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Ben Smith is OBA choice for Smith’s South by-election

Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of Education and Youth, Culture and Sport

The Opposition leader in the Senate has been confirmed as the One Bermuda Alliance’s candidate for a by-election in October, the party announced today.

Ben Smith will run for the Smith’s South (Constituency 8) seat, which was vacated when former OBA leader Cole Simons retired this month.

A spokeswoman for the party said: “Mr Smith is the Opposition Senate leader and Shadow Minister of Education and Youth, Culture and Sport.

“He is also the Opposition spokesman in the Senate for national security.

“Mr Smith is a son of the soil, and is passionate about a better Bermuda for all, regardless of race, social status or gender.

“He is the national swimming coach for Bermuda and the co-owner of Nonna’s, a popular local eatery.”

Mr Smith earlier represented Southampton West Central (Constituency 31) as an MP.

He said: “I have huge shoes to fill as this seat has been held by our former leader, Cole Simons, for the last quarter-century.

“Cole is a man of integrity and has been trusted by the residents in Constituency 8 to advocate for them. I intend to do the same.”

The OBA spokeswoman said Mr Smith planned to “show not only the residents in Constituency 8, but the people of Bermuda, that the island can no longer settle for words in pretty packages”.

Mr Smith added: “There is no time for lip service.

“The people of Bermuda do not deserve empty promises; they need for their voices to be heard, and actions to be taken where everyone can benefit.”

In the 2020 General Election, Mr Simons — whose retirement came after 25 years as an MP — beat Owen Darrell, then the Progressive Labour Party candidate, by 547 votes to 318.

The PLP has yet to announce who will face Mr Smith in the by-election on October 5.

A PLP spokeswoman said the OBA’s choice was “an admission” that Mr Smith was unable to win Constituency 31 — where he lost by 53 votes to the PLP’s Crystal Caesar in the 2020 General Election.

She added: “On the doorstep in Southampton, voters told us that Ben Smith was an invisible MP who rarely spoke up for their issues, and it looks like the OBA wants to subject the voters of Constituency 8 to the same fate.”’

The spokeswoman said: “The Progressive Labour Party government’s record speaks for itself.

“We have a record of strong leadership and have led Bermuda through the Covid-19 pandemic and are now spearheading our successful economic recovery with the fastest expansion of international business in 15 years and unemployment falling below pre-pandemic levels.

“We will continue to remind voters how the PLP government responded to assist Bermudians facing 40-year-high global inflation by cutting taxes for 86 per cent of workers and all local businesses in Bermuda, reducing vehicle-licensing fees, and sealing an agreement with grocers to lower prices of staple goods.”

She added that the PLP’s candidate will be “an inspiring, new face who represents the best of Bermuda”.

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Published August 28, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated August 28, 2023 at 1:53 pm)

Ben Smith is OBA choice for Smith’s South by-election

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