OBA: Leaders, Resignations, Timing & Disputes

September 27, 2018

The issues within the OBA continue, with former OBA Chairperson Justin Mathias saying that Acting OBA Leader Leah Scott “should do the honourable thing and resign,” while Ms Scott said that “elements within the OBA” seem to be “intent on deliberately trying to damage the new and revitalized course the Party is taking.”

Mr Mathias recently resigned as OBA Chairperson, which followed after the resignation of Jeanne Atherden as OBA leader, after eight MPs expressed no confidence in her. Craig Cannonier was subsequently sworn in as the Opposition Leader, while Leah Scott is serving as the Acting OBA Leader.

While generally regarded as the same thing, the Opposition Party Leader and Opposition Leader are not technically the same, as the Party Leader is selected by the party, while the Opposition Leader is appointed by the Governor.

The circumstances surrounding the OBA’s leadership change have resulted in two different people currently serving as Opposition Leader and Acting Party Leader, which is not a usual occurrence in local politics.

Questions have been raised about the circumstances and timing of the leadership changes, with conflicting statements made over recent days.

Documents and emails seen by Bernews indicate that at around 10pm on Sept 19th, an email was sent to OBA MPs saying, “The eight MPs held a vote to support Craig Cannonier, JP, MP, as the Leader of the Opposition under Bermuda’s constitution, and the eight MPs signed a letter to the Governor attesting to that. We’ve contacted Jeanne and asked her to reconsider her position as Party Leader.”

An email sent to OBA members by Ms Atherden said she “stepped down as Party Leader effective September 20,” and another letter we have seen, said to be the formal letter Ms Atherden sent to the Governor to resign as Opposition Leader, is dated September 21st.

Mr Mathias said, “The acting OBA leader is grossly misinformed on the facts when it comes to the letter that was sent by the gang of eight to the Governor last week – Thursday. I was in discussions with the Governor on Thursday and Friday to get the matter resolved amicably.

“Now that the acting leader has shown her hand and is going forward with this personal vendetta against Mrs Atherden and myself, and prejudicated the nomination process and the leadership process, she should do the honourable thing and resign.”

While the OBA would not comment whether the letter may have been delivered to the Governor before Ms Atherden resigned and the timing of Ms Atherden’s resignation and the letter to Governor, Ms Scott did say that “elements within the OBA” seem to be “intent on deliberately trying to damage the new and revitalized course the Party is taking.”

Acting OBA Leader Leah Scott said, “Last week, eight OBA MPs signed a letter of no confidence in OBA Leader Jeanne Atherden, who later resigned. Seven of those MPs then elected Craig Cannonier as Opposition Leader and he was sworn in by the Governor. To the best of my knowledge the position of those MPs has not changed.

“It is clear that there are elements within the OBA who are briefing the media, hiding behind anonymity, that seem intent on deliberately trying to damage the new and revitalized course the Party is taking and which it is determined to pursue for the good of this country.

“If there are people who want to challenge for the Leadership of the Party they have an opportunity to do so. Otherwise, I would ask that they refrain from pursuing their own agenda and to put their efforts into ensuring the OBA will once again be the Government that this fantastic Island needs and deserves.”

As the situation stands now, Jeanne Atherden has resigned as Party Leader, Leah Scott is the Acting Party Leader, Craig Cannonier has been sworn in as the Opposition Leader, Justin Mathias has resigned as Party Chairperson, Nandi Outerbridge is the Acting Chairperson, and the OBA will be holding a leadership election for the Party Leader and Chairperson position on October 12th.

Unofficial information suggests additional changes may also occur, with suggestions that Mr Cannonier plans to make changes to the OBA Senate team.

The letter said to have been sent last week  follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (32)

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  1. red rose says:

    Justin needs to bow out while he still has a little dignity left

  2. Woody says:

    Interesting (well maybe just a little bit) that some of the former long standing UBP MPs – notably Cole and Patricia – are in on this. So it’s still a UBP machine…

    On the other hand, Nandi is proof that half the battle is bothering to show up and not rock the boat. I bet she keeps her Senate seat. Mathias could learn a thing or two from her about survival and how to keep collecting the so called pay cheque every month.

