MP Dr Grant Gibbons To Retire From Politics

April 27, 2018 | 57 Comments

grant_gibbons[Updating] OBA MP Dr Grant Gibbons will be retiring from politics, he has just announced in Parliament, with his formal resignation as an MP to be effective on April 30th.

Opposition Leader Jeanne Atherden said, “It is with appreciation and sadness that we announce the very well deserved retirement from politics of our colleague The Hon Dr. Grant E. Gibbons JP, MP.

“Today’s retirement of Dr. Grant Gibbons is bittersweet. Grant has dedicated countless years of his life to serve Bermuda for the betterment of its entire people.

“Dr. Gibbons has had an extremely active political career over the last twenty-five years. He has serviced the country well in various ministerial positions, and as the Opposition Leader. His contributions to the Party and the numerous positions he has filled in his official office speaks to his personal character and indelible legacy.

“Dr. Gibbons has also provided public service through his membership on a variety of Boards and Committees that provided oversight and advice on matters of importance to the country.

“Most recently as Minister of Economic Development, Dr. Gibbons spearheaded the initiative that resulted in Bermuda hosting the America’s Cup, sailing’s most prestigious event, which provided both economic and social opportunity for Bermuda.

“Bermuda and the One Bermuda Alliance family is indebted for his contributions and on behalf of the Party we would like to thank him for his unwavering service to Bermuda.

“Today’s announcement is reflective of our Party that will continue to empower opportunity by making room for new Bermudian voices to be heard on the front line of politics.

“Although Dr. Gibbons is reducing his political exposure, this is not the end of his service to the country. His political footprint, commitment and contributions to the country will therefore continue.”

In January 1994, he was appointed Senator and Minister of Management and Technology in the United Bermuda Party government led by then Premier, the Hon. Sir John Swan. In July 1994, Dr. Gibbons was elected to the House of Assembly following a by-election in the Paget East constituency and reappointed to his former portfolio.

According to his biography on the official Parliament website, Dr Gibbons was appointed Senator and Minister of Management and Technology in the UBP government in 1994. In July 1994, Dr. Gibbons was elected to the House of Assembly following a by-election in the Paget East constituency and reappointed to his former portfolio.

In August 1995, he was appointed Minister of Finance, and following the PLP’s election victory in 1998 election Dr Gibbons continued to serve as a MP from Paget East. Following the OBA’s success in the 2012 General election, Dr Gibbons was appointed to the post of Minister of Economic Development, and he retained his seat in the 2017 election and served as an Opposition MP.

Speaking in Parliament today, Dr Gibbons said he will remain an OBA member, and thanked many for their support over his political career.

This marks the second resignation of an OBA MP in the past week, following after Jeff Baron’s resignation, and will prompt another by-election -  this time in Paget East.

Dr Gibbons resignation has just been announced and we will update as able.

Update 7.10pm:  “I rise this evening on a bittersweet note,” Dr Gibbons said in Parliament. “This will be my last sitting of the House. I will be forwarding my formal resignation as an MP to you effective April 30th.

“This is my twenty-fifth year as a Parliamentarian, and I can say that I’ve enjoyed every one of them – although I must admit that some years have been more enjoyable than others. It’s been a privilege to carry out ‘’the people’s business’, and I would particularly like to thank the constituents of Paget East for their continuing trust and support over the last 24 years.

“But it’s time to go. For me, 25 years is enough. It’s time to focus on other things, like family and business. It’s time to make way for new blood – someone who is prepared to make the commitment, who can bring substance and passion, and who will have Paget East and Bermuda’s best interests at heart.

Dr Gibbons said that before anyone tries to “twist my resignation into something it isn’t for political purposes, let me confirm that I remain a supporter of the One Bermuda Alliance and what it stands for. ”

“I look forward to continuing my family’s legacy of public service, just not as an elected Member,” he added. “It’s been an extraordinary experience. Thank you all.”

Dr Gibbons full speech in Parliament follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening on a bittersweet note.

This will be my last sitting of the House. I will be forwarding my formal resignation as an MP to you effective April 30th.

