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PLP leadership challenge officially begins as deadline passes for candidates to declare

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Curtis Dickinson and David Burt, the Premier, when the former was still finance minister (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The race has officially started for the leadership of the Progressive Labour Party.

The deadline for declarations of intention to stand in the upcoming election closed last night.

Curtis Dickinson, the former finance minister, has already announced he will try to topple David Burt as party chief and premier at the PLP’s annual general conference next month.

Renée Ming, who left the Cabinet during a public spat with Mr Burt in March, is expected to face down Walter Roban for the No 2 post in the PLP and the role of deputy premier.

The Royal Gazette understands that PLP officials will give a list of candidates to party members before releasing it to the general public.

The outcome of the election will be decided by about 150 delegates who have the right to vote on ballot day, October 20.

An internal PLP document outlining the timetable for the three-day gathering states that this date was chosen because: “The House of Assembly is set to reconvene on Friday, November 4, 2022.

Renée Ming, former national security minister (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“The date of October 20 is to allow enough time for whomever is elected to ensure that a Throne Speech for the PLP Government can be drafted and presented.”

The selection of delegates by individual PLP branches was also concluded and submitted to party HQ.

The first leaders’ debate is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 8, with a follow-up one a week later on October 15.

A debate between deputy leadership candidates will happen on Wednesday, October 12.

It remains unclear what access, if any, to these debates will be allowed to non-delegates and branch members.

Editorial: Leadership campaign should be held in the open

One of the leaders’ debates will focus on “island-wide concerns” while the second will discuss “national and party issues”.

The debate for the position of deputy leader will be dedicated to “internal party concerns”.

The PLP document states: “This year there will be elections for party leader and deputy party leader.

“To ensure that we are improving our election processes so that they focus on the important issues that delegates must consider, the proposal is for there to be leadership debates for persons running for the post of party leader and deputy party leader.

“These debates have the aim of ensuring that all delegates/alternates/branches and members are aware of the issues facing the party and the country so that they can make an informed choice of who to support for party office.”

Regional branch meetings are to be held for all candidates where they will be allocated three minutes each for a speech.

Questions will then be taken from the floor and candidates will be given 90 seconds for a response.

The conference follows months of controversy which saw some party figures claim that PLP HQ was not circulating the list of previous delegates widely enough — an accusation that was denied.

Mr Burt then issued a statement at the weekend in which he called for “shadowy” groups to cease and desist, as he claimed people were deliberately trying to sow division in the PLP before the conference with “salacious” accusations.

Despite being asked a number of times by The Royal Gazette to explain how division was being sown, what were the slanderous claims and in what way the groups were shadowy, the PLP leader has failed to provide answers.

Mr Dickinson also attacked what he branded “malicious and destructive social-media advertisements”.

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Published September 29, 2022 at 2:58 pm (Updated September 29, 2022 at 2:58 pm)

PLP leadership challenge officially begins as deadline passes for candidates to declare

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