Log In

Reset Password

Cannonier is new Opposition leader

The man who became the first One Bermuda Alliance premier will be sworn in as Opposition leader today.

Craig Cannonier confirmed he will replace Jeanne Atherden, who resigned last week after eight of the 11 OBA MPs registered a vote of no confidence in her leadership.

Mr Cannonier will also put his name forward for a vote for the separate post of leader of the One Bermuda Alliance. He said: “I'll be serving as leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and then we have to go through the process with the OBA.

“I do have the support of the majority of MPs who asked me if I would be willing to serve — I have responded ‘OK' to get us moving again.”

Mr Cannonier believes there would be at least a two-week period before the party leadership contest and declined to comment on the prospect of being elected party leader.

He said: “I can't speak on behalf of the OBA because I am not the OBA leader at this time.

“In the past, when we have done these things, there is usually a two-week period when ballots are put out.”

Mr Cannonier was unaware of any other contenders for the party leadership.

He said: “The OBA chairman hasn't even put out the letter for nominations yet so it is still early stages. No one knows and it would be speculative for me to say that there is.”

Mr Cannonier, who will be sworn in by John Rankin, the Governor, at Government House, also declined to reveal his blueprint for the party.

He added: “It is premature but I am going to provide you with plenty to talk about.

“I certainly am one of those colourful characters. When the time comes, I will be clear on what I believe to be my vision.”

Justin Mathias, the OBA chairman, said the proper process had not been followed to remove Ms Atherden, who served as leader for a little more than 300 days,

Mr Mathias added: “The weird thing about this is if we had gone through the process the right way, Leah Scott would be the acting leader of the OBA, which she is, but she would also be acting Opposition leader until the process was over.

“Eight MPs chose to directly go to the Governor and get the Governor to swear in Mr Cannonier which is unprecedented — it is the job of the chairman to send a message to the Governor.

“They have gone about overriding the OBA constitution with the Bermuda Constitution, which you can do but that should be used as a last resort and they should have used the party framework in order to do what they wanted to do.

“We went through that process last year. We are going to go through that process again, but Mr Cannonier will be the Opposition leader before we even start the process.

“That is very odd and it has caused uncertainty and awkwardness within the party. It was a very sad week for the OBA.”

Mr Mathias said: “Have a vote of no confidence but do it in the right fashion — that solidifies you as a leader. It is a terrible footing to get off on. The Bermudian public and the OBA membership do not deserve it.”

Mr Cannonier became the party's first premier when the OBA defeated the Progressive Labour Party at the polls in 2012.

But he stepped down less than two years later after the Jetgate scandal over a trip to the United States in a private jet owned by an American business tycoon.

Returning to the helm: Craig Cannonier (File photograph)

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published September 24, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 24, 2018 at 12:26 pm)

Cannonier is new Opposition leader

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon