Ben Smith elected deputy leader of One Bermuda Alliance
The One Bermuda Alliance voted in Ben Smith as its deputy leader at the party’s general conference last night.
Elizabeth Deacon and Joseph Marable were made joint deputy chairs.
Mr Smith ran against Susan Jackson for the position after it was left open by Jarion Richardson, now the leader of the OBA.
He said: “First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me this evening.
“I faced a tough opponent in MP Jackson and would like to say a job well done to her.
“I am looking forward to working with the leader as we build the party from strength to strength and, most importantly, build a better Bermuda for all.”
Contestants gave presentations during the conference and were decided by party members last night at about 6pm.
Mr Smith, the MP for Constituency 8 (Smith’s South), said that OBA members had been “rebuilding” the party over the past three years.
He said that’s last night’s vote was “a step in the direction for bringing our party back to the public”.
Mr Smith added: “It’s important that we continue to listen and take in the information that’s important for our community before we come out and tell people we’re going to do what’s in the best interest of us.
“We have to make sure that ‘us’ means ‘our entire community’.”
Mr Smith said that he became confident in his leadership and people skills over the years and believed now was the time to put himself forward to represent his team.
He said that faith in the party’s skills and potential to lead the government were going to be imperative to winning the next election.
Mr Smith said: “I believe the population is starting to say that they’re not happy with where the Government has the country at the moment, so this is an opportunity to show that we are the team that has the ideas and has the teamwork to help our community to get back on track.
“It has been too long that people have been complaining and no one’s been listening to them, so we as the One Bermuda Alliance will continue to not just listen but take that information towards how we would change the trajectory of our government.”
Mr Richardson became party leader in August after Cole Simons retired from politics.
Mr Richardson was not challenged for the leadership at this year’s conference.
Ms Deacon and Mr Marable ran against Ikeysha Wales and Kim Wales for the position of deputy chair.
Aguinaldo Medeiros will remain the party chair until his tenure ends in one year.
Mr Marable, of Constituency 6 (Hamilton West), said that the result will force the two to create a dynamic that plays to their strengths.
He said that he believed he would bring leadership experience to the post through his time as a businessman.
Mr Marable said: “I feel strongly that in order to lead I must lead by example.
“I try to instil and empower our staff to give them the opportunity to grow and to understand that if it were that easy everybody would be in business, but it requires responsibility and leadership.”
He added: “I think we at the OBA have a diverse team — everyone brings something to the table and we check our egos at the door.”
Ms Deacon, of Constituency 4 (St George’s South), said that she believed she brought a structure and a strategic approach to her partnership with Mr Marable.
She added that she was impressed by the diversity of the party members and supporters, all united by a common interest in “inclusivity, accountability and integrity, but also fiscal responsibility”.
Ms Deacon said: “I think a lot of people are looking for a change, and I think where I can contribute is building that vision for Bermuda and figure out how the party is going to contribute to that.”
Mr Richardson said that the conference had a “great slate of candidates” and that he was excited to work with his new team.
He said that aside from their diverse backgrounds and skills, “they just work well together”.
Mr Richardson added: “We don’t want this to be politicians in a silo and politicians just off to the side — this has to come from literally the ground up.
“This is why it’s so important that we get in touch with all the people of Bermuda again to show them what we’re doing and what we’re going to do when we’re back in office.”