Former Premier Michael Dunkley has tendered his resignation as leader of the One Bermuda Alliance party following a crushing landslide defeat at the polls by the Progressive Labour Party.
While an official statement has not been released, party sources have confirmed that he has stepped down as the party’s leader. But he has been quoted as saying that he felt “it was the right thing to do given the election result,” and that he “remains totally committed to helping the party”.
Mr Dunkley, who retained his seat in the General Election on Tuesday, ultimately ended up with a total of 12 seats to 24 seats won by the PLP.
Conceding to defeat after the final count he stated in correspondence to Party Chairperson Lynne Woolridge, that he “resigned as Leader of the One Bermuda Alliance early this morning”.
In that correspondence, he also said: “Last night was a tough night to endure for me and my OBA colleagues. We worked hard over the past 4 plus years to rescue the island from economic ruin while making sure those who needed support got it. We are proud of the progress made.
“However the people spoke and the General Election result clearly said our work was not enough. I an heartened that the people of Smith’s North expressed confidence in me by re-electing me as their Member of Parliament. I will continue to serve them with my heart and soul.”
On his resignation, Mr Dunkley said: “I felt it was the right thing to do given the election result and the need to clear the decks to help the party assess next steps. I remain totally committed to helping the party and whomever it chooses to be the next leader and deputy leader.”
Moving forward, he said: “Bermuda continues to face big challenges. Despite our progress on the economy we are not out of the woods. Much remains to be done to stabilize government finances and continue job creation. We must also focus on and improve education, seniors, the cost of healthcare and other social issues.
“However, it is clear from the election results that the big issue in the room is how we live and work together in Bermuda. Are we going to continue to divide our country on race or work together for a better and stronger Bermuda?
“There is much work to do and much progress to be made on this fundamental question. I have been involved in Bermuda’s public life from all sides and, working with colleagues I will do all I can to set the tone for a better and cohesive way forward,” he said.
In closing, he thanked “everyone who reached out” to him after the final result came in, and “to all those who in their own way help each day to move Bermuda forward”.