Cannonier/Richards To Run For OBA Leader

September 1, 2011 | 37 Comments

[Updated] This morning [Sept.1] the One Bermuda Alliance [OBA] is announcing their candidates for party leader, and you can tune in live below.

The election will be held on Saturday, September 10th at the Fairmont Southampton at 7:30pm. In addition to Leader, the Deputy Leader, Party Chairman and Deputy Party Chairman will also be elected.

The winning candidates must get at least 50% of the popular vote. There will be rounds of votes until that threshold is achieved. The candidate with the lowest number of votes in any given round is eliminated from the next round.

OBA Interim leader John Barritt plans to step down to make way for the new leader and is willing  to give up his seat in the House of Assembly – which he has held since 1993 – if the new Leader is not an elected MP.

Whoever replaces Mr Barritt – if they are not an MP – is likely to win the bye-election that would be held in Constituency #12. In the 2007 election, Mr Barritt won his Devonshire South Central seat in a landslide, getting 85% of the vote [723 to 122].

Anyone who is a registered member of the OBA [minimum cost $5] and a registered voter can vote in the leadership election on September 10th.

Update 11:41am: Leadership candidates will be Senator Craig Cannonier and MP Bob Richards. For Deputy Leader the candidates are MP Trevor Moniz and Senator Michael Dunkley.

Update 11:44am: Press conference over, replay to be available shortly.

Update 11:47am: Video replay available above. Thad Hollis was the only person to stand for Party Chairman, so has won by acclamation. He takes over from Michael Fahy, who says he “hopes to serve the OBA in other capacities in coming months.”

Update 11:50am: For Deputy Chairperson there are three candidates – Michael Branco, Jeanne Atherden, and Karen Magnum.

Update 12:17pm: Full statement from Michael Fahy, Interim Chairman:

Good morning.

I am Michael Fahy, Interim Chairman of the One Bermuda Alliance.

You’re here, of course, to learn who has been nominated for the five posts in the One Bermuda Alliance that will be the subject of an election on Saturday, September 10th at the Fairmont Southampton Princess at 7:30pm.

First. Let me introduce you to Thad Hollis, who was the only person to throw his hat into the Chairman of the Party ring. According to our election rules he is considered to have won the post by acclamation. A copy of those rules is part of the package of information that has been given to you, as are biographies of all the candidates.

I am delighted that Thad is going to take over from me. He has been part of the OBA since its inception, and is deeply committed to helping us make a change in Bermuda’s politics. Until the OBA was formed, he had not been involved in any political party so this will be quite an experience for him. He and I will be working shoulder to shoulder for the next ten days weeks, so that on September 11th he takes the reigns of OBA Chairman. I’ll be asking him to say a few words to you in a moment.

Just so that you don’t need to ask, I accepted the role on an interim basis so that someone else could step up to the plate. I hope, frankly, to be able to serve the OBA in another capacity in the coming months.

While we are on the subject of the OBA Executive, I will tell you that there are three candidates for the two posts of deputy chairpersons– Michael Branco, Jeanne Atherden and Karen Magnum. I have provided you with their contact details.

For Leader of the Party and future Premier, the post which John Barritt selflessly promised to vacate in favour of the choice of the Party membership, there are two candidates, Craig Cannonier and Bob Richards.

And for Deputy Leader of the Party, there are also two candidates, Michael Dunkley and Trevor Moniz.

I would like to offer my congratulations to all of these candidates, and to wish them the very best of luck on election night.

As I said, the elections are to be held on Saturday evening, September 10th, starting at 7:30 pm. I’m hoping that there will be a large turnout among OBA members. We have sent out a newsletter encouraging people to attend, pointing out that this really is quite an historic occasion for the party. In addition, advertisements will appear in local media in the next few days to make sure that no one can miss our message. The invitation is extended to the press.

Anyone who regrets not having joined before the conference will have an opportunity on the night between 6:00pm and 7:30pm. Any new members will be able to vote, of course. To ensure wide participation we will be offering advance polling and internet polling for those members who can demonstrate they will be abroad on the night of the conference. We will publish further details in the next day or so.

I said at our previous press conference this will be a historic occasion because in a sense, the OBA will mark its true beginning with this election. The OBA formed so as to make Bermuda’s political system more inclusive, more transparent and more collaborative, and that goal comes true with this election. It’s Democracy with a capital D, so if our members signed up to help reform Bermuda politics, they must vote in order to put their mark on this new beginning.

Our aim, as we have said before, is to set the pace in changing politics in Bermuda to be more democratic, more open and hopefully more productive than it has been in the past. We believe it is time to put Bermuda first.

