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‘Santa’s elf’ Cannonier won’t be coming back

Ho, Ho, Ho! What nonsense is this? Last Friday morning a friend sent me a note that read, “The RG headline today is insane”. So I checked the Gazette and immediately found the cause for disbelief. An anonymous source has claimed that Michael Dunkley was facing a leadership challenge from Craig Cannonier. Really? I guess the boys and girls at Alaska Hall must have sent many a letter to the North Pole because such a move would be the one gift that would guarantee the Progressive Labour Party a win at the next General Election.

Let's take a walk with the Ghost of Christmas Past for a moment. Back in December 2012, the PLP received quite a lump of coal by way of not only losing the general election, but also losing their party leader. No ladies dancing, and no lords a leaping — after 14 years of controversial government, the angels sang the one song the PLP didn't want to hear.

Its first reaction was to contest the win over the pettiest of technicalities. Simultaneously, “Bah humbug!” was screamed at voters for failing to vote them back in. But the one tradition that followed that unholy night of December 17 was the incessant persecution of Cannonier. Throughout his entire leadership, the PLP branded him as nothing more than one of Santa's elves. Why? Because it is absolutely critical for the PLP to undermine the credibility of black One Bermuda Alliance supporters and black PLP critics.

Sure, it was fair game to question why someone with no political experience was running the country. But the attacks against Cannonier go much deeper than that. Black flight to the OBA is a political disaster for the PLP, so Cannonier was never to be allowed to have a silent night. The same punishment was dished out to Terry Lister, Randy Horton and anyone else who refused to deck the PLP's halls.

Common sense dictates that you would have to expect similar racially polarising tactics to resume if Cannonier returned to the leadership. But this time around, the attacks would be exponentially worse because of Jetgate and the subsequent resignation of a premier over questionable conduct.

It must also be obvious to many that black OBA members are judged more harshly than PLP members. For example, while PLP members can filibuster the Commission of Inquiry with impunity, Cannonier's character still gets maligned over a supposedly secret OBA report that was published online back in 2014.

With Cannonier's resignation remaining fresh in the minds of many, what reason other than racial politricks would this idea be contemplated? By all expectations, the PLP would tell it on the mountain and jingle those bells until the day after the next election. Patter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter would be the sound you hear as the black vote flees the OBA over such a bizarre decision. Given the repeated banter about a leadership change by anonymous sources, I must ask, what is so terrible about Dunkley? Has he been naughty, or has he been nice?

• Has he maligned anyone with unsubstantiated allegations of illegal behaviour?

• Has he used or endorsed racial slurs against his detractors?

• Has he encouraged calls for political retribution?

• Has he participated in racist, misogynistic or homophobic attacks on anyone?

• Has he tried to shut the legislature down when he didn't get his way? Nope, he has done none of these things.

• Maybe some voters hate that he never lashes out at those who attack him?

• Is it that he apologises when he makes mistakes?

• Perhaps his detractors take issue with the slow but sure turnaround in the economy?

• Or is it his willingness to hold off on legislation to allow for a cooling-off period?

If you ask me, I would say that Dunkley is far from perfect. But have you seen anyone bother to ask what Cannonier, or any other potential leader, would have done differently during the latest protest? I haven't. This tells me that the real issue has little to do with Dunkley's conduct, or the OBA's policies, and everything to do with something Dunkley has in common with a certain snowman.

All things considered, what is the likelihood that the wise men and women of the OBA are seriously considering a leadership change? My guess is that it's about zero. Despite the recent protest, and the unresolved immigration protest, there are far too many positive things on Bermuda's horizon to warrant a leadership change.

Destabilising Bermuda's leadership at this point would be such a blatantly obvious bad idea that it makes me think that someone put way too much rum in the eggnog. That, or there's a Grinch about with an axe to grind who is trying to steal Dunkley's Christmas.

• To reach out to Bryant Trew, e-mail bryanttrew@mac.com

Craig Cannonier

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Published December 16, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated December 16, 2016 at 9:34 am)

‘Santa’s elf’ Cannonier won’t be coming back

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