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PLP captures Warwick North East

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Sweet success: Curtis Dickinson is congratulated by a PLP supporter at the victory party (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party seized Warwick North East last night in an emphatic victory over the One Bermuda Alliance.

Curtis Dickinson of the PLP notched up a 75-vote majority over Justin Mathias with 375 votes to 300.

The OBA retained its hold on Paget East, with Scott Pearman winning the seat by a majority of 161 with 461 votes against 300 for Curtis Richardson of the PLP.

A delighted Mr Dickinson said after his victory: “I am really excited by the challenge. I am looking forward to serving the people of Constituency 25.”

He added: “Tomorrow, for me the work starts in terms of coming up to speed in how to behave in Parliament and helping to move the Government’s agenda forward.

Mr Dickinson said: “I’d first like to thank the voters of Constituency 25 for endorsing my candidacy and helping to deliver a victory for myself and the party this evening.”

The PLP took 55.56 per cent of the Warwick North East vote to the OBA’s 44.44 on a turnout of 53.8 per cent of the 1,254 registered voters.

Warwick Workmen’s Club erupted into a party as PLP supporters welcomed Mr Dickinson.

A sea of green greeted him when he arrived and party supporters chanted “PLP all the way”.

David Burt, the Premier, told the crowd: “The Progressive Labour Party has a long history of putting forth quality candidates at elections and this by-election was nothing different.

“We had two fine candidates named Curtis. One was victorious this evening, the other was not, but both are winners.”

Mr Burt added: “The lessons from the voters is very simple — that they have seen the work the Progressive Labour Party has done over the last ten months and they have made sure that in Constituency 22 the margin from the last election was cut in half and in Constituency 25 there was a reversal and we got more votes this time around.

“From that perspective, that means that the voters in this country support the Progressive Labour Party and we take this as a vote of confidence to continue to execute on the platform which we laid out in the election.”

Jeanne Atherden, the Leader of the Opposition, put a brave face on the Warwick North East defeat.

She said: “I think that tomorrow we will be in our seats ready and be very strong because we continue to be the Opposition, a viable Opposition and we will be talking about the things that are important to Bermuda.”

She added: “This is a transition — we have a team of young people and they will be out doing things that are important to Bermuda.”

Ms Atherden said: “We will be back on the doorsteps, Justin will be on the doorsteps and so will we.”

Jeff Baron, whose decision to quit politics sparked the Warwick by-election, won the seat for the OBA at last year’s General Election by 493 votes to 428 votes over the PLP’s Kathy Lynn Simmons, a majority of 65.

The result means the PLP has increased its number of seats in the House of Assembly to 25 and the OBA now stands at 11 seats.

A disappointed Mr Mathias said: “I will continue doing what I am doing. I think the people of Warwick North East had a big win tonight. They are going to have two strong voices for Warwick North East.

He added: “I know that there were a lot of people that were away. There are a lot of people that didn’t make it out today but there are reasons why some people didn’t come out and that’s OK.”

Ms Atherden said: “It is my intention that he will continue to be in the Senate and work for us both in the House and the Senate.”.

The OBA held on to a traditional stronghold in Paget East, with Scott Pearman triumphing over Curtis Richardson.

Mr Pearman said after the results were announced that he was “extremely grateful to the voters of Paget East”.

He added: “We need to make sure that we have an effective Opposition and I am in the proud position to start tomorrow on that.”

Mr Pearman told those who voted PLP: “I will do my best to earn your trust as your MP.”

Mr Richardson said after the results were announced: “It’s been an awesome experience once again.”

He added: “Constituency 22 is in fact a marginal, the margin has been narrowed in both elections. My work will continue in Constituency 22.”

He thanked his team for a “tough month of good, hard work” and added: “I am really grateful to you.”

Ms Atherden said: “Obviously I’m very proud of Scott, and we look forward to him being in the House tomorrow. Tomorrow we will get on with doing business.”

Mr Pearman took 60.58 per cent of the votes in Paget East, with Mr Richardson on 39.42 on a turnout of 51.6 per cent of the seat’s 1,475 registered voters.

Grant Gibbons, who has retired from politics, held the seat for the OBA at the last election with 704 votes to Mr Richardson’s 397 — a majority of 307.