There is no question, it seems to us, that Bermuda desperately needs to turn the page. We need to turn our backs on the old, and start looking at our future with new eyes. We need a new way of looking at things, a new way of interacting with each other. The OBA has fashioned itself in such a way that we can be the agents of change that Bermuda needs. We have put together a strong, thoroughly representative group of people to translate our vision of a new Bermuda into reality.

We think we have a unique opportunity. Bermuda wants us to succeed. We think people will vote for us, and we believe that with hard work, we can translate that confidence into a win at the polls.

It is these people, who have been nominated for high office in the party, who are to be responsible for capitalizing on that opportunity and delivering results for Bermuda. I salute them and I wish them well. On a personal note I have enjoyed being part of creating the foundations of the OBA and want to say thank you to all those who have helped make this happen.

I will give Thad an opportunity to say a few words and then I will be happy to entertain questions.Thad?

Update 12:43pm: Senator Michael Dunkley – who had been widely speculated as a potential OBA Leadership candidate – has explained why he declined to run for leader, instead submitting his name for consideration for Deputy Leader of the One Bermuda Alliance. Full post here.

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  1. 21 Square | September 2, 2011
  1. pebblebeach says:

    So much for those arm chair pundits in the media and elsewhere who were using the names Cannonier vss Dunkley - old vrs new to further sensationalize their stories about leadership infighting within the OBA....by the way Kim Swan...please go away and sit down somewhere...your done...

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    • Want Change says:

      Thad is an excellent addition to the Alliance!!!!!

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @pebblebeach
      You are correct. The pundits were clearly wrong. If you think about it, the current positioning for Dunkley makes more sense. If he pushed ahead as a leadership contender, he would have forced internal wrangling and external commentary and probaly lost the opportunity to be Deputy.

      As I posted below, he now has the opportunity to 'have his cake and eat it too...' He now needs to focus on the next election to ensure he becomes an MP. Given his experience,resources, political acumen and apparent competitive nature I am sure he will do his best to be 'at the ready' in the event that Cannonier falters in anyway.

      If we are realistic, it would also have been more difficult for the OBA to win with Dunkley at the helm at this stage of Bermudian politics. Like it or not, the electorate would have been more inclined not to support OBA if Dunkley (read old UBP stalwart) was leading the party. If Cannonier falters, Dunkley can now raise his hands in a feigned stance of 'putting Bermuda first' and become the leader of OBA (and who could fault him for doing so)?

      For Cannonier, congratulations again. He has not only positioned himself to lead the OBA and remain as a contender for Premier of Bermuda one day (dependiing on his staying power as OBA leader), he has effectively taken what some would see as the 'political inheritance' from a fairly prominent Bermudian. The temptation to explain some of the racial nuances here is almost too tempting to pass up but I will not yield to the temptation today.

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      • ROTFL says:

        Dunkley and Dr. Brown are cut from the same cloth.

        Blame Swan for the loss of the last Election.

        Sabatoage the UBP, encourage the BDA formation.

        Kill the UBP then join in with BDA - all with $$ and not political cents.

        Get Cannonier to front to try and win next election, then get Fahy and cornies to vote him hin as leader and push Cannionier out as he had done with others.

        Clinton, Ask them why did they not adopt you for St. George, see if anyone has the balls to share the truth, including Jeanne A and Michael D

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  2. Vote for Me says:

    Congratulations to Craig Cannonier as the new Leader of the Opposition (yes i am predicting hsi victory),

    The actual candidates are not a surprise and my nod goes to Cannonier based on the historic rivalry between Dunkley and Richards. On that basis, it appears that by default all of Dunkley's supporters will follow Cannonier. The big question now will be how does Cannonier keep the old UBP guard at bay since they will carry some influence via Deputy Dunkley.

    The choice of Cannonier and Dunkly will also be interesting given that Dunkley will be a Senator at least until the next election but Cannonier has significantly less parliamentary experience and other resources and will likely rely heavily on Dunkley as his Deputy. Thus Dunkley gets the proverbial chance to 'have his cake and eat it too.' At the same time. Cannonier gets the predicted coronation of the historically safe UBP seat at the expense of Barritt!!

    And now to the next step... the selection and announcement of candidates for both parties... oops and the UBP. And after the selections - the main event. Who will the voters accept as their leaders at the next election... let the countdown begin.

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    • you ought 2 know says:

      Anyone can 'have their cake and eat it' the correct expression is 'so and so wants to eat their cake AND have it too'

      Get it ? You can't eat your cake AND still have it.

