Full Text: Craig Cannonier’s Election Speech

September 11, 2011

Last night [Sept.10] Senator Craig Cannonier was elected leader of the One Bermuda Alliance [OBA], beating fellow candidate Bob Richards by 14 votes.

There were 680 votes cast in the leadership race; 6 spoiled [0.88%], Senator Cannonier received 344 votes [50.44%], while Bob Richards got 330 votes [48.52%]. Senator Cannonier and his family are pictured below at last night’s convention.

OBA Elections  Bermuda September 10 2011-1-8

The election of Senator Cannonier means John Barritt can be expected to resign from his seat. Mr Barritt, who served as OBA Interim Leader, previously pledged to step down from his seat in the House of Assembly – which he has held since 1993 – if the new Leader is not an elected MP.

Senator Cannonier spoke on a number of issues last night, touching on his personal life, the economy, crime, race and more. Speaking on his experience he said, “I understand that some people may be concerned that I lack Parliamentary experience. I acknowledge this but I say to you –leadership is not about one person. It is about team. No man is an island and no man stands alone. If we are to win the election we must have a strong team. Unified. Working together. I can lead that team.”

On the PLP he said, “The PLP depends on the division of race to stay in power. We cannot allow the PLP to define us, to paint us as the white party or the New BP. We must sit in their homes, and go to their communities and show them that the OBA is about one thing and one thing only and that is getting Bermuda working again.”

oba leader craig cannonier sept 2011

On future plans he said, “We will help the young professional who wants to return to Bermuda. We will put forth a jobs plan for the people of this country. We will look at renewable energy solutions. We will be investing in our own infrastructure, our roads, our causeway. This will create jobs in Bermuda. We will work closely with our faith leaders as we promote values and a morally strong nation. The standards will be set high.”

“We will invest in our students and teachers and build a world class educational system. We will take advantage one of our most valuable resources and that is Bermuda College strengthening their partners with colleges around the world. We will invest in our kids and empower our teachers. We will bring down crime by ensuring that our police have the best skills, training and most of all technology. You can’t send a fennel stick into a gun fight. We will also encourage our young men to get off the wall and walk into a job. We will not allow the PLP to hide behind race to distract Bermudians from looking at their true record.”

Senator Craig Cannonier has a BSc in Industrial Psychology from Towson State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He has worked for the MarketPlace Group, People’s Pharmacy, Cable & Wireless and currently runs Esso City Tigermarket, Collector’s Hill Esso and Warwick Esso.

He entered politics in 2009, and in February 2010 was elected leader of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance, winning 157-38 over Myron Piper. Earlier this year, Senator Cannonier was appointed to the Senate for the OBA.

You can read the full speech below, and watch it on the video replay here. It starts at approximately 1:15 into the video, drag the bottom bar to fast forward.

The full text of Senator Cannonier’s speech is below:

Good evening One Bermuda Alliance

I am honored to be before you this evening running for Leader of the OBA. I am honored to stand before you because just one year ago we were two organizations and now we are one. I am proud because tonight we will lay the foundation for our victory in the next general election.

I believe will win. I believe that we will win if we give the people a reason to vote for us. We need to tell the OBA story that we put aside personal agendas, egos and party loyalties and put Bermuda First. Let me be clear, there are two people running tonight for leader but know that tomorrow we will be unified. We are unified because the serious issues facing this country today require a unified response.

This is not about Craig or Bob. This is about ensuring we win the next election. This is about reversing the direction this country is headed. This is about who can go into those constituencies and give the people of Bermuda hope.

With the fact that the tomorrow really is today we are faced with the urgency of now. Dr. King articulated that over 42 years ago. However, those words ring loud today in Bermuda. There is an urgent cry to change the direction in which this country is headed. The future of our country is at stake. But you already know that. The people in this room know that. The people in this room understand that change must happen and it must happen now.

