OBA politicians forced to double up roles
Shadow ministers in the One Bermuda Alliance have been forced to double up on responsibilities after two MPs quit the House of Assembly.
Michael Dunkley, a former premier and government reform shadow minister, has taken on responsibility for national security after the departure of Jeff Baron.
Leah Scott, deputy Opposition leader and tourism and transport shadow minister, has taken over economic development after Grant Gibbons announced his retirement from politics.
Opposition leader Jeanne Atherden said the current Shadow Cabinet represented the best options for the positions given the party’s depleted numbers.
Ms Atherden said: “I do believe it’s the best representation until such time as I have more flexibility with the new members.”
She added that she would evaluate the “expertise and skills” of any new MPs after the two by-elections.
Ms Atherden said the public should view the departures of Dr Gibbons and Mr Baron as opportunities for her party to get fresh faces into the House and Shadow Cabinet.
She added: “They should be looking forward to it with anticipation.”
Ms Atherden dismissed the idea that the OBA had failed to be a strong Opposition.
She explained: “The Government has carried out a lot of the policies that we started. So in that respective we have been supportive.”
Ms Atherden added: “Some of the new initiatives have been good for the country and if they’re good for the country we want to be supportive.
“You will find that as the next round of new initiatives comes out that the Government has as their priorities that you will see us being more vocal.”
Mr Dunkley said that the responsibility of covering two shadow portfolios would present “no issue”.
He added: “I served as premier and minister of national security for a couple of years at the same time.
“To be shadow for national security and government reform is not going to be an issue for me.”
Mr Dunkley took on the government reform portfolio more than two months ago in the wake of Craig Cannonier’s departure from the Shadow Cabinet.
Mr Dunkley said: “Because we only have ten members in the House, it’s natural that somebody is going to double up.”
He said it was not unusual for him to take both portfolios.
Mr Dunkley explained: “Government reform — I was doing that when I was the premier. I have background in it, so it was a pretty easy fit.”
He added that he had been minister of national security for a “significant” period of time.
Mr Dunkley said: “I had been a shadow minister before that, so it was easy to step up.”
He added: “Going forward, I’m happy to do what is required to allow our Opposition team to be the strongest possible.
“That’s the approach I will continue to take.”
Ms Scott said that she had not had the opportunity to set priorities for the economic development role. However, she added: “I am watching the fintech space very closely, in terms of its ability to generate jobs and bring good revenue to Bermuda.”
Ms Scott said: “I serve at the pleasure of the leader and will be happy to assume any portfolio or duty that she assigns.”
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