      At last we've finally got that sorted out !

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      • Vote for Me says:

        @ you ought to know
        Thanks for trying to help - from Wikipedia.. To have one's cake and eat it too is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech, sometimes stated as eat one's cake and have it too or simply have one's cake and eat it. This is most often used negatively, to connote the idea of consuming a thing whilst managing to preserve it. It may also indicate having or wanting more than one can handle or deserve, or trying to have two incompatible things. The proverb's meaning is similar to the phrases, "you can't have it both ways" and "you can't have the best of both worlds."

        And now i would like to hear your substantive comments on the post.

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        • you ought 2 know says:

          And now i would like to hear your substantive comments on the post.

          Sorry , I refuse to engage your spin/propaganda machine .
          It's obvious to most here that our remarks are irrelevant to you .

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    • Marcy Scott says:

      " but Cannonier has significantly less parliamentary experience..." Are you kidding me?? He has absolutely NO Parliamentary experience. He couldn't find the bathroom if you took him in there. It's compeltely laughable that he could (and probably will) be the next leader of the party. Oh well, with Dunkley as Deputy, at least one person will know what they are doing.

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  3. Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

    Cannonier and Dunkley it will be then...

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  4. Phillip Wells says:

    I can hear the cheers from Alaska Hall from here.

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  5. Jim Bean says:

    Thad is very good choice. Go Cannonier. Go Dunkley. hell with plp!!
    barritt and fahy take hit for bermuda.

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  6. Phillip Wells says:

    Why do you think Craig Cannonier would make a good leader? He lacks experience and his behaviour while leader of the BDA (telling the UBP to turn out the lights, attending a PLP fundraising event, and so on) smacked of immaturity and a sense of entitlement that was in no way justified by the BDA's performance in the one election they contested.

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  7. it all reminds me of the sporanos scene where tony lets his inept uncle take the "crown" all while he, tony is really running things secretly and avoiding the spotlight. Dunkley thinks he's smart but he ain't.

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ Island Dreams
      The Sopranos scene is an excellent analogy. If you saw the entire episode there was a strategy for the decision. His uncle was only allowed to be the boss as long as he toed the line. Cannonier, perhaps your next gift should be the Sopranos series.

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      • LOL (original) says:

        And I wondered how long it would take for the PLP peeps to pull out the puppet master line from the 2007 election thus invoking the evil white master pulling the strings image did not take long the election hasn't even been called yet. It's obvious that some people wouldn't give any other party the chance to even be heard or before discounting them based on well I'll leave the readers to infer on tht reason for themselves coupled with words and actions of the party they support.

        LOL status quo I guess

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  8. Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

    Micheal Dunkley is a man that has his heart in the right place... If you have ever spoken to him you can feel it. He loves Bermuda....It's very said that the best man for the job will not get it because so many people out there see only "white privilege". We will continue to get what we deserve in Bermuda until we can all look past race and see the individual for who they are.

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    • Vote for Me says:

      @ CJA Paynter
      Interesting comment about race. With more analysis the choice of Cannonier may be the ultimate 'playing of the race card' by OBA.

      Many will acknowledge that Dunkley would be a far better leader based on training, experience and other resources. His negatives - being white and wealthy! Thus he is only disqualified from leading the OBA and potentially Bermuda because many voters (i.e. OBA supporters) believe the OBA will not succeed with a white leader... now isn't that tragic.

      Just imagine the outcry if a black Bermudian was denied an opportunity only because of the colour of their skin?

      For Cannonier, we can add the 'prize' of a safe UBP seat with majority white supporters that he inherits as a consequence of the 'generosity' of MP Barritt!!

      With a little more thought, the selection of Cannonier is quite intriguing. Could it also be that he is being set up to fail with Dunkley as our 'knight in shining armour?'

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      • Sean says:

        Dunkley already led an opposition party to defeat. With him steering the ship there is no way to deny that this is just a 'repackaged opposition', same old UBP, etc. If Dunkley wants to see change as much as he claims to he had no choice but to step aside.

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      • LOL (original) says:

        As stated unless the opposition was all black I'm sure it would not be excepted by the hard core. As tragic as M D is white and rich we live in a majority black country so infact its racist that due to him being white and rich that the party he is involved in will lose. To answer if it were a black man again we live in a majority black country this means it could only be merit or popularity.

        LOL

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  9. This is bitter sweet news to me . . . As a young person who does not want to vote for the PLP in the next election, you, the OBA, have not given me much hope in these leadership candidates - Cannonier and Richards.

