Mathias critical of party’s line-up

  • Speaking out: Justin Mathias

    Speaking out: Justin Mathias

A former chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance claimed that the party’s Shadow Cabinet stimulated little excitement among supporters.

Justin Mathias acknowledged that members of Parliament were speaking up more often but claimed residents felt this could be replicated to a greater extent within the wider community.

He said last week: “From being an outsider in the last year,I have seen glimmers of hope seeing some MPs being a little more vocal than what was the case under previous administrations.

“The Senate team has really outshone their lower house colleagues, but that’s due in large part to the leadership of senator [Nick] Kempe.

“But it also still stands that there’s a back bench that is being underutilised for superficial reasons and a Shadow Cabinet that doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm from our supporters or reflects a realistic government in waiting.”

Jeanne Atherden, Michael Dunkley and Trevor Moniz were sidelined last year after their eight colleagues backed a motion to oust Ms Atherden from her role as Leader of the Opposition and replace her with Craig Cannonier.

Ms Atherden, a former United Bermuda Party chairwoman, lost her shadow finance brief to Nick Kempe, who also became Opposition Senate Leader.

The national security and legal affairs portfolios were taken away from Mr Dunkley and Mr Moniz respectively. Both are former UBP MPs.

Mr Mathias admitted he had not been involved in the party for almost a year, so could not comment on its inner workings.

He said: “What I have heard from my constituents and members of the community is that they want to see an Opposition that is more vocal and present within the community.

“This is also nothing new and I sympathise with the current leader in his efforts to bring about those voices and teach his members how to be Opposition members because it was the same struggle for the two leaders before him.

“It’s not easy being in Opposition and the leader cannot do everything on his or her own and I hope that his members are finally realising that and are waking up to their sworn duty.”

Mr Mathias believed there were opportunities to unite the party and make it stronger.

He said: “There are so many people that want to get involved, but are repelled by the tactics of the past and they are now weighing whether it is constructive to get involved with the party or start anew

“I hope for the party’s sake that he executes on those opportunities sooner rather than later.”

However, an OBA insider said Mr Cannonier had taken a “fragmented” party and pulled members together under a strong leadership. The source added: “We’ve got a huge fight ahead of us and it’s going to take somebody like Craig to lead us and to also lead the country ... the country needs us.”

When asked if the party was united, the well-placed insider said: “We’re still a family,

“Are we united 100 per cent? We still have our issues as most families do, but it’s a whole lot better than what it was.”

The Royal Gazette asked the Progressive Labour Party to offer any comment on the state of the Opposition since Mr Cannonier took over as its leader.

A spokeswoman said: “The leadership or lack thereof of the One Bermuda Alliance is something for their MPs and membership to discuss.

“The Progressive Labour Party is focused on delivering on the mandate given to us in 2017. We are steadily working our way through delivering on our campaign promises while tackling other topical issues which have arisen.

“There is much to be done to make our country fairer and we are solely focused on delivering on that promise.

“The One Bermuda Alliance, during its term in power, did all that it could to increase the divide in Bermuda, and we are acutely focused on doing what we can to reduce the divisions and create more opportunities for Bermudians.”

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Published Oct 7, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 7, 2019 at 8:10 am)

Mathias critical of party’s line-up

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