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:
Dr. Lou Matthews
Senator Marc Bean
Senator Walton Brown
Senator Thaao Dill
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.