The question is, what are we going to do to get to the people that are not in this room? We must get more people in this room. We must get people with different experiences in the room. We must get people in this room who are different than what you are accustomed to. We must get these people in the room so that they will help us turn this country around. I know that there are people who want to join the cause but they do not want business as usual.

We must ensure that there are fresh new faces with new ideas as well as the experience to get it done. We cannot come out of this convention as business as usual. This election cannot be about the status quo. Choosing the status quo gives the PLP an early Christmas gift. They have already begun to label this organization as old wine in a new wine bottle. I am here to tell you that old wine in a new bottle will not bring us victory in the next election. What we must do now is bring people in this room who will bring about change for Bermuda. To make new wine in new bottles.

For example we have one of the brightest minds on education in the OBA. Toni Spring. She is an advocate for the empowerment of the student and teacher, working closely with Grant Gibbons who is a leader on education and finance policy. We must have these types of people in the room working together. I promise that they are out there just waiting to be asked. I know this because I came from them. I was them.

We must convince the people of Bermuda that they can trust us with their vote. That it will be not be business as usual. They are concerned that the Bermuda they love is headed in the wrong direction but they don’t know us.

There is not a day that goes by where we are not hearing about these issues. However, if we do not give the people of Bermuda an option that they can trust the PLP will have 15 more years. Let me create that visual for you.

A Bermuda whose safety net is gone. Where organizations like the Sunshine League suffer the wrath of a government overspending. A Bermuda where the value of homes has plummeted by 50 percent. A Bermuda where shares in the local market have no value. A Bermuda where the inheritance you have left your children is worthless.

Bermuda has become a country where young men and women are frustrated not being able to find work and make a decent wage. Bermuda has become a country where the poor get poorer and the gap between the haves and the have nots widens. This movement that we have begun is about much more than fixing the economy.

We can fix the economy but that’s not enough. We can fix the economy but that won’t stop the shootings. We can fix the economy but that won’t stop gangs from organizing. We can fix the economy but that won’t stop the racial division that exists in this country. We must do more than fix the economy. We must be about changing hearts and minds so that all Bermudians can reach their full potential. You deserve this. The people of Bermuda deserve this.

The OBA has solutions to these problems. We must show it. We must show them that the OBA way is about solutions not about criticisms. It’s about possibilities not limitations. We must show them that the OBA will bring about substantive change. We must show them that we can win. We must show them that we have bold new fresh ideas as well as the experience to get it done. They must see, smell and taste change. This election tonight cannot be about business as usual. The conditions of our country demand that we be serious about solutions.

We must wake up this country. The PLP won a mandate to change Bermuda. Instead, after 13 years we have division, and an increased racial divide when we should have been on a pathway to healing. Cronyism, favoritism and nepotism have become constant practices that continue to plague our country.

Despite this there are people that will still vote PLP because they have a deep emotional connection with them. There are those right now that are disappointed with the PLP but will still vote for them. The PLP depends on the division of race to stay in power. We cannot allow the PLP to define us, to paint us as the white party or the New BP. We must sit in their homes, and go to their communities and show them that the OBA is about one thing and one thing only and that is getting Bermuda working again. We will earn their trust and show them that the OBA government is about justice, equality, fairness, transparency, and the belief that all men and women should be able to realize their dreams in this country.

I understand that some people may be concerned that I lack Parliamentary experience. I acknowledge this but I say to you –leadership is not about one person. It is about team. No man is an island and no man stands alone. If we are to win the election we must have a strong team. Unified. Working together. I can lead that team.

Some have said that I should bide my time. That I am young enough to wait. Well we don’t have time to wait. The election is not about whether Craig has time or not. This election is not about superficial hierarchy. This election is not about pedigree or class. It is about people and whether we can win the election so that we can improve people’s lives.

I am offended when people say to me next time Craig. I have been a leader of a party and have demonstrated what we can achieve together. People talk about experience. Well you are right. I have not been in politics for 15 years. But in two years I have led a party and led the charge to bring about the One Bermuda Alliance that will win the next election. I understand the urgency of now. I put aside my personal position and understand our mutual interests.