This is my twenty-fifth year as a Parliamentarian, and I can say that I’ve enjoyed every one of them – although I must admit that some years have been more enjoyable than others. It’s been a privilege to carry out ‘the people’s business’, and I would particularly like to thank the constituents of Paget East for their continuing trust and support over the last 24 years. I’ve enjoyed advocating on their behalf and assisting them with everything from pensions and road works to dog issues. I hope they feel I’ve served them well and made a positive contribution to Bermuda during my time as an elected member.

A few colleagues may recall that I started my time as a Parliamentary member in the Senate – the other place – following the General Election in 1993. I was subsequently elected to represent Paget East in a July 1994 bye-election, and became Sir John Swan’s running mate under the dual-seat constituencies in place at the time.

Premier Swan appointed me to Cabinet in January 1994 to manage the portfolio of Management and Technology. I remember my first piece of legislation – an amendment to the “Obscene Publications Act” – hardly an auspicious start – but the first of many more significant pieces of legislation I introduced as a Cabinet Minister under two separate Governments.

Looking back, I had the privilege of being directly involved in many positive economic and social advances for Bermuda. I don’t have the time to speak about all of them tonight, but I hope you will indulge me for mentioning a few of them.

Under Sir John, I led the base transition efforts starting in 1994 with the departure of the US Navy and the return of the US base lands to Bermuda. Following negotiations with the US Navy, members of Congress and the Pentagon, the airport and its operations were transferred successfully to Bermuda control within 15 months. The base lands project involved thorough legal reviews and environmental studies, the formation of the BLDC and a re-use plan for the return of roughly 10% of Bermuda’s land mass.

As Minister responsible for telecommunications, I initiated the deregulation of the monopoly-controlled telecoms sector in June of 1995, paving the way for the entry of competition and the dramatic lowering of long-distance phone charges that saved residents and businesses tens of millions of dollars in fees over succeeding years.

In 1996, as Minister of Finance, I had the privilege of hosting and co-chairing the Commonwealth Finance Ministers meeting with UK Chancellor Kenneth Clark. This was the second – and last – time the meeting was held in Bermuda.

During the 90s, it was clear that Bermuda’s pension provisions were inadequate to meet the needs of our retirees. I had responsibility for developing and piloting the Bermuda National Occupational Pensions legislation through Parliament in 1998. This landmark legislation provided the basis for our current pension system, which ensures that Bermudians have a solid financial nest egg for retirement, and it removed the need to rely solely on social insurance benefits for retirement.

More recently, as Minister of Economic Development in the OBA Government, I was proud to have contributed to the economic revitalization of Bermuda that was so desperately needed in 2012. One of the first steps was establishing the Cabinet Committee on Economic Development, which facilitated significant tourism investment and infrastructure development over the last five years.

Just five years ago, we achieved the successful transfer of the satellite Echostar VI into Bermuda’s orbital slot just days before the expiration of Bermuda’s rights to the slot. After many years of frustration and disappointment, this was a key step in an effort actually begun by Dr. John Stubbs in the 1980s to enable Bermuda to benefit commercially from the space sector.

Following the launch of the Regulatory Authority in January 2013, the Ministry of Economic Development introduced the 2015 National Electricity Policy, followed by the Electricity Act in 2016. This key legislation enabled—after more than a century—competition in the electricity sector, and opened the door to broader use of renewables and a potentially less costly, cleaner and more secure energy future for the island.

As part of this effort, I initiated the first Utility Scale Solar PV tender for the unused land at the airport “finger”, which in its initial phase, should provide some 6% of Bermuda’s peak load at a much lower cost than fossil fuels.

The Ministry of Economic Development was responsible for the Personal Information Protection Act of 2016, which, when brought into force, will provide privacy and much needed protection for Bermuda residents’ personal information.

I was also pleased to introduce the Limited Liability Companies Act 2016, the first new corporate vehicle in Bermuda in more than 100 years that will provide a flexible and attractive corporate framework for local and international business firms.