    • hmmm says:

      Nandy is has always been loyal to Dunkely she’s going to throw him under the bus to remain in the new “gang of eight” as JUSTIN calls them!!!!

      Wait and SEE!!

    • question says:

      Furbert, Swan and Simmons are still in the PLP, so it’s still a UBP machine.

      • Star Wars says:

        You do remember that the UBP used to win every election? Why because a certain culture voted. If I was you I would concentrate and try to find out why that culture flip flopped over to the PLP.

        Lets be honest for once Question……black Bermudian voters have departed.

        • Woody says:

          Actually, what happened is that PLP supporters started turning up to vote. In 1998, the UBP assumed a turnout below 75% would win it – it was in fact 82%. Much the same for subsequent elections until the 2012 OBA victory which was mainly due to PLP voters voicing their disdain by not turning up.

          • JAWS says:

            No more smoke and mirrors Woody Bermudian black voters have given up on the oba now please stop blowing smoke up your @$$.

  3. Star Wars says:

    I can’t believe he call them THE GANG OF EIGHT. The nerve of him. The UBP Force is strong in this Padawan.

  4. N / A says:

    The OBA (UBP) will put a black face as the head of their party to get black votes, then fire them for a white person when they regain power, and the cycle will continue. They literally only have one strategy. But hey, people were dumb enough to fall for it last time.

    • shrew says:

      the PLP are now the UBP with 2 exleaders of that party

    • question says:

      Which black leader of the OBA was ‘fired’?
      Is this more PLP fake news?

  5. Yahoo says:

    Wow, that’s the most work Cole Simons has done in all his years as an MP. He should take the next 10-12 years off to recover.

  6. puzzled says:

    Downton Sessions.

  7. YAWN.
    Hmm…. and these persons were the leaders….past!!

    • Jus' Wonderin' says:

      What’s d plp done so far for us? real talk…jus wanna kno

  8. Pondering says:

    Get over the UBP thing already. The UBP had its issues but it also put Bermuda on solid ground. The bit about getting rid of all of the previous members is old now. They have experience and valuable contributions still to make.

  9. shrew says:

    the PLP has TWO leaders of the UBP in it! why aren’t the PLPers frothing at the mouth to shut them out?

    • question says:

      Because they are blatant hypocrites

      • Swing Voter says:

        No because they are men that the UBP used to win votes.

        • question says:

          Two of them were leaders of the UBP. They were running the place. So there goes that theory.

          • Onion Juice says:

            They saw de light.

          • JAWS says:

            Jim Woolrridge answered your Question ……Question!!1

            As stated in his book “those little white boys don’t mind you being in charge as long as they can tell you what to do – “The House That Jack Built” by the Hon. C.V. (Jim) Woolridge.

        • Wahoo says:

          So you are saying that they were sooo dumb they could be “used”? That is an insult to them.

          • Time Shall Tell says:

            Once they realized they were being used was the point of their enlightenment. It’s not so much the persons with former ties to the UBP being the issue but the ones who still carry the same mentality of the UBP that is the issue within the OBA.

  10. wahoo says:

    Why get the ubp out? Can you give some reasons why the UBP was bad for Bermuda? All I remember was this island was booming and we all got along.

    • Onion Juice says:

      We did? How many riots, strikes and protests we had while UBP was in charge.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        1977 and 1981 and we still haven’t regained our reputation no matter what excuses and history re-writing you claim.

      • Imjustsaying says:

        You get more unrest with a labor government. That has been proven correct over & over again.

  11. simple says:

    sort it out cuz the plp will destroy the country again

  12. Seriously though says:

    Dissolve OBA! , minus UBP longhorns, allow PLP and former parties , or current form Bermuda Alliance Party , where race not an issue but our division on politics to solve our problems! MP’s can switch parties… but great for healthy democracy!

  13. Imjustsaying says:

    What is definitely clear is that the OBA as a whole are in shambles and if they want to be the next ruling government need to cut ties with the old guard that is in the background running the show.