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Cole Simons sworn in as new Leader of the Opposition

Cole Simons becomes the new leader of the One Bermuda Alliance as he is is sworn in by John Rankin, the Governor (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The One Bermuda Alliance will be an effective Opposition party despite its depleted ranks, its new leader promised today.

Cole Simons said a mix of former MPs and other candidates who stood for the party in the October General Election, will work together on subcommittees set up for each Ministry to support the work of the party’s MPs and senators.

He said: “They will review legislation, review national issues and make recommendations to support the Senators and MPs.

“This is an opportunity for 32 young Bermudians who are all involved and keen to take a role to support the Opposition and its MPs and Senators.”

Mr Simons added: “It’s not just about the six MPs, and three Senators, it’s about the team.”

The veteran MP, who said he will announce his party’s three-strong Senate team tomorrow, was speaking as he was sworn in as Opposition Leader by John Rankin, the Governor, at Government House.

Mr Simons said many Bermudians, including many from the ranks of the PLP ranks, had “passed on their congratulations or commiserations to me for taking on this role”.

But he added: “All but one also indicated that Bermuda wants and needs a strong Opposition.

“They are all very nervous about a Government where there is such a concentration of unchecked power. They want the checks and balances.

“They want accountability, transparency, integrity.

“Our role as the Loyal Opposition is to address these concerns, and we will do so steadfastly.”

Mr Simons said his leadership style involved consensus.

But he warned: “There are also occasions when I will put my size 14s down and say that something is not in the best interests of the country at this particular time.”

Mr Simons said last month’s election defeat was “a bitter pill” for the party.

He added that the low voter turnout “sent a crystal clear message that many people in Bermuda feel that all is not well in Bermuda”.

Mr Simons said public concerns included the island’s economic future, job security, Bermuda’s debt burden, increasing unemployment, homelessness, the availability of healthcare, how the island delivers education and “the continued escalation of violence and deaths plaguing our small community”.

He added that “job one” for his party was “reconnecting” with the people, business community, trades unions and other stakeholders in Bermuda.

The representative for Smith’s South was elected OBA leader by acclamation as a replacement for Craig Cannonier.

He will also act as Shadow Minister of Finance.

Mr Simons paid tribute to Mr Cannonier and said his predecessor “was one of the most dedicated and engaging leaders that our team has worked with”.

He added that leading the OBA “will be one of the major privileges of my life”.

Mr Simons said: “So far, I can proudly say that our team is alive and well.

“We are rebuilding and we will continue with the spirit of service and to help rebuild this country. Our commitment is unwavering.”

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Published November 02, 2020 at 7:34 pm (Updated November 02, 2020 at 7:34 pm)

Cole Simons sworn in as new Leader of the Opposition

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