Finally, I was incredibly proud to have led the Bermuda Bid Team that successfully brought the 35th America’s Cup to Bermuda and the superb team that delivered such a successful event. Hosting AC35 put Bermuda on the world stage, created hundreds of jobs, helped to rejuvenate tourism and jump-started Bermuda’s struggling economy by adding over $330 million dollars to Bermuda’s GDP. It also demonstrated Bermuda’s remarkable ability to rise to the occasion and work together to achieve extraordinary results.

So now, as my political to-do list comes to an end, let me briefly comment on what I’ve observed during my time in Parliament. There have been many changes over the years – some for better and some for worse.

Perhaps it’s less obvious to newer members, but I believe that in the last few years the tone of debate and personal conduct have deteriorated substantially. Unfortunately, Bermuda is not alone in the degradation of political discourse; we have only to look toward our neighbor to the west to see divisiveness and bad behavior demonstrated every day. Perhaps this has been exacerbated by unregulated social media and the ability of bad actors to disrupt democratic systems, something that government and the community may have to address more effectively.

But in Bermuda, this is particularly unfortunate, because Parliamentarians, who are leaders and role models in our community, set the tone for the rest of the island. A deteriorating tone in Parliament undermines its public credibility and makes it more difficult to find new candidates for political office – something we clearly need. Younger Bermudians – particularly those with established careers – will feel they have better options than to deal with the so-called ‘cut and thrust’ on the Hill.

Finally, given the serious issues Bermuda will continue to face as a small community with a fragile economy, we need more cooperation and far less partisan rancor.

Let me end by saying it’s not often that one gets to leave an elected position on one’s own terms, so again, I would like to express my appreciation to my constituents in Paget East for their support through many elections.

But it’s time to go. For me, 25 years is enough. It’s time to focus on other things, like family and business. It’s time to make way for new blood – someone who is prepared to make the commitment, who can bring substance and passion, and who will have Paget East and Bermuda’s best interests at heart.

Before any Honourable Members or political commentators outside these walls try to twist my resignation into something it isn’t for political purposes, let me confirm that I remain a supporter of the One Bermuda Alliance and what it stands for. I will remain a member of the One Bermuda Alliance. Although recent unanticipated events may now influence the impact of my decision on public opinion, I can assure this Honourable House and the public that my decisions to retire from politics and when to retire from politics were made long ago. Now I look forward to continuing my family’s legacy of public service, just not as an elected Member.

So let me thank my party colleagues, both past and present, for their friendship, counsel and support. I’d also like to extend my sincere appreciation to the many capable civil servants I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. And let me thank my fellow Parliamentarians for their collegiality.

Finally, and most important, I am indebted to my own family for their unstinting support, particularly my wife, Kathy, my partner in this exercise, who has been a tremendous resource and confidant through the political highs and lows, and my two sons, who have had to put up with a semi-absent father for many years.

It’s been an extraordinary experience. Thank you all.

Update 8.34pm: Speaking in the House, former Premier Michael Dunkley said, “I am not surprised at the retirement but timing of the announcement.

“Dr Gibbons has served in the legislature since January of 1994 with distinction and thus it is no surprise after 25 years our Hon colleague would want to step down.

“For as long as I have known Dr. Gibbons he has been a man with a tireless work ethic, always prepared, calm, cool and collected and in recent years seems to have developed a sense of humor.

“No doubt Dr. Gibbons is one of the most accomplished people to ever serve in this Chamber earning a Bachelor of Science from Brown in 74, he attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from 74-76 and was awarded a master of arts in philosophy, politics and economics. He studied organic chemistry at Harvard from which he received a PhD in 1982. He served as a teaching fellow from 1976-81 and research fellow in 81 and 82.”

Mr Dunkley then described some of the positions Dr Gibbons has held over the years, and said he ”served with distinction during the tenure of the OBA becoming known as the most effective Minister of Education and an excellent Minister of Economic Development.

“Dr Gibbons was the Minister with direct responsibility for the America’s Cup and no doubt with his excellent work and guidance it enabled this gigantic undertaking to be a phenomenal success exceeding all expectations and being under budget.

