Videos: Barritt Sworn In As Opposition Leader

May 17, 2011

[Updated with videos] One Bermuda Alliance interim leader John Barritt will be sworn-in as Bermuda’s new Opposition Leader at a Government House ceremony this morning [May 17]. It is expected to begin in a few minutes and you can tune in live below.

While St. George’s Parliamentarian Kim Swan remains leader of the UBP, he announced yesterday [May 16] he had resigned his constitutional post as Opposition Leader to make way for Mr. Barritt — who now commands the loyalty of the second-largest grouping of Parliamentarians in the House of Assembly.

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On May 3, months of speculation ended when members of the United Bermuda Party [UBP] met and voted to authorise party officers to dissolve the party and merge with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance [BDA] to form a new combined Parliamentary opposition bloc. The UBP was formed in 1964, while the BDA was founded in 2009 after disillusioned UBP members split to form a new political group.

The OneBermudaAlliance.bm website is presently under construction and details of the new party’s agenda and its vision for Bermuda are expected to be announced at a Vasco De Gama Club press conference being held this afternoon.

Not all UBP members were in agreement with the merger. On May 10 party leader Kim Swan launched a rearguard legal action to prevent the amalgamation going ahead, filing a Supreme Court injunction seeking to stop the UBP from dissolving. Other complainants included UBP Parliamentarian Charles Swan, former candidate Devrae Noel Simmons, former MP Erwin Adderly, ex-Senator Charlie Marshall, Robert Lewis, Ola Gabisi, Patience Godfrey, Austin Woods and party joint chairman Montell Currin.

But seven UBP MPs resigned from the party last Friday in order to “pursue their right to free association”. No longer legally bound by being members of the UBP, they were free to pursue the merger with the BDA. Only Kim Swan and Southampton backbencher Charles Swan will now sit in the House of Assembly as UBP MPs.

Mr. Barritt has been elected as interim leader of the OBA until internal elections can be held later this year.

He has been a Member of Parliament since 1993 when he was first elected MP for Devonshire South. He has served in the Cabinet, having held the portfolios of Telecommunications & Information, Youth Sports Recreation & Parks, and Legislative Affairs.

Mr. Barritt has so far managed to squeeze three careers into his lifetime. He was first a journalist who worked for “The Royal Gazette” and “The Bermuda Sun” — and then ZBM TV and radio, including a stint as a radio talk show host.

At age 30, he went back to law school in Canada and qualified as an attorney in 1986. He first practised law with Appleby Spurling & Kempe where he rose to be partner for 12 years until his retirement from the firm in 2004. He now works as a consultant attorney with Mello Jones & Martin.

Mr. Barritt is a member of the Bermuda Bar Association. He has served as a member on the Christ Church Vestry and the St. John’s Church Vestry and remains an active member of Christ Church in Devonshire. His community involvement includes service and membership in the Bermuda Junior Golf Association, the Bermuda Debate Society and the Bermuda National Trust.

Update 12:49pm: The OBA are presently holding a press conference. Pictured below left to right are Dr Katherine Michelmore, Michael Fahy, John Barritt, Craig Cannonier, Bob Richards and Trevor Moniz:

oba political bermuda may 17 2011

Governor’s remarks:

Mr Barritt signing:

Mr Barritt’s remarks:

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Comments (54)

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  1. J Starling says:

    Pat, do you know what he went on to say after the video cuts off?

  2. sigh says:

    And they’re all back together again!

  3. What"s New..... says:

    Same Ol, same Ol!!! No Vaseline , No rubber just take IT!!

    • Terry says:

      I won’t use the word I wanted to but you will get the jist. Were already screwed according to your comments. Now is the time for some new “Influx”………

    • LOL (original) says:

      Same position Doc Brown had you in what’s the difference. Oh right he at least looked familiar………….

      LOL

  4. Justin says:

    If the “Same Ol, Same Ol” can take this Island back to economic prosperity and itnstill fiscal discipline they will be getting my vote. Like it or not, the “Same Ol, Same Ol” are the ones that provided the blue print that made this Island successful. That is, until the PLP screwed it up.

