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Cole Simons to lead the OBA after unopposed bid

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Cole Simons, the new leader of the One Bermuda Alliance (File photograph)

Cole Simons is to be the unopposed new Leader of the Opposition, the One Bermuda Alliance confirmed today.

The party said Mr Simons was elected by acclamation after the deadline for nominations passed last Friday.

Mr Simons replaced Craig Cannonier, who became leader just after the OBA was formed in 2011.

The move will be ratified at the party’s conference on November 2.

The OBA also announced several shadow Cabinet appointments.

Mr Cannonier is now shadow Minister for Public Works, as well as tourism.

Scott Pearman is shadow Minister for Legal Affairs and Transport

Susan Jackson is the shadow Minister for Education, Social Development and Seniors

Michael Dunkley is shadow Minister for National Security and Health

Jarion Richardson is shadow Minister for Labour, Home Affairs, and the Cabinet office, including economic development.

Mr Simons will also take on the role of shadow Minister of Finance.

Mr Simons thanked Mr Cannonier for his service, as well as Leah Scott, the former deputy leader of the party.

The party said Mr Simons would announce the OBA Senate team and the rest of the shadow Cabinet “over the next few days”.

The post of leader and deputy leader are both open to OBA MPs only.

The chairmanship and deputy chairmanship are open to “any OBA member in good standing”.

The OBA executive will be decided at another meeting on November 3.

Catherine Kempe and Justin Mathias are the contenders for the job of party chairman.

Mr Simons thanked Mr Cannonier for his service, as well as Leah Scott, the former deputy leader of the party.

Mr Cannonier, the OBA’s first premier, faced a tough political future in the wake of the OBA’s massive defeat at the polls in this month’s General Election.

Mr Simons, the MP for Smith’s South and a former education minister, was among six OBA candidates to win their seats on October 1.

The rest were Mr Cannonier, Mr Dunkley, also a former premier, Ms Jackson, Mr Pearman and newcomer Mr Richardson.

The election was a disaster for the OBA, which lost five seats to the ruling Progressive Labour Party.

Mr Cannonier said afterwards he would have to “sit down and take a few days and think about what it is I want to do next”.

But he declared a week later that the party was “not going anywhere” and affirmed its commitment to “fairness, equity, opportunities and good governance”.

Mr Cannonier could not be contacted for comment today.

Mr Simons, a banking executive first elected in 1998 as part of the former United Bermuda Party, rose to deputy leader of the UBP in 2008.

Mr Simons was among the mass resignations from the party three years later that led to the creation of the OBA, where he started as shadow environment minister.

He became Government Whip after the OBA won power in 2012.

His first Cabinet role was Minister of the Environment in 2016, and he took the role of education minister in February the next year.

Mr Simons became shadow education minister, with economic development added to his portfolio the following year, after the OBA lost power at the 2017 General Election.

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Published October 27, 2020 at 11:14 pm (Updated October 27, 2020 at 11:13 pm)

Cole Simons to lead the OBA after unopposed bid

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