Burt camp lays out strategy for defeating Dickinson
Curtis Dickinson will face scepticism within the Progressive Labour Party rank and file in his leadership bid, a PLP source close to the Premier told The Royal Gazette.
The former finance minister and an MP for more than four years, Mr Dickinson was nonetheless portrayed as a newcomer who would likely encounter an uphill battle in proving his labour credentials to gain the support necessary to edge out David Burt as party leader.
The characterisation suggested how the Burt camp planned to campaign against Mr Dickinson - portraying him as a johnny-come-lately and the Opposition’s favourite PLP Minister.
“The announcement comes as no shock,” the source said in the aftermath of Mr Dickinson’s declaration for the leadership at the delegates’ conference next month. “But it’s the why – what are his values?”
Mr Dickinson limited his comments to the Gazette yesterday to confirming his leadership challenge and saying he looked forward to engaging with delegates and party members.
His political career began when Mr Dickinson captured a One Bermuda Alliance seat formerly held by Jeff Baron in the Warwick North East by-election of June 2018.
He was appointed finance minister on November 1 of that year.
Mr Dickinson switched to fight for former Progressive Labour Party MP Rolfe Commissiong’s seat in Pembroke South East in the 2020 General Election, after Mr Commissiong chose not to run.
Mr Dickinson said at the time he was known to people in the area, having spent much of his childhood on Dundonald Street.
He recounted a “tough” childhood raised by a single mother in a 2018 interview with the Gazette.
But the party source said growing up in North Hamilton was not enough to give Mr Dickinson credibility.
“This has been an open secret for weeks now – it comes as no surprise,” he said. “But now the PLP delegates are going to have to ask themselves who this guy really is – what’s he all about?
“David has worked his way up through the party. He’s been involved for decades.
“Curtis Dickinson is new. We don’t know his values. We don’t know his commitment to workers’ rights. The reality is a lot of delegates will be asking about that.”
He added: “It’s also ironic that when he gave his resignation speech, his biggest supporters were the OBA.”
Mr Dickinson resigned as finance minister on February 14 and broke his silence that March in the House of Assembly, citing a disagreement with Mr Burt on the handling of incentives to reopen the Fairmont Southampton Hotel – the island’s biggest resort.
During the speech, Mr Dickinson also took aim at the island’s political status quo – telling MPs there needed to be less blame and more collaboration for the common good.