My theme has always been the urgency of now. We must balance the budget now.

We get Bermuda working now. We must stop the murders now. We must invest in our teachers and our children now. When a patient comes in the hospital with a broken ankle or a broken arm he sits in the waiting room. But if he has internal bleeding the doctors immediately try to stop the bleeding because if he didn’t the patient would bleed to death. Well my fellow OBA members when we win the election under my leadership, Bermuda’s bleeding will stop and the healing will begin.

Let me tell you what Victory looks like

Every seat the PLP has we go after. We will challenge their record on the economy, on jobs, on contracts, on social programs. We will challenge them on their lack of planning for this great country. We will travel the country and knock on every door. We will show the differences between their lack of plans and our plan. We will help the young professional who wants to return to Bermuda. We will put forth a jobs plan for the people of this country. We will look at renewable energy solutions. We will be investing in our own infrastructure, our roads, our causeway. This will create jobs in Bermuda. We will work closely with our faith leaders as we promote values and a morally strong nation. The standards will be set high.

We will invest in our students and teachers and build a world class educational system. We will take advantage one of our most valuable resources and that is Bermuda College strengthening their partners with colleges around the world. We will invest in our kids and empower our teachers. We will bring down crime by ensuring that our police have the best skills, training and most of all technology. You can’t send a fennel stick into a gun fight. We will also encourage our young men to get off the wall and walk into a job. We will not allow the PLP to hide behind race to distract Bermudians from looking at their true record. We will expose the masks that they are hiding behind. We will confront the issue of race head on. Their days of fooling the public are over. We will treat all the enter the shores of this island with dignity and respect. We will not let the PLP define us.

Lastly, I was born premature weighing only 4 pounds and did not breathe on my own for one half hour. Doctors had given up and one decided to come back and not give up on Craig and said let’s give it few more minutes and little more time. The doctors were breathing into my lungs so that my brain would get oxygen. Eventually I made it home after four months in the hospital. For whatever reasons that defy the laws of nature I stand before you this evening.

That same child grew up in place called St.David’s a place where diversity is as common as the reefs of our shores. I grew up without my father who was in my life but not in my life. He was crippled by the disease of schizophrenia. It was during these hard times I learned the lessons of faith and strong family ties and the belief that all men are created equal in the eyes of God. It does not matter where you start in life it matters how you finish. I want all the children of Bermuda to know that they can finish strong no matter how they start. And that an OBA government will make sure that they have a good start in life. And so again I am thankful tonight for this opportunity. This is a new day, a new beginning and it starts right here right now. I am asking you to vote for me to bring true change to our island home.

Thank you

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Comments (47)

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  1. Tony Brannon says:

    Congrats to you and all the OBA team. Everyone is a winner.
    Now the work to restore Bermuda begins…..

    Lets win the country back at the ballot box. But then you have to make GAME CHANGING moves fast in eduscation, tourism, law & order, Keeng IB strong, JOBS JOBS JOBS………
    TOURISM has to be NEW, BOLD & provide investors a return on their money.
    GOOD LUCK….

    • Same Ole Same Ole says:

      Please let me know all you brighter minds, can the leader of the opposition be a non sitting member of parliament. If not, Cannonier is the leader of the OBA, full stop.

      @Tony, there will never be gamblling in Bermuda. Go to Church and pray, pray that the country can be ready when the world wide economy turns around and that we can all live in harmony instead of me me syndrome.

      • Michael says:

        sounds like you didnt read the very first line of this Bernews report mate…scroll back up and be enlightened

        • Nasty n true says:

          Chill Michael, most of the reports are calling him the Leader of the Opposition. You were enlightened, sounds like your namesake jumped the ship early according to Richards TV news comments on Friday, but I told them you did not come forth and say you were not supporting Cannonier, only the usual private calls with no trace back eh?

