All-new Senate line-up for OBA
All three Opposition senators will be replaced before Parliament reconvenes next month.
Robyn Swan, Nandi Outerbridge and Justin Mathias have been told their appointments in the Upper House have ended.
A new One Bermuda Alliance line-up will take their seats after Craig Cannonier, who became leader after a vote of no confidence in Jeanne Atherden, launched an attempt to change the course of the party.
Ms Outerbridge told The Royal Gazette that Mr Cannonier had discussed the move with her and that he would be “starting with a clean slate”.
She said it meant she could now devote more energy to an event-planning company she took over this year.
Ms Outerbridge, a former St George’s MP, said: “It could be a blessing in disguise for me.
“It’s a sense of me now focusing on my business 100 per cent; that’s really what I want to do.
“When new leaders come in, they make changes that suit them.
“If that’s what he felt he had to do, I’m completely fine with that.”
Mr Mathias was already due to step down.
He had decided being a senator conflicted with his job as party chairman, from which he has since resigned.
He replaced Nick Kempe, who was axed from the Upper House by Ms Atherden last November, although he has now been reinstated as Opposition Senate leader and shadow finance minister.
The remaining two OBA appointments have yet to be announced.
Ms Outerbridge said she would not rule out a return to politics.
She added: “It’s not goodbye for ever, but in the near future? I don’t know.
“People of our age are very solution-driven, eager to not be involved in the bickering.
“I’ve been very involved in the Hamilton Parish Youth Soccer Programme for a number of years.
“I just feel like my time is better served in that position — it’s good to be hands-on in your community, not trying to fight over legislation.”
Ms Outerbridge also stood down from her role as an OBA deputy chairwoman.
She said: “I sent an e-mail to the executive just letting them know that with all of the major changes that have been taking place, I think it’s important for them to start with a clean slate all around.”
Mr Mathias was to be replaced in the Senate by Victoria Cunningham after he took over as party chairman in July.
He said he resigned that month but agreed to stay on until the end of the parliamentary session as major legislation was making its way through both houses.
Mr Mathias said: “I definitely was not coming back in November because I felt it’s a conflict of interests when it comes to the duties of the party chair.”
He added: “My focus is always going to be about the youth and getting women involved in politics; that’s something I came into the party to do.
“I never came in to have any particular front-facing role.”
Mr Mathias said he intends to keep “empowering” young people and women through involvement in the community, as well as being an OBA representative for the people of the Warwick North East constituency.
Ms Swan was appointed to the Senate in July, as a replacement for Andrew Simons, who was also dropped by Ms Atherden.
She said she understood the termination of her role was a matter of procedure owing to the leadership change and said she would see what options become available.
Mr Cannonier said yesterday he would announce the other senators “in due course”.
He added: “It is not unusual for a new leader to appoint their own team, as demonstrated with my Shadow Cabinet appointments, and I have said from the moment that I was elected as OBA leader that this party is changing course to be the party this country needs in Opposition and the party this country wants in government.”
Mr Cannonier said an election will be held to fill the deputy chairwoman vacancy created by Ms Outerbridge’s resignation.
He added: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Nandi, Robyn and Justin for their hard work and commitment to the party, and I hope they will continue to use their experience to help the party going forward.”
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