Progressive Labour Party leader David Burt is set to become the youngest Premier in Bermuda at the age of 38, as he and his team of winning candidates head to Government House later today to be sworn in.
The Swearing in Ceremony of the new Premier of Bermuda will be held at 3pm this afternoon. This after the new ruling party netted a landslide victory at the polls last night that resulted in the crushing defeat of the country’s first-ever one-term One Bermuda Alliance administration headed up by Michael Dunkley.
After all was said and done, the PLP secured 24 seats in the House of Assembly with 12 seats for the OBA. But by far, out of all the victories last night was the 513 vote win by trade union activist Christopher Famous, who defeated former Minister of Finance Bob Richards, who came in with 419 votes in Devonshire East.
Before the night was done Mr Richards, who piloted the Bill that facilitated the multi-million dollar airport redevelopment plan, after he and his colleagues crept into the House of Assembly at 5am, announced that he has decided to retire from politics.
Since then, reports have surfaced that Mr Dunkley has resigned as the OBA leader. We’ll have more on that story later today.
But by far, the biggest upset last night was the victory secured by Chris Famous, who today is being dubbed as the PLP’s MVP – Most Valuable Player. Among them, after a three-way race in Devonshire North West, Wayne Caines took back the seat held by the OBA’s Glen Smith, and also defeated former Premier Paula Cox, who ran as an Independent candidate.
At the end of the day, despite concerns that Ms Cox would take votes from the PLP, she ended up with a mere 41 votes. The final count was 568 for Mr Caines and 385 votes for Mr Smith.
And as predicted by Bermuda Real, it was a PLP clean sweep or a green sweep in the four
constituencies in St George’s where Renee Ming trounced Kenneth Bascome in C1. In C2 St George’s West, Kim Swan sent OBA incumbent Nandi Outerbridge packing. When asked “how does it feel to be back in the Lower House again, Mr Swan replied: “Humbled.”
Lovitta Foggo retained her seat in St David’s and Tinee Furbert defeated OBA incumbent Suzann Roberts-Holshouser in St George’s South.
Another upset in Warwick West sent OBA incumbent Jeff Sousa out of the House. Political newcomer Dennis Lister III ultimately emerged as the winner in that constituency. Mr Sousa lost by 12 votes.
And for the first-time in Bermuda’s history, he will form a father and son team in the Lower House with Dennis Lister II, who is the PLP’s longest serving MP.
Colonel David Burt also silenced critics who said he could never get elected last night. He defeated Sheila Gomez at the polls in Warwick North Central by 661 to 338. PLP leader David Burt also soundly defeated Nick Kempe in Pembroke West Central by 639 to 326.
When he took the stage around 1:30am this morning, he told thousands of party supporters that the PLP’s sweeping victory could not have happened without the voters.
“This belongs to all of you, because all of you saw through the negative attacks, all of you saw through what they tried to say about the PLP and you believed in your hearts that the 36 us, together with all of you, could change the course of our country,” he said.
Former Premier Michael Dunkley conceded defeat just around midnight. Flanked by party colleagues who were moved back to the other side of the House, he congratulated Mr Burt and the PLP.
Another one of those “crushing defeats” was the bottom line handed to Ray Charlton, who lost by only eight votes in 2012 to Michael Scott in Sandys North. He was defeated 577 to 297. And Andrew Simons, who lost by a mere six votes to Walton Brown in Pembroke Central in the last General Election, lost by 540 votes to 283.
And collectively, at the end of the day, the votes secured the Independent candidates rendered them ineffective in what remains a two-party system in this country. How they plan to be involved in the political process moving forward, time will tell, although it is highly doubtful that Ms Cox will be embraced back into the fold by the PLP.
As for Independent candidate Thad Hollis, his break from the OBA dejected by Bermuda’s electorate yesterday looks likely to be a permanent break. Once again, time will tell.
Overall, after the ballots were counted, the PLP secured 20,059 votes or 58.89 per cent to the 13,832 votes cast for the OBA, which amounted to 40.61 per cent of the total ballots cast. Collectively, the Independent candidates came in with 169 votes, or 0.50 percent. Based on the 46,669 voters registered, voter turnout was 72.98 per cent.