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Bean wins by-election for PLP

Marc Bean won last night's Warwick South Central by-election after taking 67 percent of the votes for the Progressive Labour Party.

Devrae Noel-Simmons of the United Bermuda Party came second, with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance's Sylvan Richards just behind in his party's first ever election.

But the race to replace former Premier Ewart Brown saw a near-record low turnout, with just 40 percent of eligible voters braving cold winds and heavy rain at St Mary's Church Hall throughout the day.

Emerging smiling and tearful to huge and prolonged cheers at around 9.15pm, Mr Bean immediately dedicated victory to his friend Kirk Simons, who was killed in a road accident on Saturday.

“I'm peaceful,” he told

The Royal Gazette. “I dedicate this to Kirk Simons. I dedicate all this to him.”

On the man he will replace as local MP, Mr Bean said: “Who? It's my turn now. The future will tell how it goes.”

The former Junior Tourism Minister said he had no ambitions to walk into a Cabinet position, saying: “I'm driven by inspiration, not ambition. Inspiration is from God, ambition is from the devil.”

He told the media: “The people have spoken. I would like to express my gratitude to the voters of 26. Their love and loyalty will be mutually reciprocated back to them as their representative.”

Of 1,149 registered voters, 458 votes were cast, with 310 for Mr Bean, 78 for Mr Noel-Simmons and 70 for Mr Richards. Dr Brown had claimed 69 percent of the votes in the 2007 General Election meaning that, combined, the UBP and BDA fared marginally better than the UBP did last time.

The 40 percent turnout was slightly higher than the record low of 39 percent at last summer's Pembroke East Central by-election won by Michael Weeks of the PLP.

Premier Paula Cox, one of a large number of Government MPs to support the man who becomes the PLP's youngest MP, said: “Our new MP fought a clean fight and he was a qualified candidate. That's what the voters recognised and respected.

“I congratulate him and look forward to him in the House of Assembly.”

Ms Cox would not be drawn on whether he would be given any specific role, saying only: “Mr Bean has shown already that he's been prepared to serve and that's where he's focused.”

She added in a statement: “Marc Bean is a thinker, cares passionately about his community and connects with people. I consider him to be a worthy addition to the PLP Government team and am personally very pleased for him and proud of him and how he conducted himself.

“It took blood, sweat and tears. He has earned his spurs and I know that he knows that there is much work to be done and is ready, willing and able to do his part.”

Mr Bean's brother Delvin Bean, who was with him throughout the day, said: “Marc's been through some hard times and he's managed to work it out. Very well. I'm very proud of him.”

Mr Noel-Simmons in hospital recovering from surgery to remove his appendix said: “I'm a little disappointed with the number of people that came out to vote.

“I have no concern about the BDA. I was hoping to get closer to the PLP.”

Mr Richards said: “I'm disappointed. However, looking at the result, for a party that's been in existence for just over a year it became a close thing. Eight voters separated the BDA from the UBP.

“However, the Bermuda voter needs to look at the quality of the candidate. I'm questioning whether they did that today.

“I think it's a question of political culture. There are certain voters that are so beholden to the party that they are going to vote party rather than candidate.”

UBP leader Kim Swan congratulated Mr Bean for his doorstep campaign focusing on local issues but also spoke of the low turnout.

“A resounding amount of people didn't vote,” said Mr Swan.

“There's a tremendous amount of people out there who felt they needed not to come out for whatever reason.

“As a political party that has to figure out how we can win Government, we need to convince our people to be committed to their constituency for the long haul.

“I'm very proud of Devrae. He came out, got plugged in and campaigned hard on the doorstep.”

BDA chairman Michael Fahy said: “The result may be disappointing to some, but in my view we have come a very close third and I think it demonstrates to the Country that there needs to be some serious change from the status quo. We will continue to represent those people that have put faith in us.

“Sylvan should be congratulated for making history and we are proud of him.”

Well done: The Progressive Labour Party's Marc Bean is congratulated by Premier Paula Cox outside the polling station at St Mary's Church Hall, in Warwick, after winning the Warwick South Central by-election last night.

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Published December 16, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 16, 2010 at 7:25 am)

Bean wins by-election for PLP

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