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      You’re right Justin, if the UBP (OBA) had been in power, there would be no worldwide recession. It’s the PLP that caused all those countries like the US, the UK, Greece, Ireland, Portugal,etc. etc. etc. to suffer a recession.

      • #ThatIsAll says:

        Now Miss thats just silly… the Recession is just one issue this island is faced with. Education, crime, tourism… and the list goes on. POOR BUDGETING AND FINANCIAL PREPERATION is what the PLP is to blame for… We LITERALLY watched it coming for us when it was happening to the US UK Greece, Ireland, Portugal etc. etc. etc. and DID NOTHING… Good ‘Ol Cog just let EB’s Administration (which are the same old know nothings running the show now) just KEEEEEPPP spending.

        Well done PLP… Cannot Wait to see what the OBA does.. its about time we had a viable opposition PLP has been getting away with nonsense all these years.

      • Todd says:

        Everybody and his brother saw the recession coming, except the PLP, who, as our Government continued to barrel forward, spending like crazy like there was no tomorrow. Tomorrow is here!

        • LOL (original) says:

          They saw it coming hence the spending can’t skim the top if you don’t have an excuse to spend big that way they could pocket the extra and set them selves up for the recession. They had to deceive us that all…………

          LOL

      • Terry says:

        Laverne, your playing politics here. Your spinning things to suit your needs and that of the party. Every person with a right thinking mind knows that the PLP are not responsible for the world ecconomic crisis.

        Talk about calling people “confused”. Do your work in the Senate instead of trying to “confuse” people here and elsewhere. Then again, yah all ain’t doing nuffin anyway. Take a pay cut and rent some of your properties to Uighurs….and yes….I am Gay……………..I think, not sure….maybe I’m lesbian………

      • Justin says:

        Seriously? I suppose your next answer will be “every country in the world is in debt, just look at the US”. The truth is that Bermuda had the potential to be the model country of the world. For many years Bermuda took in more revenue than we had budgeted for and what did we do with it? We flushed it down the toilete. There is no reason why Bermuda couldn’t have saved for a rainy day in the event that our economy did slow down due to external factors. We didn’t. In fact, Paula Cox was either living in a dream world or extremely naive to think that the US’s financial woes would have no impact on Bermuda. Now, we are stuck with massive debt and our fellow citizens are paying the price. Bermuda is broke and we are being forced to cut essebtial services, and the Bermuda Government cannot stimulate the economy because it does not have to financial power to do so.

        For example, if Bermuda had a savings account, we could have built a new causeway to help stimulate the economy and provide necessary infrastructure for our island. Instead, we have to shrink the economy by cutting services.

        You see, this is how Bermuda is not like the US. The world NEEDS the US to stay afloat while nobody would even notice if Bermuda shrunk. International businesses are really mobile and tourists have lots of other options. Therefore, your argument about comparing Bermuda’s indebtedness with other countries just does not have any credibility. I can go on all day, but I’ll stop here.

      • Scott says:

        laverne, according to the PLP at the time, the worldwide recession, and its affect on bermuda, was just scare-mongering by the UBP… a few years ago it was downplayed and said it would never happen when every economist on this island said we should slow spending..

        now that we’re broke and falling apart you want to blame everything on the recession?? its a little late for that.

        • LOL (original) says:

          Ha it’s never to late to blame things on everthing else they been doing it for years now………………

          LOL

        • But WHo really caused the Recession ?? …..the major players where Rich White Men (Wall Street) and not one of them where charged for bad banking procedures !!! Not one of them was put before the courts….. So please stop saying all the fault is government ! Talk about that !!

          • Scott says:

            i dont see how who cause the recession has anything to do with bermuda..the fact is it happened, people predicted it, people in power ignored it..how it happened is irrelvant. If you want to play race, it was the rich white man who caused the recession, but bermuda’s “black govt” that saw it coming and ignored it…

            but race nonsense aside,

            if we have massive storm coming our way, and the weather service calls for small craft warning, or even advising people not go out on boats.. and some idiot goes out on his boat and gets in trouble.. i can tell you assuredly that it was NOT the storm’s fault… it was the idiot who didnt take the warnings and adapt for it… ie they knew the recessions was out there but they called it as fear-mongering… doesnt matter where the recession came from, the PLP were in a position to limit its damages to bermuda and they chose not to

