Craig Cannonier speech
More Opposition MPs will quit, says Cannonier
The Leader of the Opposition said yesterday that he expected more politicians to resign as he revealed his party’s candidate for a by-election.
Craig Cannonier said he was “delighted” to announce that Vic Ball, a former One Bermuda Alliance senator, will fight to fill the Smith’s West seat left in the wake of Trevor Moniz quitting the House of Assembly after nearly three decades.
Mr Moniz said there was a need to “bring new blood to the House of Assembly”.
Mr Cannonier was asked if other party veterans such as Michael Dunkley and Jeanne Atherden could follow Mr Moniz.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“Well, I think if you look at both sides of the Government, the OBA and the Progressive Labour Party, we have very senior members within, so I anticipate that there will be some on the PLP side as well as continued on the OBA side. Twenty-seven years [for Trevor Moniz] is a long time.”
Ms Atherden, who started her political career as a United Bermuda Party senator in 2008, then secured her seat as an OBA MP in the 2012 and 2017 general elections, said later: “As long as I am enjoying being a Member of Parliament, I will continue to be there.
“I would like to think that I have interest in the community, I have ideas in terms of how I can be supportive of the initiatives and at the point in time that I make a different decision, then I’ll make it.”
Mr Dunkley, first elected to the House as a UBP member in 1997, became a senator in 2007, then won a seat as an MP under the OBA in 2012. He said yesterday: “I’m still relatively young, I do believe that experience matters.”
The 62-year-old added: “If the Lord gives me health, I’m still dedicated to serving the people of Bermuda and I have no intention of going anywhere at this point in time. I believe with my experience I still have a lot to offer, especially in these challenging and turbulent times.
“We have a very difficult road ahead of us and I believe now would be the wrong time for me to walk away.”
Mr Dunkley said: “I look forward as an Opposition member in doing the job of holding the PLP to account and also supporting and suggesting good initiatives for the betterment of Bermuda and the people we serve.”
Mr Ball, who sat in the Upper House between 2014 and 2017, said he planned “to put forward ideas that promise a brighter future and to commit to putting those ideas to action” when his candidacy was announced at a press conference yesterday.
He added that he intended to “deliver on the OBA’s promise of representing the interests of all Bermudians”.
Mr Ball, who was supported by his wife, Katrina, and sons, Elijah, 11, and Enoch, 8, said: “The goal of good government is to move our country forward for the good of all Bermudians.
“We need working-class Bermudians just as much as we need those who create employment opportunities.
“No segment of our country is insignificant, unimportant or irrelevant.
“The choice that I am presenting today is for us to move forward in a positive direction of government representing all of our interests while developing and utilising all of our human resources.”
Mr Ball claimed that it was “abundantly clear that things are going wrong for our country”.
He said that the PLP “would love to blame Covid-19”, but added that the pandemic had only made “a bad situation much worse”.
Mr Ball highlighted problems related to the cost of living, education, employment and the “debt burden”.
He said: “We are now a hopelessly divided country where instead of pulling together to solve problems, the PLP stoke emotions about race and class to divert our attention away from these problems.
“The net result is that the problems and challenges are getting worse with no end or solutions in sight.”
Mr Ball added that there was speculation of a snap election, which he claimed the PLP would do only “as their best chance of being re-elected”.
He said: “They cannot see a way out of our current predicament and challenges, so they want to rope voters in while they still can, to secure political opportunities for themselves and the PLP elite.
“If their strategy is successful, it is only downhill after that.
“It is for these reasons, I have decided to no longer stand on the sidelines without contributing to change the course from this downward direction.”
Mr Ball, from Warwick, said that he had canvassed in Smith’s West — Constituency 9 — for the past month.
He added: “I’m always a phone call away or always an e-mail away from anyone that has any concerns, and I will be there to handle those concerns as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.”
The PLP later claimed that the Opposition’s choice of candidate exposed “hypocrisy” after Mr Ball did not declare a conflict of interest over a government contract, which was revealed as part of a Commission of Inquiry in 2016.
• To read the speeches from Vic Ball and Craig Cannonier, click on the PDFs under “Related Media”
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