By-Election Candidates

Due to the tragic passing of Minister Bascome there is a by-election scheduled for later this month (August 27th), with the selection of the PLP candidate to be expected imminently. This constituency is one of the PLP’s safest strongholds, and media reports indicate that there has been intense interest in PLP members wishing to contest this election. A number of names have been suggested as possible candidates:

Charles Clarke
Dr. Lou Matthews
Rolfe Commissiong
Senator Marc Bean
Senator Walton Brown
Senator Thaao Dill
Elizabeth Christopher
Philip Perinchief
Lt. Col. David Burch
Major Kenneth Dill

Of these I believe only Mr. Clarke and Dr. Matthews have confirmed their intent to run, while the others are more speculation at this point. As 30Strong over at the former Progressive Minds site has asked for some discussion on this topic, I thought I would give my thoughts on possible candidates.

I personally don’t know much about Dr. Matthews at all, so I cannot comment on him too much. I know that he has been heavily involved in the ongoing reforms of the public education system, and this article from 2007 should provide some insight into his background in this field.

I enjoy chatting with Mr. Clarke and I was hopeful that he would win in the last election where he lost to Mr. Wayne Furbert. I personally have some issues with BTC, but I don’t hold Mr. Clarke too responsible for that (LOL). I consider Mr. Clarke to be quite progressive in his politics, and I am sure he will continue with Mr. Bascome’s legacy of community activity.

The above two candidates, with their ties to the area, would no doubt make an excellent MP for this area. Dr. Matthews expertise in education would certainly be a bonus four the nation, with his election most likely seeing his appointment to either the Minister of Education, or Junior Minister in this field.

I personally feel that Senator Marc Bean is unlikely to contest this election. I think he would be a welcome addition to the House of Assembly, but I feel his heart is in the West End. I expect him to be elected as an MP in the next election, and believe he should focus on community organising out West, while continuing to develop experience in the Senate.

Similarly with Senator Thaao Dill, I just don’t see him running in this by-election. He also would make an excellent candidate, but I do not think he is ready or willing to contest this by-election at the moment. He is someone I expect to also see elected in the next election (the 2012 election is one that I think will see a new generation of PLP MPs take power).

Senator Walton Brown is a possibility however. He would be a great asset in the House of Assembly, and I have a good deal of respect for him. I believe he could offer a lot in the House of Assembly and as a Cabinet Minister. He may want to continue building his support elsewhere though, I’m not sure.

I really cannot see Lt. Col. Burch as running for election. Don’t get me wrong, he gets things done, he’s efficient and has been an excellent Minister over the years. And he does have a wicked sense of humour (that isn’t always shown in the media). I do find him a tad, um, arrogant at times though, and the late Julian Hall was quite perceptive in his description of him as a train wreck in slow motion. I expect him to continue as the Senate majority leader and in his Ministry.

Rolfe Commissiong is a possibility. While his election would no doubt be greeted with a collective groan from Paget that I’ll be able to hear from Scotland, I really think that he has a great potential to contribute to Bermuda more than he already does. I think he would be an excellent candidate.

I like Ms. Christopher, she’s an excellent lawyer and I enjoy discussing things with her, but I always saw her running out East for some reason. I kind of expect her to run in Constituency 4 in 2012. I don’t expect her to be a candidate for this by-election.

I do see Philip Perinchief as a good potential candidate for this area. I have a lot of respect for him, and I feel he can also contribute a lot to the House of Assembly. If he is elected he could help bring about an effective truce between Dr. Brown and the backbench. Or, he could help reinforce the backbench. I’ll put him as a potential candidate and wildcard.

Major Kenneth Dill would also make an excellent candidate, and I know he is very committed to community activism. He is also very much Ministerial material and could contribute quite a lot to a PLP government. There does appear to be some friction between him and Dr. Brown, but its hard to tell how much a reality this is.

Another possible candidate that hasn’t been mentioned would be the BIU President Chris Furbert, who I think would be a useful asset for the PLP to have as a MP. I would also like to see another women candidate, and a potential individual may be Ms. Linda Merritt who ran in the UBP stronghold of Constituency 12 in the last election. There are a few others who I think would be excellent choices, but they aren’t public figures at the moment, and I think they won’t run until 2012, so I am not going to name them here.

My own feeling is that the most likely candidates will be Charles Clarke, Dr. Lou Matthews, Senator Walton Brown, Rolfe Commissiong and Phil Perinchief.

I’m not all that interested in who the UBP are going to run, as I doubt they will capture more than 10% of the vote in this area. I think they would be best running Keith Young though. A possibility however would be an Independent running, though I doubt they would capture much of the vote, not without a credible platform and party support emerging to support them at least.

