Exactly 21 days to the day Bermuda’s electorate goes to the polls, Opposition leader David Burt today announced the final slate of Progressive Labour Party (PLP) candidates in the next General Election – 16 are sitting MP’s.
Speaking at Alaska Hall this afternoon, Mr Burt confirmed that he will run again in Constituency 18 Pembroke West Central against One Bermuda Alliance candidate Nick Kempe, for the seat previously held by Neletha Butterfield in 2012.
Flanked by members of his Shadow Cabinet and other candidates, the PLP leader also announced another repeat run in Pembroke Central where Walton Brown beat OBA candidate Andrew Simons by a mere six votes in the last General Election.
PLP MP Michael Scott, who held on to his seat by eight votes the time around, will go up against the OBA’s Ray Charlton again in Sandys North.
Dennis Lister, who is the PLP’s longest serving MP, will run against OBA candidate Michael Swan in Sandys North Central. And Jamahl Simmons will face off once again, with lawyer Georgia Marshall of the OBA in Sandys South.
There will be a three-way line up in Hamilton West where PLP incumbent Wayne Furbert will run against OBA candidate Simone Barton and Independent candidate Thad Hollis. His fellow MP in Hamilton East, Derrick Burgess will run against OBA newcomer Peter Barrett.
In Pembroke South East, PLP incumbent Rolfe Commissiong will run against OBA candidate Rodney Smith. Walter Roban will go up against OBA candidate Scott Stewart in Pembroke East. And Diallo Rabain, who replaced retired MP Glenn Blakeney, will run again in Devonshire North Central against OBA candidate Fabian Minors.
The PLP’s newest MP, Neville Tyrell, who defeated the OBA’s Robyn Swan in the race for the seat vacated by former party leader Marc Bean, will face off with her again in Warwick South Central.
In Warwick South East, Lawrence Scott who won the seat vacated by his father, former Premier Alex Scott, will take on the OBA’s Nalton Brangman.
Mr Burt also confirmed that former Public Safety Minister Colonel David Burch is back for a second run, after he lost to Wayne Scott in 2012. Mr Scott, who has stepped out of politics, has been replaced by Sheila Gomez in Warwick North Central.
And former backbenchr George Scott will take on the OBA’s former Premier Craig Cannonier in Devonshire South Central.
There’s four PLP candidates who still don’t know who their OBA counterparts will be. The are PLP incumbents Lovitta Foggo in St David’s, Zane DeSilva in Southampton East, Michael Weeks in Pembroke East Central, and Kim Wilson in Sandys South Central.
The OBA has yet to announce candidates running in those constituencies.
Reflecting back on the party’s victory 19 years ago, Mr Burt said: “In 1998, we set out to build a new Bermuda, but in 2017 we want to build a better Bermuda.
“We will do that by putting Bermudians first and providing them with the tools and the opportunities that they need to succeed.”
Humbled by the party’s defeat in the last General Election, he said: “In 2012, you the voters sent us a clear message. That message was ‘not good enough’. We were not worthy of your vote back then, and you let us know. As a result we regrouped, we retooled, and we are humbly coming back to you asking for your support and to assure you that we will not let you down.
“We remain humble because during the last four plus years, we didn’t get it right all the time and if we messed up, you let us know. The fact that you even cared enough to tell us off humbles us.”
Mr Burt concluded: “We are here because we are a team that will build a bridge of opportunity between the two Bermuda’s and close the gap between the haves and the have-nots, building a more fair economy by reducing the cost of living that is crushing so many families.
“We are a team that will repair the social fabric that has been ripped apart by a callous government decision to cut social services and after school programmes, investments in our youth and our seniors while lavishly spending on their own vanity projects, at the same time robbing future generation of wealth by privatizing our public assets,” he said.
“And we are a team that will provide Bermudians with the tools and the opportunities to make Bermuda a better place for all of us.”