“In addition to his stellar political career Dr. Gibbons has had and continues to have numerous business roles.

“I have been honored to know Dr Gibbons and his family for many years and I have been honored to serve with him since 1997. During our time together in service I only have fond memories of a true gentleman who I served with, served under and then had the pleasure of sitting in Cabinet with him as Deputy Premier and then Premier.

“Dr. Gibbons was never a natural politician but dedicated 25 years to our beautiful island in service which no doubt helped immensely in so many ways, as an excellent Minister of Finance, overseeing the base transition, as an Opposition Leader, as an effective Chair of the PAC and then again as a Minister in the OBA Govt at a time when the country faced immense challenges.

“The party, this House and the country lose the outstanding service and commitment of Dr Gibbons but he leaves behind a legacy that will always live on, an example for the generations that come behind and achievement that has been matched or exceeded by few to date.

“I say thank you to a man of impeccable character and integrity, a friend, mentor, advisor and a class act. My brother, from the bottom of my heart I wish you and Kathy, and thank you to your lovely wife for standing with you in service, the best in whatever you decide to do and know you have left a large footprint in the annals of Bermuda history with your service.

“Let your service be the stimulus for others to step forward and follow in the footsteps,” Mr Dunkley added.

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Comments (57)

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  1. Sounds like they disturbed a hornets nest and running for cover.

    • Justin says:

      That man has done more for Bermuda than the entire history of the PLP. Think about that for a second.

      • mixitup says:

        Lol, please tell me you are joking Justin.

        • Hair says:

          No, Justin not joking. This man did a job well done. Now we have a Mickey Mouse situation going on . OUCH!!!

        • hoodie says:

          Why should he be. The Gibbons family has always put their heart and soul into Bermuda without even requesting a thank you, I’m sure you would agree. Always honest, humble and willing to do anything for Bermudians of all walks of life and doing it for the betterment of Bermuda. Not many can say they’ve given 25 years of politics to Bermuda! Can’t say the same about other “families” but I can honestly say that about them. Real talk!

        • Justin says:

          Not joking. Instead of people gloating about his retirement people should be thanking him for his service. This is Bermuda’s loss really.

        • Terry says:

          Don’t worry ‘mixitup’.
          There are plenty of old mixers ‘dahn de quarry’ for you to use to make seaweed stew.

      • wondering says:

        Perhaps for a certain segment or a certain context but lest we forget that the PLP initiated party politics in the 60s before there was a UBP or otherwise. That statement is without foundation

      • Question says:

        Well said.

      • Think about it says:

        JUSTIN WHEN WILL YOU REALIZE THE UBP NEVER SHOULD HAVE TRICKED THE ORIGINAL BERMUDA DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE PARTY (BDA) TO MERGE in this oba/UBP.

        THAT WAS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE!!!!

        CRAIG CONNONIER
        MARK PETTINGALE
        JEFF BARON
        SEAN CROCKWELL
        SYLVAN RICHARDS AND SEVERAL OTHERS HAD A GOOD THING GOING ON UNTIL THE UBP TOOK OVER THE BDA

        GRANT ALTHOUGH UBP WAS OK IN MY BOOK.

        TREVOR MONIZ NEEDS TO GO!!!

      • YEA OK LMAO says:

        YES he did very well for the UBP boys. (:

      • De says:

        UMMM, ok, the second’s up! Justin, where are you living?

    • campervan says:

      Classy as always OJ.

    • Bye bye bye bye says:

      Pepper spray in their party. They were sprayed and when they looked in the mirror it blew up. It was a nightmare. More to come. Why not cross the floor and have a say in the plp caucus. But the details of his resignation were written a long time ago and not overnight.

    • Earth watch police says:

      Great news one party one Bermuda got what we wanted yes I.

  2. Izzypop says:

    Dunkley its time for you to follow

    Still say it was your arrogance that caused the OBA to loose the election
    When they started talking no confidence you shoulda gone then

    Hopefully new and fresh blood coming with a new party.

    • Question says:

      The word is ‘lose’.

      Typical.

