Some well-known PLP MPs may soon bow out – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Some well-known PLP MPs may soon bow out

The coming year could be the year a succession of faces synonymous with the Progressive Labour Party's rise to power finally move out of the spotlight.The Royal Gazette about the increasing prominence of young people although all three said they were unlikely MPs themselves in the near future.

Thirteen years after the PLP's famous first election victory, 12 of that victorious team still hold seats in the House of Assembly a permanent reminder of the party's most glorious night but a perennial source of frustration for young hopefuls trying to force their way in.

However, if Premier Paula Cox calls a general election this year, several long-serving MPs could quickly be following Ewart Brown down the road to retirement whether they want to or not.

Walter Lister has already announced he'll step down in Sandys South Central, former Premier Alex Scott has hinted he'll do the same in Warwick South East and Speaker Stanley Lowe has long been considered a likely retiree in Southampton East.

Others could find themselves the victims of changes to the PLP's constitution which allow any party member to challenge any sitting MP in any constituency effectively opening the door to a completely fresh slate of candidates across the Island.

Wayne Perinchief and Ashfield DeVent have seen their spots publicly targeted by Walton Brown and Rolfe Commissiong respectively, while former police chief Jonathan Smith denied reports he was planning to do the same to Dale Butler.

Meanwhile sources say Randy Horton, Glenn Blakeney, Dennis Lister and Neletha Butterfield are all vulnerable to the PLP's growing wave of young members.

John Gibbons, 36, is already named as the candidate for St George's West, and 36-year-old Marc Bean was successful in the Warwick South Central by-election.

The change in guard was more obvious than ever at this October's delegates conference, when senior members took a backseat as key roles were handed out; under 45-year-olds now make up 90 percent of the new executive.

Three of those members: membership secretary Michael-Jay Landy, deputy chairwoman Kim Lightbourne and press officer Curtis Williams, spoke to

“Historically older people within the party have tended to have most of the senior roles,” said Mr Williams, 34, a risk analyst.

“Not because they have been blocked out in the past young people waited to get involved in the party until a certain age, once they had established themselves with their personal lives. Now I think a lot of younger people realise they can contribute.

“Most of our current executive is 40 and under, and we also have many more young people working at branch level. It just adds a dynamic.

“A party governs for all; you need representation from all sectors and age groups to get an accurate feel of the community.”

Ms Lightbourne, a 44-year-old teacher from Warwick Academy, said: “You can see the change with the executive. It's a smooth transition. We are still all learning and we recognise we have a lot to learn from those who have gone before us.”

Mr Landy, a 30-year-old insurance underwriter, explained why young people like himself are coming forward: “I believe we need to create a balance. We have quite a few older persons involved, and we need to make sure the younger persons have their voices heard.”

Stepping down: PLP MP Walter Lister has announced he will not seek re-election at the next general election. It is thought a number of other long-serving PLP names will do likewise.

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Published December 30, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 30, 2010 at 7:08 am)

Some well-known PLP MPs may soon bow out

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