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PLP internal issues left ‘unresolved’

A packed meeting at the Progressive Labour Party headquarters closed last night after more than three hours of discussions, with more talks planned to resolve unspecified internal issues.

Most of the Opposition's core membership convened along with the party's central committee, as some PLP sources suggested a shift in the support base for Marc Bean.

However, those suggestions were firmly turned down by the Opposition leader as he headed in, with Mr Bean saying: “This meeting is not about the leadership.”

Mr Bean made a terse exit from Alaska Hall after protracted talks that were occasionally broken by applause.

Zane DeSilva, the Shadow Minister of Tourism Development, who is rumoured to have expressed an interest in challenging for the party's leadership, attended early but had to leave midway through talks to catch a flight.

Among others in attendance were former premiers Paula Cox and Dame Jennifer Smith, deputy party leader David Burt, MPs Walton Brown, Rolfe Commissiong, Wayne Furbert, Walter Roban, Lawrence Scott, Michael Weeks and Kim Wilson, as well as Kim Swan, the former United Bermuda Party leader who subsequently joined the Opposition.

Also there were Opposition senate leader Diallo Rabain and senator Marc Daniels, and former senator Jonathan Smith.

As the gathering closed at 9.20pm, pockets of lively debate continued outside, with “marijuana” — perhaps in reference to the inclusion of recreational cannabis use in the Throne Speech Reply — among the topics.

No rancour was in public evidence, and a lively atmosphere prevailed as party members departed.

Calling the night a productive discussion, PLP spokesman Coy Millett added: “The party central committee has met, and that talk with the parliamentary caucus will be ongoing, so we can reach a resolution to the issues that have been raised.”

Mr Millett declined to elaborate, and there was no public statement on whether Glenn Blakeney, MP for Devonshire North Central, would indeed be stepping down, as sources have said this week. The future of Constituency 13 as a sure win for the Opposition could hang in the balance, depending on who might be put forward if Mr Blakeney were to resign.

Although it was viewed as a stronghold for the PLP in the 2003 election, Mr Blakeney's victory there was narrower than expected, and it was a closer call still in 2012, when the One Bermuda Alliance contender Anthony Francis trailed only 19 votes behind Mr Blakeney's winning 411.

Mr Blakeney, who is overseas, has thus far declined to comment on “internal party matters”.

Terse exit: Marc Bean, pictured leaving last night's meeting, said the discussions were not about the party's leadership (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published December 02, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 02, 2015 at 11:14 am)

PLP internal issues left ‘unresolved’

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