    • Alan says:

      Very well put Izzypop – but it will always be all about Michael because oddly enough Michael, talented sportsman that he is, has never been a good team player, never mind captain.

    • Brady says:

      Stupidity of ignorant voters is what caused OBA to ‘loose’.

  3. facts of the rock says:

    last of the great true MP’s that conducted himself with dignity at all times,all that is left now are great pretenders

    • Paul says:

      what would happen if the rest of the O.B.A.packed it in? do we a two party system ?

  4. Really says:

    They are tired of the nasty politics going on. The PLP insult them ever day all day. It’s your island carry on. Some people will sit back with their money in pocket and watch the issues

  5. Deadhead says:

    Thankyou Dr Gibbons

  6. campervan says:

    Thank you for your service.

  7. Legalgal says:

    A great mind and contributor. But is a shame that elected members of the house are abandoning their constituents and at a time when some form of opposition is crucial. Two in one week suggests derogation of duty or capitulation.

    • Bye bye bye bye says:

      Tell them. Not us!

    • Which goes to show you they were just collecting a paycheque (which some dont need) and legislating policies to enhance their interest.
      PLP where an opposition for decades and still endured through disappointment and biased policies.
      Now the undeserved privileged cant get their way after decades of political social dominance, they have the ” um gonna take my bat and ball” attitude.

      • Question says:

        You keep boasting 24-12. You don’t really want any opposition. You want a dictatorship.

      • Bunion juice says:

        Lol both of you have no clue! He’s done 25 years time for a break especially if you knew him and his worth ethic! Nothing going on in the oba regarding him n fighting! Grant didn’t put in 25 years for a paycheck and if you really think that you’re both the biggest idiots lmfao! Baron quit because he was a sore loser facts grant is done because he’s tired and wants more time for family like he said!

      • Anbu says:

        Ya like jahmal and dialo inna? Those r just two. Who else in the plp actually does ANYTHING? Ill wait. The only man ever deserving of respect in the plp ranks was dale butler but you lot wouldnt let him do anything because he didnt have a problem with the homosexuals. Stuff it oj. You are lowering everyones IQ’s.

      • Cow polly says:

        What an incredibly ignorant comment OJ. Do you honestly think the Gibbons or the Dunkleys for that matter are in politics to collect a paycheque? you might get better traction by saying theyre in politics to protect their own wealth and by association protect the rest of Bermudas wealth but dont forget it was the Gibbons family that were part of the team that gave us the international business sector in the first place. Grant Gibbons is one of thelast uncorrupted politicians in Bermuda and i for one am sad to see him go

  8. Stevie says:

    Always thought bunion juice would be first to make the usual stupid comment.
    Grow up brainless.

  9. Coffee says:

    He tells a little white lie . He isn’t retiring from politics , he’s just leaving the OBA ….

    • Um no says:

      Ummm no he’s done for good from it all! Keep on with your conspiracy theories ya dummy!

  10. Moonbeam says:

    AS Micbael Dunkley has so factually stated :

    “No doubt Dr. Gibbons is one of the most accomplished people to ever serve in this Chamber, earning a Bachelor of Science from Brown in 74, he attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar from 74-76 and was awarded a master of arts in philosophy, politics and economics. He studied organic chemistry at Harvard from which he received a PhD in 1982. He served as a teaching fellow from 1976-81 and research fellow in 81 and 82.”

    THANK YOU DR GIBBONS. Your achievements are legendary ! I, for one am most grateful for your invaluable contributions to our Island. I doubt if your boots will ever be filled ! Happy (well earned) retirement………….

  11. Oh well says:

    Such a shame this island has come to this. OBA are tired of the nasty ways of PLP insulting them at every opportunity. The only confidence I have in the party of the day is to successfully waste money. They have not done anything to benefit this island yet. Such a sad bunch of people picking at straws. Let the show continue.

