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OBA insiders question Cole Simons leadership style

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Cole Simons, One Bermuda Alliance leader, pictured at a press conference in the 2020 general election. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Rumblings of discontent have emerged in the One Bermuda Alliance over the leadership style of Cole Simons.

Mr Simons, at the helm of the party since November 2020 after its crushing defeat in the general election, has come under fire from some members for having too low a profile and lacking the ability to “get in the mix” with politics.

A well-placed OBA source told The Royal Gazette: “A lot of members are complaining and demanding that he has to have a greater presence.

“He is too conservative and too low-key, and he just is not a student of politics. It’s frustrating for people in the party.

“He is not immersed in politics enough. It’s like he doesn’t really want to get into the mix with politics. He should be on the media on a regular basis and he just isn’t.”

Jarion Richardson, One Bermuda Alliance deputy leader (Photograph supplied).

Jarion Richardson, the OBA’s deputy leader, said there were some things that Mr Simons could do better, but he was the right leader “at the moment”.

He told The Royal Gazette: “There is no perfect leader, unfortunately. There are things that he could do better. He is what we need at the moment.

“He is calm, steady and knows the political process. Very experienced.

‘When it comes to the leadership position, you are clearly going to find some saying ‘not civil enough’, some saying ‘not aggressive enough’. You get the full range of that when you are out canvassing.

“As for Cole not being aggressive enough, I have seen Cole being quite assertive in the House of Assembly.”

A senior insider signalled that the OBA needed to raise its game, but thought Mr Simons’ position was safe for now.

The source said: “It is not the time to change the leader. It is the time to redouble our efforts for the next general election.”

A former prominent member said the party was the problem, not just Mr Simons.

The source said: “I think the entire party is too quiet and too out of touch. There are no connections with the wider community — that’s one thing the PLP does well.

“And it’s politically immature to think you can do well without those sort of connections.

“It’s probably going to be quite a while until the OBA is back in power, so this is the perfect time to test out new policies and try and catch the electorate’s imagination rather than just chasing the PLP the whole time.”

Sir John Swan, former Premier of Bermuda (File photograph)

Sir John Swan, a former United Bermuda Party premier, said the OBA suffered from having only six MPs compared with the Progressive Labour Party’s 30.

“It has its faults, but its weakness is that it has very few representatives compared to the Government.”

However, support has been expressed for Mr Simons’ leadership by Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, a former OBA MP.

She gave Mr Simons her full backing, saying: “I think he is a fabulous leader.”

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, former OBA MP (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ms Gordon-Pamplin added: “We are dealing with a government and a system that chooses to overwhelm our people with nonsense and rubbish, and Mr Simons has a steady hand in his approach.”

The comments came as it emerged that the OBA would be holding its annual general meeting on October 15.

A source said they expected a number of senior internal posts in the party to change hands at the event.

The OBA said it would not be commenting on any such internal concerns made about Mr Simons’ leadership.

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Published September 14, 2022 at 4:16 pm (Updated September 14, 2022 at 4:16 pm)

OBA insiders question Cole Simons leadership style

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