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Perinchief ‘not averse' to being given Senate role

National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief has hinted that a move to the Senate would allow him to “finish what he started” in the fight against crime.

The first Cabinet Minister to have his seat threatened by the result of a Progressive Labour Party branch election has revealed that becoming a Senator “could be a solution”.

After just six months heading up the Ministry of National Security, Mr Perinchief failed to get reselected as a candidate for his Pembroke Central constituency, losing out to former Senator Walton Brown.

It means the former Assistant Police Commissioner is effectively a 'lame duck' in the PLP government as his future beyond the next general election hangs in the balance.

But Mr Perinchief remains optimistic saying he has a “wait and see” outlook, as he would be happy to serve in a new role.

He said: “I've always mooted there's a role for senior politicians in the Senate, I wouldn't be averse to the idea”.

Mr Perinchief added: “It's up to the Premier to decide on the way forward, I will continue in whatever role I am asked to serve. I believe in public service and everything it stands for.

“People aren't placed in positions in a haphazard way, I was selected to the post for a reason.

“I believe continuity and longevity are paramount to a successful Government. There should be continuity within every major role”.

The Minister confirmed Premier Paula Cox had been in touch to offer her support since Tuesday's primary at Alaska Hall. He said: “The Premier's supportive of me as a Minister and as a politician. The Premier and myself share a fondness for each other in politics”.

The One Bermuda Alliance has questioned whether Ms Cox needed to take immediate action to find a new Minister, but Mr Perinchief said he didn't think a Cabinet reshuffle was necessary.

Shadow National Security Minister Michael Dunkley said: “Government actions to reduce crime must be enacted with authority if they are to have a chance to succeed.

“The OBA's only concern in this matter is to have in place a National Security Minister who is effective.”

But Mr Perinchief said he remained committed to his role, he said: “I know I'm now a lame duck, my fate is that going forward I haven't been selected by my own party.

“I think on a certain level that does dampen your effectiveness, but I'm not going to stop what I've been doing”.

Instead Mr Perinchief has vowed to plough ahead with “very important pieces of legislation” including Proceeds of Crime, anti-gang legislation and land ownership laws for foreigners. He added that if someone replaced him as Minister of National Security he would offer his assistance and hoped s/he “would follow the template”.

Mr Perinchief said: “Of course I would like to see these pieces of legislation going through. A new Minister may have different views, I know that, but that's the nature of politics. I've always been aware of the speed the political landscape can change which is why I've moved very quickly with things”.

Mr Perinchief, 67, added: “I'm just waiting and seeing.

“Of course it's disappointing that it's only been six months. I have put a process in place and I'd like to see the whole plan executed”.

Mr Perinchief was first elected as an MP in 1998 in the Pembroke West constituency and was re-elected in 2003 and 2007 in Pembroke Central. He said he “knew this could happen as all the options were placed before me” before he even accepted the position of national Security Minister following the sudden resignation of David Burch.

Mr Perinchief said he had enjoyed his six months as National Security Minister and believes his previous policing experience helped him to “shape and make policy”.

He highlighted a raft of legislation that has been passed, the “significant drop” in violent crime in the last quarter, the increase in Neighbourhood Watch schemes, and how Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, Governor Sir Richard Gozney and himself had been able to “operate together”.

Mr Perinchief said: “I hit the ground running in April, I made a noise quickly and I got on with things. I think I've done relatively well, there have been successes.”

Mr Perinchief said he was “not completely happy” with the new selection process since the constitution was changed to make it easier for newcomers to take the seats of sitting MPs. Mr Perinchief picked up just eight votes at the branch election for Constituency 17 with Mr Brown gaining the support of 17 branch members.

It comes after the future of PLP backbenchers Ashfield DeVent and Darius Tucker was called into question after they lost out to challengers.

The party's central committee, headed by Ms Cox, will make the ultimate decision over the general election line-up, but results from the primaries are only likely to be overturned in exceptional circumstances.

Mr Perinchief said: “Sitting members and those proven as Cabinet members were elected by the public at large and not just the party. “But we now have this election process where a select few can overturn the will of the entire electorate. It's praised as democracy working, but it's still a selectively small catchment getting to choose”.

But Mr Perinchief said he “liked to go with the general consensus” and “even though I can be confrontational if necessary, I don't invite confrontation”.

Mr Perinchief said the boundary change of Constituency 17 meant “a large chunk of his stalwart supporters” had been replaced by “a lot of new and younger voters”.

He said he always knew it was “going to be a challenge” and the lack of people he knew personally on the membership list had “acted as a barometer”.

Mr Perinchief congratulated Mr Brown on “a job well done” adding: “Kudos to Walton who had the opportunity to walk the constituency and the luxury of sitting down and talking to people”.

Mr Perinchief said he had been inundated with messages from supporters and added: “After 13 years in politics and 47 years of unbroken public service, I'm feeling quite good, but I probably need a sabbatical. That's a pretty long innings to be at the constant beck and call of the general public”.

Ms Cox did not respond to requests for comment.

Minister of National Security Wayne Perinchief

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Published September 29, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated September 29, 2011 at 9:53 am)

Perinchief ‘not averse' to being given Senate role

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