20 thoughts on “By-Election Candidates

  1. I don’t know how a candidate is picked for a particular area, but (presumably) it rests with the branch?

    Who do you think the party will select Jonathan? What influence (if any) will Ewart bring to the process?

  2. Without looking at the Party Constitution (cos I’m being lazy and should be doing my work) – which is online over at, it would be the Branch that selects the candidates. The protocol would be first confirming who the candidates are, then each candidate would be expected to give a speech about why they should be chosen over the other candidates. The Branch members would then hold a closed door meeting to discuss the candidates, and then take a series of votes on who the candidate would be.

    The Central Committee or Party Executive has some power in this, but ultimately the choice is that of the Branch. Potential candidates would most likely be screened for suitability as parliamentary candidates by a non-branch committee, but all of the peoples named above would pass that round easily. At that point it goes to the branch as mentioned above. Theoretically the CC could veto the branch decision, but I think that would be highly unlikely.

    I don’t think Dr. Brown will have much influence in this decision making process, with the possible exception of the Senators (because that directly impacts the Senate and Cabinet), whom he could presumably prevent running. There are obviously some names above who would be seen as pro-Brown and those that would be seen as staunch opponents to Dr. Brown, and who is ultimately chosen will have implications as a result.

    Of the names above who do I think will be selected? Truthfully, I don’t know. I think that the most likely choice would be Mr. Clarke, followed by Dr. Matthews, then Walton Brown, Major Kenneth Dill and finally Phil Perinchief. So, I guess my money would be on Mr. Charles Clarke.

  3. Jonathan,

    As I continue to say, don’t believe everything you read in the Royal Gazette. I have no idea where they got that list of names from, but in some instances the reporter has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime (or is it the other way around?).

    Think about it!!! Why would Major Kenneth Dill put his name forward as a PLP candidate at this point and time in history? Before anyone tries to read anything into my question, I will state here, that I have much respect for Mr. Dill and I have benefitted by his wise counsel.


    The PLP is very democratic and open when it comes to the selection of candidates. The Leader of the Party has nothing to do with candidate selection.

    By the way, do you know “Ewart” personally? I’m a relative and I consider myself to be a very dear friend, but I never refer to him as “Ewart”. I’m also a very good friend of Sir John Swan, and I would never refer to him as “John”. I wonder why you feel comfortable in referring to the Premier as “Ewart”.

  4. ‘By the way, do you know “Ewart” personally? I’m a relative and I consider myself to be a very dear friend, but I never refer to him as “Ewart”. I’m also a very good friend of Sir John Swan, and I would never refer to him as “John”. I wonder why you feel comfortable in referring to the Premier as “Ewart”.’

    Ms. Furbert,

    If I may I suspect Martin has no issues referring to Premier Brown by his first name for similar reasons as others have no issues referring to the Queen by using “Mrs. Windsor”. There are those who choose to accept as legitimate the titles bestowed upon heads of state and there are those that are not.

    Then again to Martin’s credit I note he also referred to Prince Charles and Prince William by their first names as well so it would seem he does not differentiate regardless of a person’s role.

  5. Hello Ms Furbert

    I actually wasn’t suggesting anything untoward when I asked Jonathan the question about ‘influence’. I was simply asking the question of someone who I thought would know the answer as I am totally unaware of how the PLP works.

    On the second issue, I think Denis has answered it very well – for which I thank him.

    If you wish, you may continue to call me Martin, as distinct from the alternative approach on a blog which is to show the quote, and then ask your question, e.g.

    Quote: “I wonder why you feel comfortable in referring to the Premier as “Ewart”.

    You: Perhaps you could explain why….etc.

  6. Ms. Furbert,

    I actually find your critique of Martin’s use of Ewart very interesting, as it points out some of the subconcious thoughts on his own self-importance.

    For example, when posters talk about certain figures in politics (John Barritt, Renee Webb, Thaao Dill, Paula Cox – for example) almost all internet sources use their first names. (other than news sources of course). Wayne furbert is another one.

    I believe we should rightly use peoples titles, so you shouldn’t refer to Sir John as just John, but have no problem with the former. Similarly, Dame Jennifer is almost referred to in that way.

    And yet, Dr. Brown is not allowed to be just ‘Ewart’.

  7. Hi Martin, I saw it as more a query by LaVerne, although I concede it was done in a way that was a bit unnecessarily pre-judgemental and confrontational. There is a history of certain elements in Bermudian society denigrating various leaders from the progressive labour movement, most famously being the systematic refusal to recognise Dr. E. F. Gordon by his medical title (or even as ‘Mister’). I believe that as a result your comment was percieved as a slight.

    Hi LaVerne, I personally don’t see Major Dill as a likely candidate at this time. I believe he would make a good candidate, but I think he is content in his current position as it is. My interest was only to provoke discussion about possible candidates in advance of the selection, and felt it necessary to restrain myself to the names reported in the media.

