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Democracy in action

September 20, 2011 Dear Sir, May I share with you and your readers an uplifting experience that I recently had? This past weekend I attended the leadership convention for the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA). Before the convention I was wondering whether or not it was worth me going, as I had become disillusioned with the political process. However, my curiosity got the better of me. I wondered to myself who would be there, how many people would attend and would it be worth my while. Having arrived early I had no problem with parking and thought to myself, wow! Maybe this is going to be a waste of time. I proceeded to the lobby bar and met one of my old friends. We discussed why we were there over a 'Dark and Stormy'. I couldn't help notice streams of people passing by as time went on. To my surprise people from all walks of life, many old and recent friends, together with many people that I did not know were there for the meeting. Outside of the main hall, people were lined up to join the OBA so as to participate in this historic occasion, where an ordinary member could elect the leader. After the membership procedure had been completed, we gathered in the hall where the various candidates were to give their speeches. The meeting was MC'd by Dr Kathy Michelmore, former chairman Michael Fahy and new chairman Thad Hollis. Various positions were to be decided by secret ballot including two Deputy Chairpersons, Deputy Leader and Leader of the OBA. Having listened to all of the speeches, I detected a common theme. There was a concern for the future of Bermuda and the need for change. All of the participants seemed to be sincere in giving their thoughts on how they could contribute to bettering Bermuda. They also shared with us some of their personal history and experience. With the speeches concluded, we then went through the process of casting our votes. It seemed a long time before the chairman, Mr Hollis, came out to announce the results. I thought of going home but the atmosphere was charged with anticipation on who was going to emerge victorious. I was happy that I remained as I don't think that I could have gone home and to bed, without knowing the results. I was happy that I remained to witness what was going to happen next. Mr. Hollis proceeded to the podium to give the results. Congratulations to Mr Branco and Mrs Atherden in their election to deputy chairpersons. Mrs Magnum you were outstanding as well. It was unfortunate that there could only be two and not three people in that position. Congratulations to Michael Dunkley for his election as deputy leader of the OBA. To have a person of the calibre of Trevor Moniz as the runner up shows the depth of quality leaders that we have within the alliance. By this time, everyone was in anticipation to learn who the new leader would be. Mr Cannonier and Mr Richards both gave heartfelt, motivating and dynamic speeches. It was tough to pick a winner, but there could only be one. I chose my person, let me say without revealing, it was a difficult choice to make as I knew that both were capable of leading the OBA. When Mr Cannonier was announced as leader, the hall erupted. Mr Richards was gracious in defeat and pledged to support Mr Cannonier and the OBA going forward. I remember feeling uplifted and filled with hope that with this team the future for Bermuda suddenly became a lot brighter. I then drove home thinking, could Bermuda be heading in a new direction? UPLIFTED Warwick

A packed house applauds as interim leader John Barritt speaks at the One Bermuda Alliance leadership election on September 10.