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<b>Alex Scott considers election departure</b>

<b>Former Premier Alex Scott could bring his long House of Assembly career to an end at the next General Election.</b><br><br><b>The veteran Progressive Labour Party politician - a party officer, Senator, MP, Minister and Premier since the 1970s - says "the political jury is still out" on whether he will attempt to retain the Warwick seat he's held for 17 years.</b><br><br><b>Mr. Scott said he considered retiring before the election two years ago, but was talked into staying by his constituents.</b>

Former Premier Alex Scott could bring his long House of Assembly career to an end at the next General Election.

The veteran Progressive Labour Party politician — a party officer, Senator, MP, Minister and Premier since the 1970s — says "the political jury is still out" on whether he will attempt to retain the Warwick seat he's held for 17 years.

Mr. Scott said he considered retiring before the election two years ago, but was talked into staying by his constituents.

And he told The Royal Gazette he plans to carry on speaking up for his residents as a backbencher, even if it incurs the wrath of diehard PLP members who want him to toe the party line.

He was talking to this newspaper about his role as the long-serving member for Warwick South East as part of our Up Your Street series.

"I was seriously considering retiring — I was heading towards the light switch just prior to the last election," he said.

"I had ceased to be Premier, I had been an MP since 1993. I was quite happy to move to my next challenge, but I was asked by the community to do one more time."

Asked whether he will stay beyond the next election, he said: "The political jury is still out. When the Premier goes to Government House and the writ is dropped, and they turn and say, 'Who is going to be available as potential candidates?' I will have to decide whether I will throw my hat in the ring."

Many young party members are said to be waiting in the wings to challenge for seats held for many years by MPs such as Mr. Scott, Sandys MP Walter Lister and House Speaker Stanley Lowe.

But Mr. Scott said: "No one has ever openly put pressure on Alex Scott to step down. The conversation that goes on when I go out the door? Well, that's the cut and thrust."

The backbencher said his role until his departure will be to stand up for his constituents on key issues such as Southlands.

"When I was Premier I had responsibility to represent not only the PLP, but all Bermudians," he said.

"Now I'm the elected member of Constituency 24, I'm no longer Premier, I don't have the burden of carrying solely the interests of Government.

"Folks put me in at the last election. I got 100 votes more than I did on the election before. I put it down to the fact that I represented the residential concerns of Southlands versus the Government at that time.

"I have no difficulty coming down on the side of the residents. That way I serve the constituents and Government; I have the potential to broaden the support of Government."

However, he said party members have questioned his loyalty to the PLP because of his comments in the newspapers.

Mr. Scott argued: "I don't rush to the press, but when you call it's a wonderful opportunity to do just what we are doing now [discussing constituency issues].

"That's within the rules. I would be doing a disservice to the residents if I just said whatever Government would want.

"You will never, ever, see Alex Scott cross the floor, or leave the party — cut me and I bleed green and white — but it doesn't mean I march in lockstep to all that transpires.

"On occasion I may not be in line with either party dogma or Government or Cabinet articulated views. When I differ I choose to differ respectfully.

"I do think the occasions I'm in the press concerns some of my colleagues. I have been made aware that they sometimes aren't comfortable with my public utterances. I don't do it to be mischievous, I do it to carry out in my view my elected responsibility.

"There's a whole different group of political rules and practices that govern how you manage yourself as a backbencher. I know that I have to take into consideration that I did happen to be a former Premier. When I do speak it's, I hope, in measured terms.

"I don't think I have ever publicly contradicted the current Premier's position, except when we had the Parliamentary discussion on the current leadership."

Former Premier Alex Scott

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Published February 11, 2011 at 11:50 am (Updated February 11, 2011 at 11:50 am)

<b>Alex Scott considers election departure</b>

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