Atherden backs Jones to succeed her as MP
A former leader of the One Bermuda Alliance is helping a fresh candidate to canvass in the constituency she represented until Parliament was dissolved last month.
Jeanne Atherden explained that she stepped aside after David Burt, the Premier, called a General Election for October 1.
Marcus Jones, who was an OBA senator in the last Parliament, will instead battle to represent Pembroke West (Constituency 19).
Ms Atherden said: “I've been out campaigning with Marcus and I'm fine.”
She added: “I had indicated that I would stand until the next election at least. Once the Premier called the election, that made some of the decisions that I had to make ... easy.
“Once the decision was made and Marcus was going to be the person to go into the constituency, I was going to be there to help him.”
Ms Atherden said: “On the doorstep, people take to him. They realise he has the commitment to Bermuda, he has the commitment to try to improve things and that he is sincere.”
She added: “I will continue to support my community and my party, but I will just do it in a different manner.
“Everybody can't be in politics. I decided I have had a good life — I've been a senator, a government minister, shadow minister, a party leader.
“I've had a rich opportunity to be in the political process.”
Ms Atherden started her political career as a United Bermuda Party senator in 2008, then won her seat as an OBA MP in the 2012 General Election and again in 2017.
She became Minister of Health, Seniors and the Environment in May 2014 and took on the finance portfolio in the Shadow Cabinet after the Progressive Labour Party returned to power in 2017.
Ms Atherden was voted in as OBA leader in November that year.
But she resigned in September 2018 after a behind-the-scenes meeting of some members of the parliamentary party passed a vote of no confidence in her leadership.
She was replaced by Craig Cannonier.
Ms Atherden said last month — before the General Election was announced — that she would continue to be an MP as long as she enjoyed the role.
She added then: “I would like to think that I have interest in the community, I have ideas in terms of how I can be supportive of the initiatives and at the point in time that I make a different decision, then I'll make it.”
Mr Cannonier said yesterday that Ms Atherden “served Spanish Point very well during her time in politics” and thanked her for her service.
He added: “We felt that moving forward, quite frankly, we had an opportunity for someone like Marcus, who's representing where the One Bermuda Alliance wants to go with the future.
“Jeanne has been fantastic while we have had her in the room. And when we sat down with her about the future of politics and where she wanted to go and where the One Bermuda Alliance and I were wanting to turn this and take this, we both agreed that now was the time to make those adjustments.”
Sylvan Richards, who was the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs and the Environment in the last Parliament, will be replaced in the battle for Hamilton South (Constituency 7) by political newcomer Robin Tucker.
Mr Cannonier said yesterday: “Sylvan was the first and only candidate to have stood for the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, and won his seat under the banner of the OBA.
“He has been a Cabinet minister and shadow minister.
“I thank Sylvan for his service and for standing with me through this political journey.”
Mr Richards was first elected to the House of Assembly in 2012 and was Minister of Environment and Planning.
He could not be contacted for comment yesterday.