  2. Maddog says:

    Tony, “win the country back”? Bermuda is on it’s way to being restored even though we do still have problems. “Restore Bermuda”? Are you suggesting we restore Bermuda back to the forty thieves era to take people back into a time when certain individuals ruled and black people suffered? We deserve better than to be taken back.

    YOUR BRAIN IS STILL FRIED…….

    • Michael says:

      Tony is just looking forward, Mad Dog, why do you feel the need to attack Bermys who are just sharing their thoughts as to what we can do to get out of this mess?…you need to ask yourself, “what have YOU done for Bermuda lately (if anything) and stop all this negativity…it is most unhelpful tbh…

    • navin johnson says:

      maddog the only way that Bermuda is on the way back is that the plp is on the way out…. 99%of the audience was white? you must have rabies…plp all de way all de way plp out the door and good riddance….

  3. Nasty n true says:

    When one indulges in pot smoking, especially for the numbers of years of the nearly senior citizens, their brains are fried and they usually don’t have a full deck of cards to perform with.

    If it was up to those byes, we would legalize pot, have gambling on every corner possible, legal prostitution and the likes. Then where would the our youths aspire to become?

    Those can trash out ideological suggestions, when functioning from a “trust fund” prospective. They are the minorities, we the struggling have to make sure that our country is safe and secure for our people, because most of us are related. They can go back to their mainlands and pick up the pieces, we can’t, this is our only HOME.

    • just askin? says:

      I have had a good look at the pictures on Bernews, Facebook and what others have sent.

      The OBA said they have a full slate of 36 to run in the next election.

      What I saw was each of those 36 and then some bringing their family members out to the conference last evening with some of their spouses and family members that can’t even vote in a general election.

      I heard all you had to have was $5.00 – can that be considered buying a vote? just askin

  4. Cancer says:

    Time for Paula to go and time for PLP to go… And I voted for PLP in every election. I’m just tired of this PLP madness along with their great defenders! take off the blinders!!!

    • Maddog says:

      You need to do something for yourself.Government is not going to wake you up in the morning and take you work ok.

  5. Maddog says:

    In Mr Cannoniers speech he said that we should not let the plp paint us as the white party or the new UBP. I don’t know if Mr Cannonier is blind but 99% of the people in the audience were old white people, the same that support the UBP.

    • What says:

      Very sad indeed, perhaps the college have a course in mathematics you could attend.

      • Maddog says:

        You may know mathematics but do you, if your blind you are blind so sad.They OBA need black people to win the election like it or not. That why the leadership was between to black men, they will continue using black people so sad. Michael Dunkely said that if he put his hat in ring he would have won, why because all white people would have voted for him. Do the math.

        • What says:

          So you admit you are wrong and then off you go again.. Sad sad sad.

        • Shaking the Head says:

          What if black people don’t vote because they can’t bring themselves to vote for the OBA, but equally can’t bring themselves to vote for the PLP? You are in fact stereotyping 60% of Bermudians, and therefore perpetuating the myth that black Bermudians have no voice or views of their own.

    • Brian says:

      Wow! I think you need to get yours eyes checked out.

  6. BombsAway says:

    racism sucks.

    • freddyg says:

      It sure does !! Whats the need for ” racism ” ! Wake up from the dark side of LIFE !!!!

    • Maddog says:

      It may suck but it is here and black people did not start it check out the history.

  7. Terry says:

    And who will pay the ultimate price.

    The Blackman. Back to the old Plantation buy his own.

    Sad really. Gives new meaning to the sellers on the “Ivory Coast”…….Irony……………

    • What says:

      Yes, it is sad, the current regime in power is making the Bermuda a pauper, we are in debt over our heads to other people. The plantation is where we are currently headed and at an alarming pace.

  8. Shut Yo Mouth says:

    Dunkley’s milk produces plenty of Gas , Wonder if Cannonier’s tapped into that renewable energy yet ?

