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PLP clarifies election process for leadership vote

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David Burt, the Premier (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Progressive Labour Party has hit back at “inaccurate and misleading” reports in relation to its upcoming internal elections.

The party was referring to an opinion piece by Khalid Wasi who claimed that the decision over who will be the next PLP leader and therefore leader of the country would come down to 51 delegates.

A PLP spokesman refuted the claim and said there had been no amendment to the Bermuda Constitution regarding the leadership elections.

The spokesman said: “Every four years, the positions of Party Leader and Deputy Party Leader are open for election.

“The remaining party executive positions become open every two years. Any one of the MP’s currently serving in the House of Assembly are able to submit their names for election as Party Leader or Deputy Party Leader.

“These positions are voted on at the PLP annual general conference, popularly referred to as the delegates conference. The conference for this year is being held from October 19 to October 22.

“The PLP Constitution is the governing document of the party and any amendment must be ratified by a two-thirds vote at an annual general conference or a special general conference before being implemented.”

The spokesman invited interested persons to view the party’s Constitution, adding: “No one, including the Party Leader, has the unilateral ability to change the party’s constitution or any other rules of the party.

“Any reports or sources citing this are inaccurate, misleading, and unfortunately, are deemed mischievous.

He said no further comment would be provided on the election until after September 28 when the names of any PLP MPs who contest for the offices of Leader and Deputy Leader will be made public.

Khalid Wasi wrote a column criticising the Progressive Labour Party delegates conference system. The party says his comments are inaccurate (File photograph)

Mr Wasi wrote in his column: “It will not be the members or the supporters, who are in the tens of thousands, making the final decision, it will be 100 delegates – and 51 of those wield the power to decide on the next leader of the country!

“Now take that to politics 101 and democracy of the modern-day PLP, after marching 60 years ago to open up the franchise to give the people the right to vote in their leader, a mere 51 persons out of an electorate of 40,000 will decide on the leader. They are still holding on to a relic from the Kremlin and communist era.

“Can we do a check to see how long those delegates have been delegates. Rather cosy, isn't it? Persuading 51 is not a lot of convincing to do.

“How many have good government jobs? Do some sit on government boards? Or maybe need a little financial assistance?

“The point here is that it is not a democracy but another sham operation which is easy to manipulate and which should have disappeared a couple decades ago. ‘The people’ have no control over what has been rhetorically called ‘The People’s Party’.”

According to the party Constitution, delegates and their alternates are elected at the branch meeting called for that purpose. It states: “None of the delegates elected from the branches shall be Members of Parliament or the Senate. Only those delegates and/or alternates shall be entitled to vote. Each delegate shall have one vote.

“Each branch at the AGC shall have one delegate for the first 20 financial members (or fraction thereof) and one delegate for each additional twenty financial members (or fraction thereof) of such branch and the branch shall by 21 days before the annual delegates conference each year forward to the secretary general a certified list of such members of the branch.

“The Youth Wing shall have one delegate to the annual delegates conference, and if there is no functioning Youth Wing then the central committee can recommend a person to serve in that capacity.

“The Women’s Caucus shall have one delegate to the annual delegates conference, and if there is no functioning Women’s Caucus then the central committee can recommend a person to serve in that capacity.”

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Published August 22, 2022 at 7:50 am (Updated August 22, 2022 at 7:34 am)

PLP clarifies election process for leadership vote

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