MP Dennis Lister wins Sandys North Central PLP primary
Progressive Labour Party MP Dennis Lister last night saw off a challenge for his Sandys North Central seat, claiming there was “never a chance” he could have lost it. Mr Lister comfortably won against the party’s executive officer Joella Dawn Simmons at a branch election, meaning he is likely to represent the PLP in constituency 35 at the next general election.
There were 58 branch members at the meeting at St James Church Hall, according to a party official, and they listened to both contenders give seven minute speeches.
That was followed by a question-and-answer session and then the vote, with the result coming just after 8.45pm.
Mr Lister spoke briefly to those gathered after his victory, before exiting the church hall. He told
The Royal Gazette: “I enjoyed the evening. It was a good exercise and now the work begins again.”
Asked if he was surprised to have won, he shook his head. “I done what was expected. I worked hard for it. The community knows what I have put in over the years and, even during this exercise, I stayed close in touch with my branch members.”
He added there was “never a chance” that Ms Simmons could have taken his seat, adding: “When you see the vote, that will indicate that.”
Mr Lister would not reveal how many votes were cast for him and Ms Simmons and nor would she. A party spokesman said the details would not be made public.
Mr Lister was first elected to Parliament in the 1989 general election and served as Minister of Youth & Sport and Minister of Environment in the first PLP Cabinet.
He later served as Works and Engineering Minister, under former Premier Ewart Brown’s leadership.
Last night, he handed out a small flyer to branch members arriving at the church hall to vote. It listed his attributes as integrity, knowledge, experience, service and strong family values.
Ms Simmons gave out a more detailed flyer, listing her work for the party, community and family, and telling branch members: “Having been groomed and mentored by many in this parish, community and Island, I feel now is the time for me to convert support to service.”
She is PLP branch chairman for Sandys South Central and chaired the party’s 2007 election campaign, becoming executive officer in 2009.
Ms Simmons told this newspaper before the meeting began: “I’m feeling really, really good. I think competition is healthy.
“The party has made way for those of us who are interested in serving our community to put our names forward.
“I have worked behind the scenes to help people get elected. I feel now is the time for me to stand.”
After the vote, she said: “I do wish Dennis all the best in constituency 35.”
Last night’s contest was one of a number of PLP primaries taking part this month to determine who will represent the party at the next election.
This evening, branch members in Hamilton West will decide between incumbent Wayne Furbert, his cousin Senator La-Verne Furbert and former Bermuda Football Association executive member Charles Clarke.
There will also be a vote in Pembroke Central, where National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief faces a challenge from former Senator Walton Brown.