Scott disputes Mathias claim on procedure
The acting party leader of the One Bermuda Alliance last night disputed a claim by outgoing chairman Justin Mathias that “proper process” was not followed in the removal of Jeanne Atherden as Opposition leader.
Leah Scott, who became interim party leader after Jeanne Atherden quit the role, insisted there was no “abuse of process, as implied” by Mr Mathias in an interview on Sunday.
She said Ms Atherden was well aware her leadership was on “very shaky ground” well before the party met last Wednesday for a vote of no confidence in her as Opposition leader, which resulted in her resignation as party leader, a separate role, a day later.
Craig Cannonier, a former OBA premier, has since been sworn in by the Governor as Opposition leader, though he has yet to be elected as party leader by OBA members.
Ms Scott said elections for the party posts would be held on October 12 and Mr Cannonier would become party leader if there were no other nominations for the position.
Mr Mathias said on Sunday: “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.”
He added: “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.”
But Ms Scott said last night: “Justin's statement is untrue. We did not go directly to the Governor.
“All of the MPs received an e-mail on September 17 and 18, requesting their attendance at a meeting of the MPs to be held at OBA HQ on September 19 at 5.30pm.
“The e-mail of September 18 clearly stated ‘It's critical we all attend tomorrow's meeting to discuss leadership and strategy.”
Ms Scott added there was no breach of the OBA constitution as there was no constitutional process involved.
She said: “When Jeanne Atherden realised that she did not have the support of the majority of the MPs, she did the honourable thing and resigned,”
Ms Scott added. “Once she resigned, a letter had to be sent to the Governor. The Governor was not notified until after she resigned.”
She claimed: “There is no awkwardness within or among party members. This speculation by Justin is untrue.
“There was no abuse of process here, as implied by Mr Mathias.”
Ms Atherden was elected party leader in November last year and served a little more than 300 days in the position.
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