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DeVent and Commissiong are high-profile names in battle to represent constituency

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One of the Progressive Labour Party’s most hotly contested election battles will be fought out tonight as Pembroke South East members select their representative at Alaska Hall.

Incumbent Ashfield DeVent, the area’s MP for nine years, and Government consultant Rolfe Commissiong are two of the high-profile figures hoping to become the party’s candidate for its stronghold at the next general election.

Other contenders are thought to include Senator Jonathan Smith and former Bermuda Housing Corporation general manager Vance Campbell.

Meanwhile at another contest tonight in Hamilton South, a seat traditionally won by the United Bermuda Party, incumbent Darius Tucker faces a challenge just three months after joining the PLP.

A surge of new members have reportedly signed up to the PLP in recent weeks, with potential candidates recruiting supporters ahead of 14 branch elections over the next three weeks.

But PLP sources last night said poll results will also be taken into consideration when candidates are selected.

Pembroke South East constituents say Mr Commissiong has been canvassing aggressively as he seeks to take advantage of PLP constitutional changes making it easier for party members to challenge incumbents.

The pair have been involved in a war of words over the past 18 months, with Mr DeVent accusing Mr Commissiong of having a frightening stance on race, and Mr Commissiong accusing Mr DeVent of focusing too much on the evils of drugs.

The meeting takes place at 7pm. The Hamilton South meeting is at Harrington Workmen’s Club at the same time.

In another candidate selection meeting in Southampton West tomorrow, lawyer Marc Daniels has emerged as a likely challenger against Deputy Speaker Randy Horton.

Also tomorrow, one of the most tightly contested competitions will take place in Southampton East, where long-serving Speaker Stanley Lowe could see his spot snatched by former Senate Leader David Burch or Health Minister Zane DeSilva.

The PLP has now confirmed to members that Ministers Michael Weeks and Wayne Perinchief will both be challenged at candidate selection meetings next week.

Mr Perinchief will face competition from former Senator Walton Brown next Tuesday at Alaska Hall, with Mr Weeks’ challenge at the same venue two days later.

A meeting to select the member for Southampton East Central takes place at Vernon Temple AME Church next Wednesday, with incumbent Mr DeSilva hoping to move next door to Southampton East.

A vote for Southampton West Central, the seat currently held by UBP MP Charlie Swan, is scheduled for Mount Zion AME Church on Thursday next week.

Times have now been selected for the meetings to replace retiring MPs Elvin James and Alex Scott; they will take place respectively at Purvis Primary School in Warwick North Central next Wednesday, and Warwick Workmen’s Club in Warwick South East on Thursday, October 6.

The PLP had previously scheduled meetings for challenges to seats held by Minister Neletha Butterfield this Thursday, backbencher Dennis Lister next Monday and backbencher Wayne Furbert next Tuesday.

Selection time: MP Ashfield DeVent (left) and Vance Campbell, seen here together in a file picture from 2004, are expected to be two of the contenders bidding to be selected this evening as the PLP candidate for the Pembroke South East constituency. Mr DeVent is currently the constituency MP.
Senator Jonathan Smith is thought to be one of the likely contenders hoping to be the PLP?s pick to stand in the Pembroke South East constituency.
Rolfe Commissiong is one of the contenders hoping to be chosen to stand for the PLP in the Pembroke South East constituency.

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Published September 20, 2011 at 9:34 am (Updated September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am)

DeVent and Commissiong are high-profile names in battle to represent constituency

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