    I agree with Bro P Wells as he stated above - Cannonier lacks experience and his behaviour while leading the BDA was piss poor to say the least. Craig needs more time to develop as a leader as we are talking about him possibly being the Premier - think about that for a second - - whoever is chosen COULD BE THE PREMIER?!!

    Which leads me to Bob Richards - - this to me personally is a slap in the face. Mr. Richards, however well spoken and experienced he may be, is nothing more than a glory-hogging, whining, supercilious, opportunistic b*st*rd who I do not wish to see as my next Premier - - I would even take Fahy first (and I can't stand him!)

    OBA - party and supporters - hear me well - - When you formed, I spoke my concerns about the how and the way you were created; however, I was willing to listen and I have. I was willing to wait and see what you were able to do once you got settled - - I have. I was EVEN Excited to see who was going to stand for your leadership as I am not satisfied with the current leader and her government (especially certain Ministers) - - BUT these two are not going to lead me to vote for your party in the next general election.

    To be clear, I do not feel comfortable with either of your leadership candidates for the reasons I have stated above. This news has left me with serious doubts about your party and politics in general in Bermuda. I was "ready and eager" to support the "New Bermuda" but not with the slim pickings you are trying to have me to believe should lead.

    Yng Black Mind (those who know understand)

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    • Hmmmmm says:

      Well said. Only in Bermuda could the likes of Craig Cannonier ascend to such heights; and that's not a compliment. Until we increase the IQ in politics we'll continue to suffer as we are now. From a political standpoint, if anyone thinks Dunkley is interested in being deputy to anyone they're crazy. Cannonier had better sleep with one eye open. This leadership race and the debacle that will be the night of its election will hand the election to the PLP. The campaign will consist of everything Cannonier, Fahy, Pettingill and Crockwell said about the UBP and everything Richards, Moniz and Dunkley said about the BDA. And with that, its back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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      • and in comparison says:

        If the ascention of Craig Cannonier catches your eye , then Derrick Burgess's 'rise' should terrify you .

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    • Bermyman says:

      Sounds like you have a personal gripe with Bob Richards. In your opinion though, who would you like to see lead the OBA or Bermuda in future? Do you have someone in mind? In my opinion Bob Richards has a better grasp of the economic structure needed to get us back on track. We are a small Island of 65,000 there are not that many smart Bermudians kicking around, we have limited intellectual capital and the OBA seems to have some of the better minds in the country. In my opinion vote for the lesser of two evils if that is the way you see it and then put yourself in a position where you can influence the political process since you seem to hold yourself in such a high regard. We need more you Bermudians with a fresh perspective in politics but nothing will change quick enough before the next election and this could be the most critical election we've had in our history. The Island’s economic stability relies on the PLP coming out of power. Let's face it the present government has done more than enough to prove that they are not the sharpest tools in the tool box named Bermuda.

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      • @Bermyman:

        I do not have personal issues with Mr. Richards - - my statement is based on conversations with him, interaction with him in business/political settings, and his comments/statements in the political realm - - nothing personal at all.

        To answer your question, when looking at the individuals involved in the OBA, there aren't many I feel can lead in this critical, political timeframe. However, to quote you, the "lesser of two evils" would be my choice - - I would want Mike Dunkley to lead the OBA at this point. I am well aware of the "UBP" baggage, the "white privilege" stain he carries - however, he is still a man who loves Bermuda and wants the best for the country - - I can see that clearly.

        But please know, I am not swallowing the OBA bait hook, line and sinker just yet. The political landscape in this country is not a place for me - - my moral ideals, religious and metaphysical beliefs will not allow me to be stained by the decay which runs freely in the halls of the House and the Senate. I have prayed many nights about what I should do - - it is not my time yet. If it is revealed to be, so shall it be.

        So my brother, I simply asked that you remember that we all have a part to play in making our country better - - just don't sit there and tell me that the PLP is the cause of our economic problems (as B Richards did and continues to do so) - - give me a viable solution so we can fix it, without poitning the finger. If Bob can do that - - really show that he is about Bermuda and not himself, maybe we can talk - - - just maybe (he has a long way to go - serious talk).

        Yng Black Mind (those who know understand)

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        • Bermyman says:

          I agree with you in some aspects and I do like the way you think. You seem to have some of the better ideas on steps forward. I would just hope that you get into a positon one day where you can make some good suggestions that do not fall on deaf ears. For the future of our Island.

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    • Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

      Yng Black Mind... If your not satisfied with the OBA why don't you join a participate. Being an armchair critic will get you and Bermuda nowhere.

