OBA facing ‘old against the new’ candidate battle
The fledgling One Bermuda Alliance is facing a battle between the old and the new as it prepares its slate of candidates for the general election.
Young members are said to be keen for long-serving former United Bermuda Party MPs to step aside and give the official Opposition a fresh look as it tries to stop the Progressive Labour Party retaining power for a consecutive fourth term.
However sources say some of the older politicians are showing no signs of wanting to end their careers.
The situation mirrors the fallout in the UBP after the 2007 election, which culminated in young members quitting to form the Bermuda Democratic Alliance in 2009.
It’s understood the future role of familiar faces was a key factor in the merger talks between the UBP and BDA earlier this year.
The direction of the OBA is likely to hinge on next month’s leadership election, with former BDA leader Senator Craig Cannonier said to be keen to steer the new party firmly away from its UBP connections if he can defeat his most likely challenger, former UBP leader Senator Michael Dunkley.
“Some of the older members need to step aside and make way for fresh blood,” one OBA member told
The Royal Gazette yesterday. “I’m not suggesting that people disappear forever into the sunset, but they need to make way in some of the constituencies if we are going to make progress. We’ll have to wait and see if it happens. We are still working hard on that.”
Some of the official Opposition’s veteran MPs, such as Louise Jackson, Cole Simons, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Grant Gibbons, John Barritt and Trevor Moniz, are in some of its safest constituencies.
After the last election defeat, consultants advised the party to replace some of those with new candidates who could appeal to a voting public tired of the UBP.
But one source said only Mr Barritt, who has pledged to give up his seat to allow either Sen Cannonier or Sen Dunkley a route into the House of Assembly, is a safe bet to fall on his sword.
That source said: “At least one person had agreed to step down in the summer, but now it’s beginning to look like it did a couple of years ago, where they don’t want to go anywhere after all.”
In addition to the Opposition’s ten MPs and three senators, names in the frame for seats include former UBP MPs Allan Marshall and Suzann Roberts-Holshouser, both of whom were rolled out for the UBP in East End seats but have since switched to the OBA.
Former UBP and BDA member Wayne Scott is thought likely to run in Warwick, while former UBP chairman Jeff Sousa could challenge MP Mark Pettingill for his seat in Warwick West at a primary.
Educator Toni Spring has confirmed she would like to run in Sandys, while other potential candidates include chairman Michael Fahy and deputy chairman Michael Branco, who were both due to run for the BDA before it folded.
Other caucus members include secretary Toni Daniels, treasurer Sean Pitcher, gym owner Karen Magnum, accountant Peter Barrett, SDO-protester Ray Charlton, employment consultant Thad Hollis, investment manager Miguel DaPonte and former UBP Senator Jeanne Atherden.