  9. Shut Yo Mouth says:

    I know that there are people who want to join the cause but they do not want business as usual. It will be a heightend state of Business As Usual .

    We must sit in their homes, and go to their communities and show them that the OBA is about on thing .Big problem here mate , because , if you must come to my community than it means that you are not part of my community , therefore , how can you know how to represent my community .

    • Clinton J.A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

      It’s really simple Shut Yo Mouth. If candidates put themselves forward from within the constituencies they will be “part of the community”. I was there and I saw approx 1000 BERMUDIANS… You can call them whatever color you like. I don’t believe the hype that says “all white people are rich” because they aren’t… I know some pretty poor ones, how about you? At the end of the day we all sink or swim TOGETHER!

      • Vote for Me says:

        @ CJA Paynter
        According to the votes cast, there were approx 600 voters. If your estimate of 1,000 is correct, up to 40% did not vote. Where did you get your estimate of 1,000? And if you think you are correct, why did 400 refrain from voting?

  10. THE HELL!!! says:

    Craig Cannonier the leader of the OBA Are you kidding me? Well the OBA are in trouble already. A Bull Sh#tter for their leader. Now that’s hilarious..

  11. Cancer says:

    I have to laugh at all the PLP great defenders. In their eyes PLP never made any mistakes. At least they won’t admit to them. As an ex-PLP voter I think it’s time for a change and we must stop acting like they are the only one that can govern this country. Take a look – we are in more debt then ever before – more money is missing then ever before – more unnecessary supposed-to-be consultants then ever before. Just because were black govt it doesn’t mean we shud have the plp’s back when they have done wrong. Paula must go… She’s covered up for ewart enuf and she owes this country an apology!! Take off the blinders!!!! PLP will not win the next election, somebody tell Paula. Now Get Over It Great Defenders!!!

    • Maddog says:

      Those people that voted for the UBP are going to vote for the OBA. Most of those people are white if not all. No matter what party, dog, cat, pig, goat, rabbit, monkey, horse, fish, lion,that is organized to run against the PLP white people will vote for that.

      All those white people that were suppose to be for the UBP all going to vote for the OBA how deceptive.
      The UBP disbanded and not one white person complained, they just all went to the OBA and left Kim Swan there, were are there loyalties how can you trust these people.

  12. star man says:

    Trouble with PLP sycophants spouting off in this thread is they’re always pointing at the other guy, with such childish enthusiasm too! Anything to deflect People’s attention from the real Truth – that the PLP will make a much better Opposition Party. They’re good at that, lots of experience there.

    Seriously, the PLP have been given a hundred chances to prove themselves to be an honest & competent & transparent Government and they have screwed up royally at every turn!

    Y’all allowed Ewart & friends to get this Country into the red ink to the tune of One Billion Dollars! Your Ministers will not take a pay cut, you want us to suffer, you want us to pay for YOUR mistakes. NO! NO! and NO!

    Your services as a Government are no longer required or wanted. Buh-bye…

  13. Jim Bean says:

    maddog is another PLP paid blogger

    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Jim Bean… here you again. Why is everyone a paid blogger just because they do not share your political opinion?

      • specialgirl4 says:

        Because Jim Bean is not capable of debating the issues based upon real facts and information, so he always has to resort to calling people “paid bloggers”. He is the biggest one of them all.

  14. freddyg says:

    WHY CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG !!!!
    GOD BLESS BERMUDA…………………..

    • Maddog says:

      If that was the case then we all would be going to one church. Go figure. And God bless you to.

      • LOL (original) says:

        And which domination is that church please tell another one……………..

        LOL

  15. bermudian says:

    The pictures tell the story, same old, same old, different name, but same old.

    • sad to see says:

      You said it bermudian if i dug a hole for 39 years will you be able to fill it in 4 or 10 years they siad they left UBP for so many reasons now they all are one right !!!!!!!!!!! Don’t be fooled Bremuda none of these partys care for us they want the power thats all . I do thank PLP for making it easy for Bremudians 10 years ago to buy a home I was one of them .