  12. I Sea says:

    Clearly, under Atherden, there’s no room for ‘certain types’ in the new OBA.
    Kempe
    Baron
    Gibbons

  13. Beverley Connell says:

    Thank you for your (in)valuable public service Dr. Gibbons. Always respectful, and on point. I listened to you, today in the Big House and was impressed by your informative counter points (and warnings) on the emerging Fintech and Bitcoin/crypto currencies economies and the importance of their effective regulation. The caustic and accusatory ‘rebuttal’ from the Government was an embarrassment. This is the crass, and dare I say, immature response you get, (Mr. Chris Famous), when you have a ‘vessel’ from the Opposition, who makes meaningful and valuable noise in the HOA. Wishing you the best in your future endeavours, Dr. Gibbons.

  14. Feeling Abandoned says:

    How is it that elected officials can just resign almost effective immediately like that with very little to no notice to the people that put them there.If I want to quit my job I have to give 1mths notice.I think his constituents deserve better. Somebody help me understand how this works. 2 in one week, that’s got to be hard for tbe OBA

  15. Publius says:

    Thank you Dr. Gibbons. Ignore the idiots. Bermudians were so lucky you were there.

  16. Aware says:

    25 years is a long time to give service, so thank you Grant. If the electorate appreciate nothing else from you, your contribution to bringing the America’s Cup to Bermuda which kickstarted the economic recovery from which all are now starting to benefit directly or indirectly was a huge achievement. Thank you and goodbye from politics.

  17. Warwick West says:

    Thank you Dr. Gibbons for your tireless dedication to this island and your years of service. A huge contribution at a much needed time. Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

  18. Alan says:

    A nice enough guy who should never have been in politics – one incredible fence sitter who generally did not deliver even when what was happening was clearly not in the Country’s interest or even his own. I’m not able to elaborate but I’ve seen it first hand, both in 1997 and 2015. Our boy talked a lot of hot air and did nothing. And please don’t come back blabbing “America’s Cup,” that was all Bloomberg organizing Larry’s party on the cheap.

  19. Garbage says:

    Grant Gibbons was out for Grant Gibbons. He never gave our people a chance to move upwards. We had numerous opportunities on the table that he and Dunkeley put a stop to because there was nothing in it for themselves. They were ego and arrogance and good riddance I say.

    • Rip shaq says:

      Ya he was out for himself for 25 years lmfao you’re a f’in dummy bra! If you knew him personally you wouldn’t say that dunkley and Fahy maybe but he def gave my family a chance and I stay mtown! Will forever be grateful to him! The whole family! Grant doesn’t have no ego looool arrogance hahahahaha lay down ya idiot

    • Anbu says:

      Lets see what your precious plp actually does “for u” then. Besides cost you more money of course.

  20. Onion Puke says:

    Might as well wait for the bumkin Koolaid drinkers to take us down the road to Fourth World status. Stupid is as stupid does and the lunatics are clearly running the asylum.

  21. Grant did NEXT TO NOTHING for the public school students. He did quickly abandon his role as minister for education in favour for america cup activities.
    He will always be remembered for that abandonment.
    Job well done, Grant!!

    • Um no says:

      Ahhahaha you’re another idiot! Real talk what has anyone done for education in Bermuda?! Your PLP won the election still ain’t done #%*% for education! Straight backward more like! Pull ya head out their cheeks!

      • Question says:

        Oh don’t forget. The PLP takes credit for the AC35 wifi that it takes them a year to install.

  22. drunken ursula says:

    please remember Justin not that clueless Nandi please lets save what little face we have left OBA !

  23. Bumbling bear says:

    Scott Pearman will get his seat.
    Probably already been arranged

    • Alan says:

      If so, awful. The late The Hon. Louise Jackson, I recall, had some choice words about him, spoiled brat being perhaps the most printable.

  24. frank says:

    They are going to put nandi in that safe seat

    • drunken ursula says:

      please not her she is empty headed……a fresh face please

  25. Bye bye bye bye says:

    His academic record is enshrined and meritorious. He did have a track record in Parliament that is also well documented but he took the safe road on tough issues, and as such, he entered with white gloves and left with white gloves, never using that safe seat to challenge issues that needed his meritorious scholastic skills. But tackling them might have made him a Mandela or Martin Luther King.They took the difficult road. History will agree.

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