  8. Thanks Jonathan for the explanation.

    I take the point. Indeed, I recall all to well, the Government’s unlawful expulsion of a black Canadian expat working in construction, because of an alleged lack of respect.

    Maybe it’s part of the maturing process.

  9. Thaao Dill? Seriously?

    The winner of obsequious lickspittle of the year award 2007 and 2008.

    Don’t we want at someone who pretends to have an independent thought representing the good folk of the late Mr Bascome’s constituency?

  10. Jonathan and Martin,

    I guess I’m thinking back to the days when my father worked at Darrell & Seaman and was called “Bertie” by the children of his customers, even though he addressesed their parents as Mr./Mrs. “so and so” and certainly, I could never address their parents by their first names. I know it’s hard for some people to understand the feelings that go along with that.

    “Lost in Flatts”,

    Dr. Brown can be just “Ewart” if that’s how you have always known him, but in my opinion, it’s not acceptable if you don’t know him that way. “John Swan” is always “Sir John” to me, in spite of the fact that I consider him a personal friend. “Paula Cox” is always “Minister Cox” to me. However other posters refer to posters is neither here nor there as far as I concerned. By the way, John Barritt has never had a title other than “Mr.”

  11. How about Her Majesty, The Queen?

    It seems acceptable to refer to her in a familiar way and not by her title, even though you accept the British honorific, bestowed BY the lady you have so flippantly and disrespectfully referred to as Mrs. Windsor, which is NOT the appropriate or acceptable way to refer to her, nor is it correct, of SIR John.
    One would assume that you’d call Dame Jennifer by her title, as well.

    What’s the difference? Is it that you don’t respect Her Highness?
    If so, why the confusion when people who obviously don’t respect him refer to Dr. Brown by his first name?

  12. Hi UE, I don’t believe it would be fair to address the question (re Mrs. Windsor) to Ms. Furbert. I personally do not know her position on that issue, but the only time I know her to have used such a term was in the thread where I already had used that term of reference. It is more than likely that she was just using the reference that I had employed and nothing more.

    You and I have already had a discussion on this issue, and I have already noted I do not recognise the honorifics of ‘Dame’ or ‘Sir’, and have compromised with Mrs. Windsor, aka, the Queen of England.

  13. Ms Furbert

    I understand where you are coming from on that. Ironically perhaps, in the Bermuda of ‘today’, first name usage seems to prevail even from those where you would least expect it.

    For example, I have never lived anywhere where your Doctor, dentist etc call you by your first name – here they do!

  14. Jonny, she still used it, didn’t she?

    She referred to Her Majesty as Mrs. Windsor, which, as we’ve discussed ad nauseum, is disrespectful and incorrect, and yet feels the need to comment on folks calling Dr. Brown by his first name. I find that a little hypocritical and would like to hear if the good lady has an explanation.

  15. I think my point on using first versus last names was missed a bit. Obviously when I was younger I called everyone by their surname, usually prefaced by ‘Uncle’ or ‘Auntie’ – even though they never were (well probably were somewhere down the family tree, but not obviously). But my dad would call them by their first name.

    Now that we’re all fully grown adults, why should I refer to some people by their first name (with title, eg, Sir John, Dame Jennifer, Michael, etc) and others by their surname (Dr. Brown, Sen. Burch, for example)? It can’t just be because I’ve not met them, it’s not practice in business to address all first time correspondence as Mr. or Mrs. Why should it be in politics? And why only for a select few?

    That is my point, or question. I don’t find referring to our premier as Ewart any more insulting than referring to, I dunno, my head client as Steve. It’s just their name.

  16. I shudder to offer this up, as of course Debrett’s concerns itself principally with what is right in a UK context.

    That said, it is no doubt used by non-UK people when trying to work out the correct forms for addressing certain situations, e.g. writing to the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Queen etc.

    In the final analysis, Bermuda of course is a mix of American/British/African and Caribbean styles et al.

  17. “I am proud to be standing here on this stage today along with Sir John Swan” and all you lovely people”

    “It’s been a long week Your Excellancy. Sir John and I have been busy going over plans for a new home for the elderly”

    “This is a great afternoon. John has really outdone himself with those fishcakes he made. What do you think hone”?

    “Mr. Premier, I am glad you could make it to the opening of the new Court House. Sir John Swan has done a great deal for this counrty”

    “Nah… told me det I would gatt dis property for Shree Million….Nah yah chargin me Shree point 5?…

    “John, you and I need too talk brother”

    ‘It’s all relative’

    And works quite well. Common sense and courtisey. Stop the moaning and lets move on. As my friend Smokey The Rum said……

    “Only you can prevent racial injustice perceived inaquality”

    A great day too all. You too John, my old friend.


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