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      • Yng Black Mind says:

        @Clinton JA Paynter:

        I appreciate your words of encouragement to engage the process; however, I stated my position in an earlier post:

        "The political landscape in this country is not a place for me – - my moral ideals, religious and metaphysical beliefs will not allow me to be stained by the decay which runs freely in the halls of the House and the Senate. I have prayed many nights about what I should do – - it is not my time yet. If it is revealed to be, so shall it be."

        In regards to being an "armchair critic", well - - with engaging my representatives (both PLP & OBA), calling them out at Town Hall Meetings, emailing my concerns to them, advocating for issues which I feel are important and inviting others to be passionate about the political process and landscape of Bermuda - I feel that I am doing my part to move Bermuda forward - - until such time as it becomes my time, politically.

        I am not eager like Cannonier or Richards to "put myself" into a position of power just because I think I deserve it - - I will earn my position just like I have my entire life - - with hard work and dedication. I look forward to the day that Bermuda has leadership without the lust for it . . . think about that for a second. . .

        I wish you and the OBA well for the upcoming election - - and I will leave you with a quote from Bro Booker T Washington:

        "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."

        Yng Black Mind (those who know understand)

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    • navin johnson says:

      OMG!!!HE COULD BE THE PREMIER of and island the size of Hurijhash Muqueen ,Pakistan or any other tiny little city of 65,000 people....get real time for change ...how much lower do we have to sink before you realize the PLP has jeopardized your future....

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      • Yng Black Mind says:

        @navin johnson:

        I believe your statement in directed at my earlier comment, yes? If so, you haven't read my comments in full. I do not support the PLP and their lack of accountability and their history of "spend" style of government.

        I just indicated that the leadership candidates for the OBA do not strike me as viable for the next premier - - they are lackluster, period. But I can agree that the choices are slim to say the least.

        Yng Black Mind (those who know understand)

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  10. Jim Bean says:

    Wells - what experience did paula have before becoming minister in 1998 or smith or any of them? yng blk mnd - you are a plp plant

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    • @Jim Bean:

      PLP Plant, am I? I think not sir. I am the first person to tell you that I believe that the PLP has done a great disservice to my country in their time as Government. Don't get it twisted - - I speak my mind which can look for both good and evil in everything. There are great things about the OBA - as there are about the PLP. There are things with both parties that NEED to be changed - plain and simple.

      If you want a clear picture of what I believe, politically, read my blog where I stated my position - http://yngblackmindbda.blogspot.com

      Again, to be clear, I would rather not have either the PLP or the OBA as government - - they both carry baggage that does not allow what is best for Bermdua to happen. They both need to grow as organizations to understand that the people are the government, not them.

      Yng Black Mind (those who know understand)

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    • Phillip Wells says:

      None, and look how well they've done governing the country.

      But also, they had never been in Government, so they had no choice but to learn on the job. There are many people in the OBA with experience, however. The party should treat them as an asset, not a liability.

      Those who say Michael Dunkley couldn't be leader because of his involvement with the UBP and because he's rich and white are missing the point. Anyone who wouldn't vote for the OBA for that reason won't vote for them with him as Deputy Leader either. They'll claim that Craig Cannonier is a puppet, and is being manipulated by the big bad old UBP members behind the scenes.

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  11. Down 'n' Dirty says:

    Unfortunately the O.B.A have failed in it's short life to attract and/or energize a young cross cultural voter base , so in a nutshell as a political entity they will be ineffective .

    The PLP have fallen into the bad behaviour of closing ranks around the favorites in [its] inner circle . Self strangulation will be the end result . The genesis can be traced back to the period of deception .

    Those who have the means will get the hell out of dodge with and whatever they can , cause Bermuda's in trouble .

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  12. specialgirl4 says:

    "Political Strategy" Run Cannonier for Leadership position, as he is more likely to appeal to the "Black Middle Class Voter". Repackaged Opposition needs at least 25% of the black vote to win, this is a fact. Use a "Black man" to do it, with no experience and a hunger for quick movement up the political ladder. Regardless if he has experience or not? Dunkley who seeks to be leader will temporary step aside, as he carrys to much of old UBP baggage and there is a fear that he may not appeal to the 'Black Middle Class squeezed Voter'. The 'whites' vote in solid block for the OBP/UBP. Blacks are usually the swing voters. If the OBA/UPB are successful at the polls, with in time Dunkley will move in to take the Leadership position, and push Cannonier back into the corner. Political Strategy. Dunkley's position is a pure political stragtey. Only the blind can not see......

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