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PLP to hold ‘clear the air’ retreat

Still fences to be mended: David Burt, right, and Curtis Dickinson at the end of the leadership election in October (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A “clear the air” retreat is being held for Progressive Labour Party MPs to “mend bridges” after October’s leadership battle.

The all-day event scheduled for January 21 was decided at a meeting of the party’s central committee and is being seen as a way to try to deal with internal tensions.

A senior PLP source likened the situation in the party to the fallout between Prince Harry and Prince William in the British Royal Family.

The source said: “The retreat is intended to try and mend bridges and deal with some of the internal damage left over from the leadership contest — to clear the air generally.

“Think Harry and William; the situation in the party is a bit along those lines.

“Some in the caucus fear the situation is irreconcilable, while others believe there is hope.

“The message from the leadership is along the lines of ‘we don’t need to love each other, but we do need to work together’.

“It will be a mix between a meeting and a barbecue where people will be able to raise their grievances and say ‘I have a problem with X, Y, or Z’ and then it gets discussed generally.”

With full details yet to be finalised, the gathering may be extended into a two-day event beginning on January 20.

David Burt sealed success in the leadership contest by a margin of 97 delegate votes against 56 votes for Curtis Dickinson, the former finance minister.

Although it was a clear victory, the race ended up tighter than some observers had predicted.

In a sometimes tense contest, there were complaints from the Dickinson camp that information about delegates was not being shared readily enough.

Mr Dickinson refused to take part in the first scheduled head-to-head debate after he said assurances given to him about the format of the event had not been kept.

He was also not allowed to address the PLP conference in October, despite the Premier doing so.

In the final days of the campaign, Mr Dickinson accused the Premier of being a “liar” who was taking Bermuda to “the brink” economically.

The usual pre-Throne Speech retreat did not take place and instead ministers were asked to present the Premier with three policy ideas each that he could either “choose or refuse”.

The PLP has been contacted for comment.

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Published January 11, 2023 at 7:53 am (Updated January 11, 2023 at 7:42 am)

PLP to hold ‘clear the air’ retreat

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