Burt wins PLP leadership vote, Roban beats Ming for deputy
David Burt was re-elected as the Progressive Labour Party leader last night after a bruising campaign battle, which he described as “difficult”.
Party delegates and PLP MPs gave him victory over Curtis Dickinson, the former finance minister.
Walter Roban, home affairs minister, also retained his post as deputy leader in the face of a challenge by former Cabinet minister Renée Ming.
PLP delegates and MPs voted 97 to 56 in favour of Mr Burt and 96 to 55 in favour of Mr Roban.
Mr Burt refused to be drawn on whether he would offer Mr Dickinson a return to Cabinet after what the Premier described as a “difficult” PLP election process.
Mr Burt said: “Clearly, this has been a spirited election campaign.
“There are ideas and talents that we can all use and we are going to take the time to focus on restoring our relationships.”
Asked if he would behave differently in his new term as party leader, Mr Burt said: “I am not entirely certain if it’s a question of ‘differently’.
“What is evident is that one of the things we are going to do is as a party to get out and talk to persons more.
“We have been in a pandemic. It’s been a difficult period. And during this election campaign it’s all of us meeting with members across the country.
“It was good to educate persons, meet with persons, to speak with persons, to interact with persons.
“We must work in the spirit of unity. So, from that perspective we must … have a restorative process so that we can use of all of our talents to advance.”
He added: “We have very challenging issues to deal with. We are going to make sure we do whatever we can to unify, to restore relationships, to bring us back together after a difficult internal election.”
Mr Burt pointedly ignored a question on whether he would invite Mr Dickinson back into the Cabinet.
After the vote, Mr Dickinson said: “We had a contest – the delegates have spoken. It is time for us to get together and go back to work.
“And I am as committed to the PLP as I was before I started this journey.”
Now that Premier David Burt has survived the leadership challenge within the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party, what does this mean for the country?
It’s no secret. Most of the country is dissatisfied with the state of affairs in Bermuda. The leadership challenge offered many a ray of hope for a better tomorrow if Mr Dickinson won.
But 97 delegates made a choice that all of Bermuda must live with – another four years with David Burt if an election is not called.
Leading up to last night’s vote, there were assertions made about the state of our island. They cannot be ignored.
It begs the question, will we be in a better place with Premier Burt? It’s difficult to envision as we’ve been under his guard for five years and his leadership has resulted in very little improvement for Bermuda and its people.
It’s imperative that our state of affairs improve, and quickly. If not Bermuda will be clawing for its future.
The One Bermuda Alliance believes in a leadership which cares about all its people, not just a faction; we believe that integrity must be infused in everything that is done for the betterment of the country and its people and most importantly we must regain a Bermuda which was prosperous for all.
The triumph came after Mr Dickinson branded David Burt a liar in an extraordinary attack before delegates voted on which man should lead the PLP.
In a scathing social-media post yesterday before the vote, Mr Dickinson laid into Mr Burt’s track record and predicted the PLP would lose the next election if he was still leader.
The campaign has been beset by claims from both sides about dirty tricks and attempted smears.
Mr Dickinson, who complained the PLP leadership had gone against tradition and denied him the platform to address delegates, warned Bermuda was “on the brink” economically and that Mr Burt was not telling voters the truth about the actual scale of the problems.
In a hard-hitting campaign video, Mr Dickinson said the Premier was taking a “dangerous gamble” with $125 million of taxpayers’ money on the Fairmont Southampton refurbishment and either did not know what he was doing, or did not care because he was desperate for a PR win.
Mr Burt used a keynote address to the PLP conference yesterday to claim his wife, Kristin, had had to endure “vicious and false stories” that had been targeted at attacking him as premier.
The Premier said that recent weeks had not been easy for himself, his wife or their family.
This evening, Mr Burt ignored questions about Mr Dickinson’s comments on the way into the PLP conference.
Asked about Mr Dickinson’s claims, Mr Roban told The Royal Gazette: “I know that’s not true. I have known David Burt for over 20 years. He doesn’t lie.
“And, calling people liars is not a part of the PLP values that we hold, particularly when you do it to your own. Absolutely not.”
The 124 delegates elected by individual PLP branches had a vote in the elections along with the party’s 30 MPs.
Mr Burt said previously that if he won the election he would only serve four more years and stand down in 2026.
“Under our longstanding constitution, our party held a fair and democratic election process and we thank everyone for their efforts.
“From the volunteers who make up our executive, to our branches, party members and supporters who assisted with all aspects of execution. I especially want to thank my wife and children for their support, as this role is hardest on them; their support and love strengthen me.
“I am humbled and grateful to be returned to my role as Leader to continue the work that we have begun. As a party, we presented a bold and progressive platform in 2017 and 2020 and have never lost sight of our goal. Tonight, I am pleased that we again conducted a fair and democratic process.
“Challengers are a cornerstone of democracy, and I thank Curtis Dickinson and Renée Ming for presenting their names for consideration by the Delegates.
Now that the election is behind us, the work to rebuild both the country and the party resumes as we together continue on the path to building a better and fairer Bermuda. As I said in our Leaders’ Debate, there is work to do to restore relationships within the Party, and that effort will start in earnest immediately.
“When we assumed office in 2017, we immediately began undoing the damage of the OBA to deliver on our promises. Now, the party has again endorsed our progressive agenda and economic vision and we will move forward with our plan to implement a minimum-wage increase, advance fairer taxation, reform education and provide affordable Healthcare for all Bermudians. In my final term as Leader, now more than ever, I am committed to delivering a Bermuda that our founders, members and supporters can be proud of.”