Who is really stirring the OBA pot?
It is increasingly obvious that whoever is running the One Bermuda Alliance has decided to minimalise the amount of time that Cole Simons is allowed to get in front of a camera, speak in Parliament and put out press statements in his name.
Undeniably, his appearances have been slim to none. Meanwhile, persons such as Scott Pearman and Michael Dunkley have become omnipresent. Additionally, there has been a concerted effort to give more airtime to recently appointed deputy leader Jarion Richardson.
So, why does Mr Dunkley have more camera time than Mr Simons?
By their own account, Mr Dunkley is not even the deputy leader of the OBA. Yet, no matter the topic, there he is in front of the camera or in the newspaper. One could be forgiven if they thought Mr Dunkley is still the leader, as it plays out that way in Parliament as well.
During debates in committee, persons such as Mr Pearman and Mr Richardson tend to be the ones who speak on specific points and clauses of legislation being put forward. Giving credit where credit is due, they actually do raise valid points at times. This indicates that they have gone over the legislation meticulously.
However, when it comes to open debates during the motion to adjourn, the singular voice, if any at all, is ... drum roll, please ... Michael Dunkley.
Once again, Mr Simons is conspicuously absent from any significant contribution to the political discourse.
What this says in political terms is that the OBA is devoid of any real ideology that can resonate with the voting population. Clearly, if Michael Dunkley is the one with the most camera time, then it has not truly not evolved beyond its United Bermuda Party foundations.
The very same Michael Dunkley has been extremely successful in local elections in two different constituencies; primarily because he actually does get out and connects with his voters all year long. On that point, many politicians can take a page out of his book.
Yet, on a national level, he has never been able to lead the UBP or the OBA to any level of success.
Take your minds back to the General Election of December 2007. The UBP loses that election to the Progressive Labour Party. Then recall that, post-2012, the OBA lost not one but four by-elections and two General Elections to the PLP.
What was the common thread, you ask?
Well, Michael Dunkley was the leader of both the UBP and the OBA when those first two General Elections were lost. That must be a first, at least in Bermuda history, for one person to lose as leader of two different parties.
Oh wait, how could one forget. The UBP and the OBA are the same party, just with different names.
So if someone has such a poor track record of electoral leadership, why is it that they are the constant face of the party in both the media and in Parliament? Is it that there is no one else who can actually articulate the OBA’s views? Or is it a simple case of one person always wanting to be in the spotlight?
Whatever it may be, in the public eye, Cole Simons is clearly not the one in charge. Nor could he be in charge when the bell rings. One is left to wonder who will lead them into the next General Election. Will it be Scott Pearman, Jarion Richardson or Michael Dunkley?
Will the real OBA leader please stand up.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org