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PLP MPs DeSilva and Horton win selection

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Health Minister Zane DeSilva and Deputy Speaker Randy Horton won key victories at Progressive Labour Party branch elections last night.

But Bermuda’s longest serving MP, Speaker Stanley Lowe, appears to have called time on his political career after he failed to show at the candidate selection meeting in his Southampton East constituency.

Mr Lowe’s absence meant an anticipated three-way battle between himself, Mr DeSilva and former Senate Leader David Burch became a two-horse race at the New Apostle Church.

Mr DeSilva defeated Mr Burch 44 votes to 22, meaning he will switch to Southampton East from Southampton East Central at the next general election.

Pundits believe that will reinforce his position in the House of Assembly because boundary changes mean Southampton East Central will now lean towards the One Bermuda Alliance.

Meanwhile in Southampton West, Mr Horton beat lawyer Marc Daniels 36 votes to 27 at Dalton Tucker Primary School, giving him the chance to prolong his 13-year House career at the next election.

Mr Lowe, an MP since 1968, had stated he had no intention of retiring when it emerged his seat was being coveted by Mr DeSilva and Mr Burch earlier this year.

However close friends have been advising him to step aside as a string of younger members have been trying to make headway in the party.

He joins Elvin James, Alex Scott and Walter Lister as retiring MPs at the next general election, while Ashfield DeVent and Darius Tucker will also move out of the House after they lost branch votes on Tuesday night.

Both selection meetings last night had significantly larger turnouts than on Tuesday.

Mr DeSilva, one of Bermuda’s most popular constituency MPs, is said to have signed up huge numbers of voters in recent weeks as he planned his move east.

Many of them were out in force as both contenders stood outside the church and greeted arriving residents one by one, with spirits between the opponents appearing calm throughout the evening.

Mr Burch, who has bid unsuccessfully for a place in the House on a number of occasions, appeared unmoved by defeat, telling the media “I’m outstanding” before departing on his scooter; Mr DeSilva made no comment as he left the scene.

The close-fought race in Constituency 32 was characterised as old versus new by supporters of challenger Mr Daniels.

At age 32, criminal defence lawyer Mr Daniels is more than 30 years junior to Mr Horton, who has been an MP since the PLP won power in 1998.

Both hopefuls stood outside the school, greeting well-wishers in advance of the 7.30pm contest.

As the political newcomer, Southampton resident Mr Daniels handed out pamphlets entitled ‘It’s Time’, containing a short biography.

After the result was announced, the pair shook hands; asked what had decided the night, Mr Horton replied: “I had more than he had.”

He told this newspaper: “People are concerned about three things, and it’s the same through the Island. They’re concerned about the economy, education and crime.”

Another two candidate selection meetings will take place this evening.

In Pembroke West Central, Minister Neletha Butterfield is being challenged, it is believed by Senator David Burt, at West Pembroke School at 7pm.

A five-way battle to replace retiring Sandys South Central MP Walter Lister takes place between Senate Leader Kim Wilson, lawyer Larry Scott, party organiser Makai Dickerson, executive officer Dawn Simmons and member Marcus Jones at Allen Temple AME Church, at 7.30pm.


See Editorial, Page 4

Zane DeSilva smiles after winning his PLP Primary last night. (Photo Mark Tatem)
Randy Horton celebrates after winning his PLP Primary. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
(Photo by Mark Tatem) Former Senator David Burch emerges from the New Apostle Church in Southampton after unsuccessfully bidding to be the PLP's representative for the Southampton East constituency. In a vote by party members Health Minister Zane DeSilva was chosen ahead of Mr Burch and House Speaker Stanley Lowe, who currently is the MP for the constituency.
(Photo by Mark Tatem) Lawyer Marc Daniels, pictured last night before the PLP's constituency selection vote for Southampton West. The vote took place at the Dalton Tucker Primary School and resulted in Deputy House Speaker Randy Horton emerging as the favoured choice to represent the PLP in the constituency at the next general election.
Marc Daniels, PLP Primary - 21.9.11 (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published September 22, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated September 22, 2011 at 9:52 am)

PLP MPs DeSilva and Horton win selection

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