Simons will not run for OBA in Pembroke Central

  • Andrew Simons shakes hands with the late Walton Brown during the 2017 General Election in Pembroke Central (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Andrew Simons shakes hands with the late Walton Brown during the 2017 General Election in Pembroke Central (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A former senator who twice battled to become the MP for Pembroke Central confirmed that he will not run in the upcoming by-election for the seat.

Andrew Simons was defeated at the polls for the One Bermuda Alliance at the 2012 and 2017 General Elections in Pembroke Central by the Progressive Labour Party’s Walton Brown.

Mr Brown’s sudden death this month means that a by-election for Constituency 17 will be held on November 21.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Simons said: “This is a by-election because someone has died young, died as an MP, so I haven’t had any enthusiasm for even thinking about by-elections and politics.”

He explained: “I was sad for Walton to die so young because he was totally committed to politics and to being part of public debate on political and social issues. That inevitably requires sacrifice and I respect that commitment.”

Mr Simons added: “I don’t plan to run in the by-election, I’m certainly grateful for the support I received from voters in Pembroke 17 in 2012 and 2017.

“Since moving back home to Bermuda in 2007, I’ve always tried to find ways to serve, whether it was in the [Royal Bermuda] Regiment or in politics, and I hope to continue to find ways to serve in the future.”

Mr Brown won by just six votes in 2012, but secured a massive majority of 257 with 540 votes to 283 in 2017 when the PLP returned to power in a landslide.

Mr Simons was the OBA candidate in February 2016 for the by-election in Devonshire North Central, which was won by the PLP’s Diallo Rabain.

He was sworn in as a senator a year later, but was axed after 16 months in July 2018, by then OBA leader Jeanne Atherden.

Mr Simons was seen as a serious political player by many in the party and his removal from the Senate came less than eight months after Nick Kempe was ejected from his seat in the Senate.

Ms Atherden lost a vote of no confidence as Opposition leader in September 2018 and was replaced by Craig Cannonier, who returned Mr Kempe to the Senate and made him Shadow Minister of Finance. An e-mail circulated this week suggested that David Burt, the Premier and PLP leader, told constituency 17 branch members that 293 voters were polled last Thursday.

Respondents were asked about possible PLP candidates “against prospective OBA candidate Nick Kempe”.

The e-mail said that poll results showed Jason Hayward, a PLP senator and union leader, enjoyed a 16 per cent lead over Mr Kempe compared with a 9 per cent lead for Jamaine Smith. The OBA and Mr Kempe yesterday declined to comment on who would fight the constituency.

But Mr Cannonier said: “The PLP clearly knows it is going to have a battle on its hands.”

The e-mail said that Mr Hayward was the sole candidate recommended by a party sub-committee but that 65 per cent of branch members at a meeting on Sunday voted against the recommendation.

It claimed that a motion was proposed and seconded for Ms Smith to be adopted as the PLP candidate, but that was not voted on. It suggested that the PLP “should accept the will of the members of the branch, C17”.

The e-mail added: “Kindly advise where Jamaine Smith should present herself on 29 October 2019 to be formally announced as the candidate.”

A PLP spokeswoman said that candidate selection was “an internal process”, which would not be discussed in the media.

She added that when someone was selected to fight the seat it would be announced.

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Published Oct 30, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 30, 2019 at 6:38 am)

Simons will not run for OBA in Pembroke Central

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