            • CAN NOT PUT RACE ASIDE, IT IS A MAJOR FACTOR …THATS PART OF THE PROBLEM, YOU CHOOSE TO NOT TO RECOGNIZE. The elephant is still in the room. Only if you are blind, you may not see it, but your not deaf ? The Recession is World Wide, every country is dealing with it..so we are also a part of the real world and it has everything to do with Bermuda. Our ecomony dependents on world’s ecomony. Sounds like your so bias against the PLP that your not willing to adjust and think in an objective manner no matter what !! Your views are therefore fixed and any other party is your party…thats okay too !! But be REAL !!

              • Scott says:

                lol i am no putting race aside entirely, i am putting race aside where it does not apply..

                the fact that, as you say, the white man caused the recession is not because they are white men trying to cause problems for black folk..

                they are simply businessmen who screwed a few things up… race, in this case, had no cause in the matter… hence i put it aside..

                i am being real..i have admitted the recession is a worldwide issue, but you have yet to address the matter of the PLP being warned by the UBP and economists of hte impending issues and budgeting accordingly so that taxes did not have to raise and essential services did not have to be cut.

                Do you think that it is untrue? Do you think its ok that they kept spending and giving freebies out, and that our situation now was worth it all?

          • You truly are "special" says:

            Of course, it was ALL the banks who did this. It had nothing to do with credit rating agencies not doing their jobs or the general public borrowing money that they knew they’d never be able to pay back… just because someone hands you a gun (or a huge mortgage) doesn’t mean you need to shoot someone with it (or buy a house you can’t afford). Thought I’d use an analogy “special” people would understand…

            • Thanks I am very “special” !! As I am more aware of things than you think….. While no one put a gun to anyone’s head…Where is the honesty that is supposed to go hand in hand with good businness practices ?? “BEST PRACTICE” I also believe that everyone has a dream…. not everyone is born into wealth maybe like yourself…. so the goal to own a home or other things is normal human behaviour and it should not just an opportunity for a selected few and why should it be……WE should not excuse those Wall Street men that did such injustice to the average person… Sign off for good now !!!

          • Justin says:

            Actually, the whole financial crisis began many years ago in the Bill Clinton era in the United States by a congressman by the name of Barney Frank. Barney Frank observed that homeownership was disproportionally “white” and that not enough minorities owned their own homes. Moreover, it is thought that once a citizen becomes a homeowner they magically transform into a model citizen.

            Since the US decided to make it a priority for minorities to own their own homes they formed these companies, now famous, called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that purchased banks’ mortgages they had written in order for these banks to write more mortgages. Therefore, banks would then lend to anyone because they knew they could simply sell off the mortgages they had written (100% financing and all). This caused prices of homes to inflate to artificially high levels and obviously it was unsustainable, and it has resulted in the financial mess the world is in right now.

            But to getting back to your argument about the “bad white man” – it’s absolutely FALSE. Barney Frank, in my opinion, was a noble white man that was trying to do the right thing, but he didn’t understand that giving people handouts is not sustainable. Indeed, people of all races, genders and religions must work for what they want because we live in a capitalist society. That’s just how it works. We may not agree with capitalism but that’s the cards we have been dealt. People need to stop blaming their problems on race, because a recession doesn’t discriminate. For example, when the stock market falls it hurts everybody.

            • Tired of nonsense says:

              “but he didn’t understand that giving people handouts is not sustainable”

              And some Bermudians still don’t understand this fact…sadddddd

            • ppl have small brains says:

              and she went quite. next time she should say her comments to people that cant read.

      • openmind says:

        and to think she is one of our senators making comments (such as this one) further illustrates how the PLP has been the BIGGEST contributor to Bermuda’s current dire situation….

      • crazytalk says:

        LaVerne,
        The UBP managed their way through previous recessions without a problem. You lot could have done the same. But no, you were spending millions on Huron, Global Hue, parties with Beyonce, overspends on buildings. And at the same time you were (and still are) managing to dissuade business from the island.

