OBA members to vote on leadership rule change
Members of the One Bermuda Alliance are to vote on rule changes that would see its leader's term extended from two to four years.
The vote, to be held at the party's Reid Street headquarters on Thursday and Friday, comes ahead of a leadership vote at the party's general conference on October 19, as Premier Craig Cannonier's first two-year term comes to an end.
Party executives are asking the membership to ratify a slew of other changes to the rule book.
Besides doubling the term for the leader and deputy leader, party chiefs are seeking to ensure that those standing for the two posts are Members of Parliament, the party announced in its newsletter to members last week.
The changes would also qualify all members for selection to the candidate selection committee, and disqualify as adopted candidates those who fail to win a seat in a general election.
Currently, the candidate selection committee is controlled by the leader, deputy leader and chairperson and their appointees.
Party chiefs want to ensure that whoever is selected as leader at the October 19 conference is in place to lead the party at the next general election.
Mr Cannonier won the leadership at the party's first leadership contest in September 2011, beating contender Bob Richards by 344 votes to 330 after delivering a rousing speech promising the OBA would fix the Island's social and economic problems and not duck the issue of race.
He became the first non MP to lead a political party in Bermuda, taking over from now retired MP John Barritt who had been appointed interim leader when the party was formed in May that year,
In January, The Royal Gazette reported that the governing document contained a provision that only MPs could be voted in as leader, drawing criticism from Mr Barritt who said in January that he was under the impression that the leadership was open to members at large.
But party chairman Thad Hollis said then that the provision was waived for the first leadership election in order to broaden the pool of potential contenders, and the party was now open to changing the rules to broaden eligibility to include all its approved candidates.
It is unclear why the OBA is now describing the provision as a “headline change” to its members.
Last night Mr Hollis would only say that both the existing and the proposed constitution are on the OBA website and that the party felt it important for its members to have their say.