Rolfe Commissiong launches campaign for PLP’s Pembroke South East seat
Rolfe Commissiong, the Government consultant who wants to replace Ashfield DeVent as Progressive Labour Party MP for Pembroke South East, has released flyers touting his qualifications for the job.
The candidate for the next election will be chosen by PLP branch members and Mr Commissiong’s apparent public campaigning is understood to have caused concerns within the local branch.
His flyer, entitled Leadership Matters, was delivered to homes as recently a last week. Although there are several other PLP candidates vying to contest the seat, none of the others have delivered flyers, according to one local resident. The leaflet says Mr Commissiong is committed to fostering “reconciliation and renewal throughout the constituency”. It lists his pledges in relation to protecting jobs for Bermudians, addressing the issues confronting young black males, and fostering economic empowerment and better education.
Mr Commissiong is currently a consultant to the Premier on a host of social issues including race relations. His leaflet carries the slogan: “When people are united, there isn’t anything they can not accomplish.”
It also states Mr Commissiong “is committed to serve the interest of the constituents of Constituency 21 and make the Progressive Labour Party branch in the constituency the strongest, most dynamic branch within the PLP family of branches”.
Mr DeVent, who has held the seat for eight years, has not delivered any election flyers of his own. He declined an invitation for comment in relation to this story. Mr Commissiong also declined to comment beyond saying: “I am not going to wage a campaign in the media.”
The Royal Gazette has reported on previous public clashes between the pair. Mr DeVent, who lives in the constituency, and Mr Commissiong, who grew up there, competed against each other in the 2002 by-election following the death of Tourism Minister David Allen.
Mr DeVent was eventually elected, with Mr Commissiong receiving no votes at branch level. Mr Commissiong later publicly criticised Mr DeVent’s record as Housing Minister, while more recently the pair locked horns after Mr Commissiong spoke out against Mr DeVent’s call for a discussion on the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Mr DeVent said Mr Commissiong had a “frightening” stance by blaming Bermuda’s problems on racism; Mr Commissiong responded by accusing Mr DeVent of being “a little slow” and “an invisible MP”.
When asked last November about reports that Mr Commissiong was publicly campaigning in Pembroke East, PLP spokesman Curtis Williams said: “The party leader has advised the appropriate parties that despite the rumours she has been clear and does not pervert the process. She is a fervent advocate for process and does not act to undermine the process.”
Mr Williams did not respond to requests for further comment on the issue this week.