        Whenever anyone warned about oncoming global economic problems, some half wit minister (you know him) would come on TV and say the UBP were “making mischief…they don’t understand that Bermuda is different; we don’t have recessions”…

        • AND the Beat Goes on !! UBP also did a lot wrong (short-term memory), and still fighting to get it right…. look at the past few days….”Change of Name ” WOW look what it took….. to do that….a real Song and Dance !!! OH please do not forget the over spenting they did on major captial projects as well !
          NO much room to talk…..ah …???

          “OH HOW SOON THEY FORGET”…….guess this a start for the election coming up …………..ah ah…….?????

          • LOL (original) says:

            Maybe so but the country had very little debt, crime, joblessness……. why both she can’t hear any of this all she and some others hear is PLP this PLP that black empowerment this, even if the stats aren’t released yet. Please show stats on how many people have benefited from the empowerment zone …………………….

            LOL

      • herbalist says:

        we should check some of these senators for scars, see if doc hollywood did a lil brain surgery, its gotta be the only way they still defending his time at the wheel

      • LaVerne, please refrain from commenting on these forums if you lack any insightful and/or useful input. As a member of the PLP, you are expected to maintain some level of professionalism. The rest of us on here, however, are given a free pass.

  5. BermudaFreePress says:

    To What”s New,

    Please keep your personal habits to yourself.

  6. GPS says:

    Might as well change the name of KFC to FCK but leave the herbs and spices.

    @Justin….go get your pledge and dust off all your antique furniture cause it can still be sold on emoo

    • Justin says:

      While I’m dusting off my antique furniture I’m sure Paula Cox and Patrice Minors will be dusting off their plantation speeches to get you all fired up again ;)

      • LOL (original) says:

        LOLOLOLOL so true so true…………………………….

        Any bets on who will make the first reference heading to the election?

        LOL

        • Justin says:

          I’ll put $10 on Thaao Dill or is that considered a no brainer? LOL

          • GPS says:

            @Justin…you got a lil bit of PLP in you to be listening to T D…..I like that :-)

  7. joe says:

    Well, in the photo above I see 3 out of 6 former UBP members. So what? The greatest fear the PLP has is that the electorate is maturing and may just look at the issues facing Bermuda as something they should be concerned about when decidiing which party to support. We know where the PLP will take us; and I think most believe that had another group been in power things would today be quite different.
    But alas, Bermuda is rapidly becoming a place without aspiration; people no longer believe in future opportunity, and the government is the only game in town -for now. Bermuda’s middle class is being destroyed and entrepreneurship is a thing of the past. Administrators have taken over and they are running out of things to administer. Soon there will be no-one to read all those memos, and young men will still be wondering how to raise $50,000 capital to start a new business. Bermuda, your time is almost over. Do enough have the fight in them -or care enough- to save you?

  8. chingas says:

    I think Senator Furbert’s comment speaks volumes! Instead of trying to fix our country, she’s defending her party on comment threads on a website! How noble of her!

    Seriously though, we’re stuck with you, so go spend your time governing instead of sifting through comment threads.

  9. Once again Why did the UBP go thur all this song and dance !! All they had to do was change their name in the first place ! It is all the same players, with a few that upper status fast !! I hope that as the Opposition, they will still not be fighting one another and looking to blame the PLP for everything that has taken place in Bermuda. But instead come up with solutions and work for the better of the country !! There seem to be divide in Bermuda, as some people will never accept PLP as government no matter what !! Those folks will not make a contribute to issues with out a long line of bias behind it !!!

  10. jnc says:

    I guess things haven’t gotten bad enough here on the economic front yet to open the eyes of some PLP backers. Not to worry! Pretty soon we’ll all be living on suckrock stew and baygrape wine, just like the old days…

    • Oh please, the PLP are not all the blame for a bad ecomomy, Did you forget who really made the ecomony bad….. The Rich White Men on WaLL Street, and the Bankers. Did they serve anytime in Jail for the crimes ? No they stole from the poor and kept for the rich,…..so when do you put some real blame on these persons…..stop it !! Who still owns most of the wealth in Bermuda? Food is high, who owns those stores…come on now…be real for once in your life!!! Are they reaching out to help the average person ??

