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All change for PLP in Senate

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David Burt, the Premier, meets John Rankin, the Governor, after last night’s General Election triumph (Photograph courtesy of Bermuda Department of Communications)

Cabinet ministers and a senator team will be sworn in next week, it was confirmed yesterday.A government spokeswoman said that David Burt, the Premier, met John Rankin, the Governor, in the wake of the Progressive Labour Party’s landslide General Election win.She added that Mr Rankin congratulated Mr Burt on the PLP’s victory at the polls on Thursday and said that “he looked forward to working with him”.A total of six Senate seats were vacated after members of the last Upper House were elected to the House of Assembly this week.All of the Progressive Labour Party’s five senators in the last Parliament will move to the House of Assembly, as well as a One Bermuda Alliance senator.The Senate has 11 members appointed by the Governor.A total of five are appointed on the recommendation of the Premier to represent the party in power and three are nominated by the Leader of the Opposition.Another three seats are filled by independents. Two of the non-aligned senators are elected as Senate president and vice-president.James Jardine, who was an independent senator in the last Parliament, said yesterday: “I think it’s always interesting to see new faces coming into the Senate.“I think the Senate used to be a place where those of us who were perhaps a bit mature in years would reflect on legislation.”But he added: “Certainly, since I’ve been there it’s a place where a lot of those who are just starting out in the political arena are cutting their teeth and getting some experience in debate.“It’s good to see new faces, I guess, and I have no idea who will be appointed, but I’m sure they will be as good as the last bunch were.“I think we had a very good crop of people in there from both sides of the aisle. We had some excellent people.”Mr Jardine said that the Senate was “supposed to be the house of calm and mature reflection on pieces of legislation that are passed in the Lower House”.He added a review chamber also provided the opportunity “to perhaps change the legislation if it’s thought that there needs to be changes made, which doesn’t happen very often”.Mr Jardine said: “The Senate can also pass its own Bills and send them to the Lower House.”Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, Vance Campbell, Anthony Richardson, Crystal Caesar and Ianthia Simmons-Wade — who were all PLP senators — will become MPs after they won their election contests.Jarion Richardson, an OBA senator in the last Parliament, was also voted into the House of Assembly.The Bermuda Parliament website said that the island’s legislature was based on the two chamber Westminister system.It added: “This system relies heavily upon the existence of organised political parties, each laying policies before the electorate for approval.”The website added: “The party that wins the most seats at a General Election, or who has the support of a majority of members in the House of Assembly, forms the Government. “In accordance with the Bermuda Constitution, the leader of the majority party is asked by the Governor to form a Government — that is, a Cabinet. The largest minority party becomes the official Opposition with its own leader and shadow cabinet.”The website said: “Under our Constitution, Cabinet consists of the Premier and a maximum of 12 ministers from the House of Assembly. “A minimum of one minister has to be appointed from the Senate, or a maximum of two. “The minimum amount of Cabinet ministers is seven, including the Premier.”

David Burt, the Premier, meets John Rankin, the Governor, after last night’s General Election victory (Photograph courtesy of Bermuda Department of Communications)
Daivd Burt, the Premier, talks to John Rankin, the Governor in their first post-Election meeting (Photograph courtesy of Bermuda Department of Communications)
Briefing time: David Burt, the Premier, arrives at Langton Hill, Government House, to see John Rankin, the Governor, after the Progressive Labour Party’s General Election victory (Photograph courtesy of Bermuda Department of Communications)