Bean: OBA needs to ‘disappear’
Time is up for the One Bermuda Alliance, the leader of the Free Democratic Movement claimed yesterday.
Marc Bean, a former leader of the Progressive Labour Party, said the OBA's hammering at the polls on Thursday was clear evidence the party was a spent force.
Mr Bean said: “If there's one lesson that has to be learnt, it's that the OBA needs to disappear; the OBA needs to fold.”
Mr Bean added: “The people of the country understand that when your voting base withdraws support from you, as evidenced by the results, that should signal to any thinking person within OBA hierarchy that their time is up.
“They were created not based on truth. The OBA represents a political stumbling block to this country.”
Mr Bean said that a decision to elect a new leader for the party would not be enough to re-establish it as a viable opposition.
He added: They cannot survive, even if Craig Cannonier steps away; no matter how hard they try to rebrand, it's run its course.”
Mr Bean was speaking after the OBA was reduced to a rump of six seats after a PLP General Election landslide.
Mr Bean said that the FDM could pose a real threat to the ruling PLP in time, despite a failure to gain any seats on Thursday.
He added: “Over the next few months and years, we will develop ourselves and position ourselves to be a government-in-waiting. That is going to take hard work and genuine connection with the people.
“We will keep building and institutionalise the FDM because we need those checks and balances in place as OBA influence gets weaker and weaker.”
Mr Bean failed to take the Sandys North constituency from the PLP. He won 185 votes, or 25.34 per cent, but lost to Kathy Lynn Simmons, of the PLP, who took 450 votes, or 59.04 per cent.
The PLP won 15,998 votes, or 62 per cent, to 8,314 votes for the OBA — just 32 per cent.
The FDM, formed just a month ago after David Burt, the Premier, called a snap election, won 1,384 votes — 5.37 per cent of the popular vote.
Mr Bean admitted the party platform promise to give Bermudian status after residency of seven years was “political suicide” — but insisted it was the right thing to do.
He said: “I don't think that people assessed the policy deeply enough.
“Status is about economic sensibility — we require persons to have the ability to reside in the country and gain status if they qualify. Our policy is similar to the Cayman Islands.”
But Mr Bean added that the prospect of a coalition government with the OBA had been a more important factor than the status stance.
He said he would have been prepared to form a coalition with members of the PLP or OBA in the run-up to the election.
Mr Bean added: “The biggest factor was the threat of OBA becoming government again — a hung parliament. That was channelled by the Premier.”
Mr Bean said his party would work hard towards establishing itself as a viable Opposition.
He added: “This gives us the opportunity to further define our ideas and vision. We will embrace more who want to join us. We will look for more young people as we look to structure and we can become a school of political learning.”
The FDM came under fire from the PLP when Mr Bean said in an interview that he was against the use of face masks to combat Covid-19.
Mr Bean added: “What I said was common sense. Fresh air and exercise builds your immune system. The PLP's machinery is such that they can put out any information that people will swallow.”
He also questioned why the PLP's Zane DeSilva, a former tourism minister, and Wayne Caines, an ex-national security minister, had not been charged in connection with failure to follow Ministry of Health guidelines by not wearing masks at a party at Blu Bar and Grill in Warwick in July.
The pair were forced to resign from Cabinet after footage of the event appeared on social media.