      • Rick Rock says:

        Well specialgirl, your PLP Government has borrowed $1.2bn and must have spent it on something, right? Along with the taxes they’ve raised during the last 12+ years. And what did they do with it?
        Do you feel better off now?
        Did the money that went to Kuron or Global Hue help you? has the dwindling down of the tourism industry made things better for you? Has the hopeless mess of the education system helped you? Has it helped black people generally? Have the overspends on projects helped you, or the people of Bermuda, or did those things just enrich a few people who were close to those in power?

        Who do you think has done really well in the past few years? Have you? have the employees of companies that have closed their doors, or reduced staff?

        Then ask yourself: Did Ewart do well? He retired to a nice $4m house on Cape Cod.
        Did Zane do well? What about the other building firms who ‘automatically’ got large contracts?

        How about the government ministers. Do they do ok, with their combined incomes of over $200k? Yet, interestingly, they have no interest in taking a ‘nominal’ cut in income. Why not? Haven’t the rest of us had to do that? Why are they the only protected class?

        You think the only two choices are the PLP or rich white men on Wall Street? They aren’t. There is another choice now. You don’t have to settle for more of the same from the PLP.
        Finally, we have a choice.

      • Terry says:

        People own those stores. Get real…

  11. Persia Monet says:

    Can’t understand why so many readers think that a simple name change will make a difference to the opposition…….if they had a whole lot of principals, then the work they did in the UBP would speak volumes….errr all we’ve seen is inhouse fighting!

    • Hudson says:

      Dude, wake up. The UBP still exists!!

      • LOL (original) says:

        To some any opposition would be the UBP so I say just leavem behind.

        LOL

  12. Face the Nation says:

    Ok …. I’ll admit it The PLP was the greatest OPPOSITION PARTY EVER ….

    • LOL (original) says:

      yup 30 years of experience maybe they should take up that job again.

      LOL

    • Yep says:

      Almost 40 years in fact .. and what did they really learn ? How to be a better government for everyone ? How to act right and make us proud in the eyes of the rest of the world ?

      Nope .. They just used the 40 years to figure out how to be better crooks and manipulate the minds of their ‘faithful’ to keep them angry and poor.

      That translates into PLP votes forever .

  13. Watching! says:

    Hold on..how can it be that the UBP changed their name? They still have two seats in the house! We have three political parties. Are you people so wrapped up in the UBP vs PLP saga that you cannot see the new OBA is a completely different party with different ideals. People, we wanted change and we got it.

    PLP still have the same people after Dr. Brown. What’s the difference?

  14. Interesting.... says:

    Hi All,

    I’ve been reading everyone’s comments with regards to Bermuda’s current financial crises and I feel that all of you have a point; in some cases, more than others.

    Both UBP and PLP are guilty of some sort of mishandling while in Government; however, the more important issue is how can we now recover from the depths of this “pit” we are currently in. Dealing the “race card” surely will not work, although there coninues to be RACISM on BOTH sides of the coin. Frankly, I am not interested in the racial thing, I’m more interested in the “let’s get Bermuda back on track” thing.

    I strongly believe that PLP have dropped the ball when it came to preparing for this recession. It’s funny, but I continue to see new GP cars when Government departments are asked to operate with barely a dime by cutting overtime, etc. As far as Ministers taking a pay cut, I FEEL THEY SHOULD, as it will give the public a sense that they are compassionate. Right now, the Premier MUST so all possible to ensure we get out of this situation, even if it results in the Cabinet being affected drastically with pay cuts. Everyone else is taking cuts or losing jobs.

    The whole “this will never happen in Bermuda” mentality MUST stop because we are not exempt when it comes to problems which plague other countries. Gun violence is sky high, Bermuda is broke, people are losing jobs, drugs are a problem and the list goes on and on.

    Do you know how many people have been layed off or made redundant as a result of the crisis we are in? There are people I know who can’t pay rent or mortgage because they have been released from their job, and cannot find any other form of employment.

    The only people that will come out this situation smelling like roses, are the fortunate ones and the those screwing the system.

    Senator Furbert, PLP is not at fault for the world’s recession; however, they bare some responsibility for ours.

    I really hope that we can all work together and help each other, both white and black, to ascend from this unfortunate circumstance we are currently in.

    If OBA is successful in the next election, I hope you do NOT forget those who put them there, nor the people of Bermuda.