Barritt: ‘It is unfair to say I did not consult constituents’
Nearly 90 percent of Devonshire South Central residents polled by former MP John Barritt supported a merger between the United Bermuda Party and Bermuda Democratic Alliance.
Mr Barritt said his survey of 100 registered Constituency 12 voters helped him decide to quit as the area’s MP to assist the formation of the One Bermuda Alliance as the Island’s official Opposition.
He was responding to claims from resident David Sullivan, the former UBP chairman, that locals felt they weren’t consulted before Senator Craig Cannonier was “parachuted” into November’s by-election.
“It would be both unfair and untrue to say that I did not consult with constituents,” Mr Barritt told
The Royal Gazette.
“I had been in and out of many homes, and had many conversations, about my future, that of the UBP, the Opposition generally, and what was needed to turn things around in Bermuda politically in the months preceding my decisions.”
Mr Barritt said his telephone poll of constituents took place a year ago, with 90 percent of them confirming they had voted for him in the last election.
“What was most instructive to me was that less than half of those polled thought we could win the next election, but almost 90 percent of whom thought the UBP and BDA should achieve some kind of merger to present a stronger and more viable alternative than that which existed, not to improve our chances of winning the next election,” he said.
“Those results confirmed what I thought I had to do and, as it turned out, what I did. It was never about what was best for John Barritt. On the contrary, some would say.”
Mr Barritt, the area’s MP since 1993, resigned to create a possible House of Assembly seat for Sen Cannonier, who was elected OBA leader earlier this month. Mr Barritt had earlier accepted the position of OBA interim leader on the condition he would step down when a new leader was elected.
Mr Sullivan said of the decision to put Sen Cannonier forward for the by-election: “Many of the constituents that I have spoken to over this weird period are equally upset with the way we have been taken for granted.”
Mr Barritt replied: “I understand to a certain extent why David feels the way he does, but it was never my intention to use or abuse the voters of Devonshire South Central in any way.
“On the contrary. These were not decisions I took lightly, but I was fully aware of the risks they posed to me personally and to whomever followed after me.
“There is no parachuting here: we understand Craig is going to have to work hard to win the seat which is as it should be.”
Sen Cannonier is up against Anthony Richardson of the Progressive Labour Party at the by-election on November 1.