PLP will lose next election if David Burt stays as leader, says Marc Bean
Marc Bean has said the Progressive Labour Party is in danger of losing the next General Election if David Burt remains as leader this month.
The former PLP leader insisted the party needed “cleaning up”, as he predicted rocky times ahead as the Premier and Curtis Dickinson, a former finance minister, go head-to-head for control of the party.
Mr Bean, who became party leader after defeat by the fledgeling One Bermuda Alliance at the 2012 election, and was succeeded by Mr Burt four years later, said Bermuda was going “deeper into an abyss”.
He suggested during an interview with The Daily Hour on Monday that if Mr Burt is re-elected leader at delegates conference in 2½ weeks, the party could face a repeat of the reversal that included Paula Cox, then the premier, losing her seat in Devonshire North West.
The comments came as a senior PLP source told The Royal Gazette that Mr Dickinson had not been given access to the names of the 122 delegates who will vote in the leadership contest on October 20.
Asked what the outcome of the next General Election would be if Mr Burt remained leader, Mr Bean said: “I suspect that if David Burt were to remain premier at the next General Election, the PLP would face a similar situation that brought me into leadership in 2012.
“For David Burt to get re-elected, it’s not going to bode well for the PLP.
“The PLP needs to be cleaned-up and I’m saying that as a former leader.
“The problem isn’t the constitution of the PLP, the problem is the persons who have chosen to lead the institution.
“I look at the performance of MPs over the last few years, it’s been disgustingly short of the standards that I think the people of the country expect.
“If David Burt remains the premier that is something that persons should really consider, especially internally.
“I cannot speak about a party split, but what I do know is that if, perchance, Curtis Dickinson were to become leader … the biggest issue facing him would be internal.
“Because you have an element in the PLP – they are just unconstitutional.
“And they think the rules are only there for their benefit. And they would not give him the support … and that would be a challenge.
“For Curtis Dickinson, his biggest issue is going to have to navigate the internal dynamics of the party because you have some elements who are not satisfied with not having power.”
Mr Bean, who founded the Free Democratic Movement political party, insisted that Bermuda was in a “downward spiral”.
He said during the interview: “We are at the stage where we are, actually, going deeper into the abyss, in my opinion.
“For me, Bermuda is in a downward spiral, if you are flying an aircraft, any pilot will tell you that when you get to the stage of spiralling, it’s because you’re spinning.
“And your spinning because you stalled. There is no lift under your wings. And if there is no lift under your wings what happens? Basically you crash land.”
Mr Bean’s intervention occurred as Mr Dickinson said social-media attacks on the premier were “unacceptable”.
He posted on Facebook: “The anonymous attacks on the premier circulating on social media are unacceptable. I condemn them without reservation.
“Bermuda is a country made up of people from different backgrounds, races and beliefs.
“We can disagree on issues; we can raise legitimate criticisms, and we can provide differing visions for the future of our country.
“What we cannot and will not do is accept the belief that any Bermudian is somehow "less than" based on where their parent(s) was born.
“Bermuda can and must do better.”
Yesterday the PLP did not respond to questions from The Royal Gazette on whether Mr Dickinson had been supplied with the list of delegates eligible to vote at the party conference.
But last night one party member confirmed that both Mr Dickinson and Ms Ming were provided with the list earlier yesterday.
The source said that both challengers should have been given the list much earlier in the contest – and that the delay had given Mr Burt an unfair advantage. The source claimed that the Premier had already met with some new delegates in an effort to drum up support and get a head-start in the race for the leadership.
The source said: “Mr Dickinson and Ms Ming now have only 17 days before the election when they should have had at least 27 days. It means that they are going to have to work twice as hard.”
The PLP had previously dismissed suggestions that the delegate list was deliberately held back from the two challengers.
Last week a party spokesman said: “We reiterate our stance, previously communicated to the media, that once delegate selection is complete, the names of all delegates will be shared with all candidates vying for office.
“We look forward to carrying out our internal process, including any related activities, without media interference.
“It is disappointing that, again, trusted persons would find it priority to attempt to share our internal process and discussions with the media.”