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OBA MPs respect Cannonier’s decision

OBA MPs last night praised ex-Premier Craig Cannonier for stepping down as leader amid the political turbulence caused by the Jetgate row.

Junior Education Minister Leah Scott said: “I think he did what was necessary for the people of this country and the right thing to allow us to move forward.”

Ms Scott, the MP for Southampton East Central, added: “We all make mistakes and there is not one of us who can cast a stone at anyone else.

“The trouble with politics, your mistakes are on public display and you get flogged for them.”

She added: “He is a nice man, a genuine person and I think he just made some errors of judgement.”

Ms Scott was speaking after Mr Cannonier stood down and was replaced by Deputy Premier Michael Dunkley late on Monday night.

Mr Cannonier resigned after it was revealed he had met wealthy US developer Nathan Landow before the 2012 general election and that Mr Landow and other businessmen had contributed around $300,000 to an election fund, although not directly to the OBA.

Three months after winning the election, Mr Cannonier, Attorney General Mark Pettingill and Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell travelled to meet Mr Landow in the US aboard his private jet for what were said to be discussions on investment in Bermuda.

Ms Scott, who publicly apologised to her constituents for the long-running row before Mr Cannonier stood down, said that Mr Cannonier's resignation had drawn a line under to 17-month controversy — and predicted the OBA would recover.

“We have been distracted by this for long enough and it's time to get on with the business of the country and addressing the national issues which need attention,” she said.

“It's like a relationship, you have your squabbles and rows, and hopefully we will go back stronger than before.

“We campaigned on accountability and transparency and that has to be at whatever price. It's what the people deserve.”

Ms Scott said she had “not given any thought” to who she might back in a vote for a new leader due to be held later this summer.

She added: “I just want to take some time to allow us to regroup as an organisation.”

But she said: “Mr Dunkley has my full support as Premier and I'm looking forward to the days ahead and what we will be able to accomplish.”

St George's South MP Suzann Roberts-Holshouser added: “I believe Craig is a very strong man and I have been proud to stand beside him.

“I will continue to stand beside him and respect him — I look forward to doing some wonderful things for Bermuda with him.”

She said that the rules of the political game meant that capital would continue to be made out of Jetgate.

“There will always be something because someone is always vying for something rather than looking at the bigger picture for Bermuda.

“I do look forward to hopefully having an opportunity to work together to strive for the goal we're all looking for — to put Bermuda in a stronger position as we move forward.”

Ms Roberts-Holshouser said she was not aware of who might challenge Mr Dunkley for the leadership.

But she added: “I would certainly say he has my full support as we move along the process. I'm pleased as Deputy Leader he has come up to the wicket to continue the momentum. We can't be seen to be wasting any time.”

Susan Jackson, MP for Pembroke South West, said Mr Cannonier had “done what he felt was necessary in order to move the Island forward and get on with taking care of the business of the Island for the people of Bermuda.”

She added: “It's certainly been challenging for all of us and we look forward to getting down to work and doing what's best for Bermuda.”

Ms Jackson said she also had yet to think about the potential of a leadership challenge, but insisted Mr Dunkley had “her full backing.”

She added: “I'm very supportive of everybody in the party — everything falls into order according to that. I'm a team player.”

The newly sworn Premier Michael Dunkley, and his cabinet Photo Akil Simmons

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Published May 21, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated May 21, 2014 at 12:10 am)

OBA MPs respect Cannonier’s decision

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