Dunkley. We apologise for the error
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