  16. Real Talk(original) says:

    As Mr Cannonier acknowledges, there are many people out there wanting to be able to trust in a party. I am one of those who has previously voted for the PLP and am anxious to see what the OBA has to offer in the way of solutions to this crisis we find ourselves in.

    I have not joined the OBA to date because I don’t feel that they have provided anything yet in the form of a solid platform or ideas and understand that they are likely waiting until an election is called… Simply not being the PLP is not enough yet to have my allegiance or endorsement but I am most certainly all ears.

  17. GreatPics says:

    I feel Mr Cannonier is a nice enough guy, but he isn’t ready for prime time.
    This is another example of wanting a black face out front to gain black voters…and if unsuccessful he will be ousted just like Kim Swan and Wayne Furbert. And if successful, after his honeymoon period, Michael Dunkley will be chomping at the bit to get rid of him. Mr Cannonier has disappointed me in giving up what he stood for just to join this crew for some political acclaim.
    It is amazing what we will do just for flattery.

    • Bermyman says:

      So what your saying is black Bermudians will not vote for a white person but white Bermudians have no problem voting for a black person. So what does that tell you about the PLP and the way they look to win elections? They only appeal and care about one race of people rather than the whole of Bermuda? Hence why white people will not vote for them! They are out to demonize and attack white Bermudians every opportunity they get, why on earth would the White Turkeys vote for a white turkey only Christmas dinner?
      I think you have it all wrong, if you look at the pics there are both white and black people in the room BOTH! If that was the PLP leadership election, there would be one white person named Zane, 1 in 1000. What does that tell you about the diversity of the PLP, that they do not represent a cross section of the community! Plain and simple the PLP is a racially motivated and exclusive party that will and has only taken care of their own and not the greater good of the country.

      • specialgirl4 says:

        You are all “deceiving” yourselves, if you think people are not able to see past this political strategy than you’re fooling yourselves. “Who do you all think you are now deceiving”? Let’s be honest, he was voted in by a high percentage of white people. If you are honest, Mr. Dunkley is the person who the UBP/OBA supporters really wanted to be the leader, but because he carried too much baggage of the UBP, he was asked to step back for now. You feared that he would not draw in the “Black Middle Class Vote”. So who is more desperate now? It does not take rocket science to figure this out. It suggest that the OBA/UBP do not respect the intelligence of Black people to vote based upon issues. So you have also underestimated the Black voter. What’s wrong saying this is our political strategy, may gain more respect from people.

        • LOL (original) says:

          Do you have proof that Dunkley was asked to step back? Please elaborate who asked him to not run? You talk about debating with facts where are yours? Please provide quotes or links to articales to your claims. If you can’t well then you are what you say others are aren’t you…………..

          LOL poltics, politricks……….

        • Bermyman says:

          @ Special girl for you: yet again your comments are very hard to read and are poorly written, but from what I can grasp and understand about them your reasoning is convoluted with no real conclusion. The whole point of the OBA is to encourage “ALL” people to vote on the issues not just black people as it would be under the PLP. I feel that the PLP if you really peeled away all of the spin are the ones who have mistreated and misled their own voters and have failed to deal with the real issues such as the economy, tourism and education to name a few. If the people in charge do not perform then something needs to change and the time for change is now. No one can say the country is now in a better place under the PLP’s watch.

          • LOL (original) says:

            She can’t hear you Bermyman she’s special……………

            LOL hello MAWI this chicks for you

  18. Warrior Queen says:

    Where is the money coming from to finance all the great things that Craig Cannonier and the OBA intend on providing to the Bermuda people? Sounds like Bermuda is going to need a huge loan/gift from China or somebody. Just asking?

    • SMH says:

      The same way the PLP got the money to build cruise ship terminals, purchase fast ferries, new buses and YES new GP cars, social programs, etc etc……the money is there, just has to be managed tightly. Ask any economist….easier said than done.