Dickinson challenges Burt for PLP leadership
Curtis Dickinson, the former finance minister, has launched a dramatic bid to oust David Burt as Progressive Labour Party leader and Premier.
The move sets the scene for a power battle that is likely to electrify the PLP in the weeks leading-up to the party conference in October where the two biggest political hitters of recent years will go head to head.
Mr Burt made it clear he was ready for a fight for survival as he went on the offensive, listing a string of achievements he claimed he had achieved in government over the past five years.
Mr Dickinson, who quit his key Cabinet post in February after a clash with Mr Burt over generous financial guarantees being offered to developers of the Fairmont Southampton, came out of the starting blocks early as he did not need to declare for another week under party rules.
Mr Dickinson told The Royal Gazette: “I confirm advising the party of my intention to put my name forward for the leadership.
“This is an internal PLP process, and I look forward to engaging with the delegates and members of the Progressive Labour Party in the coming days and weeks in advance of the annual general conference.”
A spokesman for Mr Burt said yesterday the Premier “looks forward” to debating Mr Dickinson in the run-up to the election.
In an e-mail, the spokesman said: "David Burt has led our party to two national election victories.
“He led us through the pandemic and, prior to the pandemic, reduced the deficit without cutting Bermudian jobs, while investing in education, healthcare and social programmes.
“And, now, under his leadership, we are providing relief to working families during the worst global inflation in a generation.
"David has been involved with the PLP for nearly 20 years — through thick and thin. He's worked his way up and strengthened the party at all levels.
“While we welcome any MP who wishes to stand for leadership, as this shows that democracy is alive and well within the party, we are confident that the delegates will look at the options and decide that in these times, we need steady and tested hands at the helm of the Progressive Labour Party.
“The party leader will respect the internal nature of our elections, which are not public media spectacles, and looks forward to debating MP Dickinson on the issues that matter to the members and delegates of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party."
As Mr Dickinson declared his candidacy for the top job, Lawrence Scott, the transport minister, said he had decided against challenging Walter Roban for the post of number two in the PLP, and deputy premier.
Mr Scott created political ripples earlier this month when he said he was considering standing against party veteran Mr Roban.
Asked whether he supported the premier or Mr Dickinson in the leadership race, Mr Scott told The Royal Gazette: “That is inappropriate for me to share.”
Mr Dickinson walked out of Cabinet just days before he was due to deliver the Budget after a number of bust-ups with Mr Burt.
The former finance minister made it clear he was unhappy about the way his stance had been portrayed by Mr Burt in the aftermath of the clash.
Candidates have until September 28 to declare their intention to run for either of the two most senior PLP positions.
The lead-up to the conference has been no stranger to controversy with claims that the names of delegates were not being fully circulated - accusations the PLP denied.
The PLP delegates conference takes place between October 19 and 22, with a leadership vote expected on October 20.