OBA in disarray after Kempe resignation
Former One Bermuda Alliance senator Nick Kempe quit yesterday as chairman of the party after only five days in the job.
Senator Nandi Outerbridge, the deputy chairman and former MP, will take over the top position on an interim basis.
Mr Kempe, an advocate for new blood in the OBA, was said by party sources to have been blindsided by his removal from the Senate on Wednesday.
An insider said the decision by Jeanne Atherden, the new Leader of the Opposition, was not discussed with Mr Kempe.
The source added that his replacement in the Senate with Justin Mathias, also an OBA deputy chairman, stunned Mr Kempe — seen as one of the Opposition's best voices in the Upper House.
The 34-year-old campaigned for Pembroke West Central in the General Election against David Burt, where he picked up 326 votes to Mr Burt's 639.
Mr Kempe also challenged Mr Burt for the seat in 2012.
Mr Kempe announced his decision in an e-mail to OBA members yesterday, which caught senior party members by surprise.
He emphasised his willingness to support the party.
But Mr Kempe said that his position as chairman had become “untenable”.
He wrote that he had stood for chairman because “I believed in the One Bermuda Alliance, a party that I ran for twice”.
But he said that after “a number of conversations with the leader, it has become clear that my vision for the future of the OBA relative to its rebuilding is diametrically opposed to that of the leader”.
Ms Atherden and Mr Kempe did not return calls from The Royal Gazette last night.
Mr Kempe, a member of the shadow finance board early in the OBA's history, wrote that he had joined the party because of a belief in its principles and “accordingly I became a passionate advocate of those principles”.
He added: “My mandate was to bring change but recent events demonstrate to me that the executive will not be able to function with the fundamental political and policy discordance between its chair and leader during this key period of rebuilding.
“To remain and attempt to drive change without the necessary support would be an exercise in futility.
“It is my belief that this will hamper the party's ability to attract the necessary new talent in the immediate and long term.
“As such, I have decided to resign as chair with immediate effect.”
Mr Kempe said he was grateful to members who elected him as chairman last Saturday, when he took 73.4 per cent of the vote, with Mr Mathias voted deputy chairman alongside Ms Outerbridge.
But he said: “I am sadly convinced that the leadership is the embodiment of a mindset that has failed the electorate in the past.
“When that mindset has changed, I will be more than prepared to serve the OBA again.”
The resignation was confirmed last night by the OBA executive.
A spokesman said: “We are sorry that Nick has decided to take this step, but we would like to thank him for his service and dedication, as well as his valuable contributions to the party as an officer and an OBA senator.
“The One Bermuda Alliance is a diverse party and at times, with diversity, come differences of opinion, which we respect.
“We are sorry that a resolution could not be achieved, but hope that there may be opportunities for Mr Kempe to serve the One Bermuda Alliance in the future.”