Gordon-Pamplin tops list of OBA surprises
The One Bermuda Alliance unveiled new and returning candidates for the upcoming General Election — but not enough to fight in all 36 seats.
The party put forward a slate of 31 candidates yesterday, including the surprise nomination of veteran MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, who it was believed would not run in the election.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin, who stepped down from Paget West earlier this month, switched to Devonshire East where she will take on Christopher Famous, of the Progressive Labour Party.
She said: “I never told anybody that I was retiring because at the time that I handed over Constituency 23 — while retirement would have been great — I also said that I would make myself available to ensure that Bermuda was still well represented. So if I was needed, then I would be here.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin said she lived near Devonshire East and looked forward to going head-to-head with Mr Famous, who defeated finance minister Bob Richards in 2017.
She said: “I’ve had incredible reports on the doorstep that he has been a very good constituency MP.
“He is, however, a representative of a party who has boasted about keeping the country safe during Covid when the reality is it is the people who acquiesced and who complied with the restrictions that kept the country safe. That’s No 1.
“He’s also a member of a party that has zero ideas in terms of economic recovery of this country.”
The OBA slate included returning candidates such as Jeff Sousa, Dwayne Robinson, Simone Barton, Charlie Swan, Scott Stewart and Nick Kempe, who had stepped down from the Senate last year so he could move to Spain for work.
Mr Kempe, who will challenge David Burt, the Premier, in Devonshire West Central for a third time, said: “I thought it was important to come back and support the team that’s come together as an alternative to the Government.
“I’ve always been a strong advocate for the party building on strengths and I wanted to stand there with the new candidates to show them support.”
Asked about his chances in the constituency, where he picked up 326 votes to Mr Burt’s 639 in 2017, he said: “I’m less concerned about my chances than I am about supporting the new slate of candidates and the team that Craig’s managed to bring together and into the room. That’s really where my focus is this campaign.”
He added: “It’s more of a protest candidacy against the way Mr Burt’s managing Bermuda’s democracy.
“I represented [Constituency] 18 in the past as a candidate for Parliament and that seemed the obvious fit for me to stand up at short notice.”
The seat is also being contested by former hunger striker Edna Matthie, of the Free Democratic Movement.
Nomination Day also included the unveiling of several new OBA candidates including Jon Brunson — a former United Bermuda Party MP — Michael Cann, Karen Magnum, James Perry, Doug DeCouto and DaQuan Scott.
Mr Scott, a 26-year-old warehouse manager who will run against the PLP’s Zane DeSilva in Southampton East, said: “I feel like it’s time for the young generation to step up and take the helm of things because we’re seeing the old people go backward and forward; they’re getting tired.
“It’s time for us to take over and step up and do our part because it’s our country.
“We’re old enough now, we can get in there, learn a couple of things while we’re there and make a good change because the country’s in some dire need and it needs some fresh blood to go in and stir some things up.”
Michael Dunkley, who will fight to maintain his seat in Smith’s North, said he has canvassed heavily to talk to residents and share his message.
Mr Dunkley said: “Right now we face the toughest challenge of my lifetime. I bring to the table experience and a steady hand — in business, in politics and in the community.
“I want to work with everyone in the House of Assembly, no matter how the chips fall after October 1, to make sure that we can rebuild through this very difficult period.
“The tough times really haven’t hit us yet. I think there’s a lot of uncertainty. People really don’t know what’s going to happen but the economy is really going to be in bad shape and I believe I have a lot to offer.”
Craig Cannonier, the leader of the OBA, said change in government is needed.
He said: “It is now time, in 2020, to see clearly that sleight of hand is not resolving the issues of Bermuda.
“After 3½ years we still don’t know where we are going. There is no excuse for that.
“You cannot offer Bermuda things like renaming of holidays when we have people who can’t eat.”
He added: “Real people want real answers and we are presenting real people in the community around the table wanting to give real answers on how we solve it.”
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