2010 PLP Leadership Challenge

As most readers are aware, Dr. Brown publicly announced again last year that he would not seek the Leadership again in the 2010 ADC. His term as Leader was set to expire at this time anyway and he would have had to seek re-election had he wished to continue. He had made it known to the Party even before his public announcement that he only intended to serve one term, and despite the intrigue in some quarters that his decision is merely a ruse I am convinced that he will, indeed, not seek re-election. In fact, when he was elected in 2006 he said at that time that he only intended to serve the one term. I personally expect that he will resign as an MP shortly after the ADC and initiate a bye-election which he will not compete in. I expect him to continue to be a figure in Bermudian politics though, just as John Swan continues to, but for the most part he will cease to be a central figure. I imagine he is already planning his retirement plans and preparing his constituency for candidate selection.

I do expect Dr. Brown to focus on his legacy during the last nine months of his tenure. I expect his focus to be on trying to get gambling legislation worked out, although I do not think he has enough time to do so. I know that Cabinet recieved the gaming taskforce report in I believe October 2009, but little has been said since, and with the opposition to it within the Party membership and support base, I don’t think it is a battle he can win. He can however help clarify the issues, and we may see a green paper or something similar come out for now. He will also focus on getting some of the proposed hotel developments up and running, with the Par-la-Ville or St. Georges sites being the most likely contenders here. The continuing economic crisis is likely to be the largest obstacles here. While I oppose gambling for Bermuda, I don’t begrudge Dr. Brown’s attempts to revitalise tourism here. While I like the quiet life, I understand that from a tourism point of view Bermuda is being passed by as a tourism destination partly due to our percieved quietness. There remains large scope for improving our tourism package, of which entertainment is a key aspect.

There are many, both in the Party and the general public, who see Ms. Cox as the heir apparent as Party Leader/Premier. In fact the parrallels between Brown-Cox (Bda) and Blair-Brown (UK) in this context are eerie. While I quite like Ms. Cox and think she could be a fine Leader/Premier I am opposed to her coronation as successor to Dr. Brown. The Party could do with a frank and open discussion about its vision and direction, something that has been sorely lacking in the last two Leadership changes (although Scott-Brown did attempt this to an extent). Past leadership changes have been less about ideology/policy than egos, and the Party as a whole has suffered for it. There are few in the Party who have a clear idea about what the purpose of the Party is anymore, other than a vehicle for power and profit. In short, the vision of the Party is rather blurry right now, and this opens the door to opportunism and disaffection.

The Party faces no imminent threat from either opposition party at the moment. An open and frank discussion of vision and direction at this time does not risk any political challenges to the Party. On the contrary, should the Party demonstrate its ability to maturely discuss these matters openly it has the potential to recruit new members and even take support away from the opposition parties. And such a discussion, in more clearly defining the vision and direction of the PLP, would also help clarify the vision and direction of the opposition parties. Right now we have not-the-UBP (the PLP), the UBP-but-not-necessarily-the-old-UBP (the UBP) and the not-the-UBP-or-the-PLP-but-something-else-which-we-don’t-know-yet (the BDA). Inspiring choices, no?

It is in this light that I welcome the announcement by Mr. Butler that he is considering a leadership run for the 2010 ADC. He has also put forward the beginnings of a vision and direction for the Party. I personally would like to see him expand on this vision and his reasonings behind some of his comments. I understand that there are many within the parliamentary caucus and membership that have a lot of respect for Mr. Butler, both for his insight and diligence, but do not see him as a leader and are prepared to write him off before he even steps up to bat. That would be a mistake, and Mr. Butler should not be discouraged by any initial lukewarm support that he may recieve.

I believe it is in the interest of the Party – and Bermuda as a whole – to further develop his leadership challenge. He should continue to develop and articulate his vision for the Party and for Bermuda, both within the Party and without. He should continue canvassing the branches, even hold regional meetings, to take his message to the membership. He should also continue expanding his vision to the people of Bermuda as a whole, through the media and even through the internet, much like the Opposition Leader Kim Swan has. At the end of the day he may not gather enough support to win the Leadership, but the very discussion that his actions would cause will have a beneficial effect for the Party, and even in defeat he may realise some of his vision through their adoption by the victor. He may even find himself as Deputy Leader.

It would be ideal if other contenders for the Leadership were to similarly voice their intent and vision so that the Party can truly have a discussion of its future and allow for adequate consideration in advance of the vote itself. I would prefer it if the leadership challenge were to get off and running at least five months prior to the vote itself, as this would give the membership enough time to hear out the contenders and make their decisions. I am not sure how this would play out for current members of the Cabinet though. Should Ms. Cox indeed intend to challenge for the leadership, I would prefer her to make this clear by May, and I am not sure if she would be able to sit in Cabinet during this process. With the current economic problems it may not be beneficial for any upheaval within the Ministry of Finance right now. As Dr. Brown has made it clear that he does not intend to return as Leader however, I think Ms. Cox – and any other Cabinet members thinking about becoming Leader – should be okay in beginning a leadership challenge.

I believe the Party is mature enough to engage in such a campaign while continuing to run the country and not risk any political loss. And while I did support calling a snap-election in the aftermath of the UBP-BDA split, I don’t think the Party machinery was in place to do so at that time, and I think the opportunity has largely passed by now. I would expect the new Leader to settle into the position for a few months and then call a general election in order to have their own mandate to govern from the people. An extended leadership campaign, from May to October, with competing visions, could benefit the Party in this respect, energising its sense of purpose, and solidify its image within the populace.

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17 thoughts on “2010 PLP Leadership Challenge

  1. Given the disastrous financial year of 2009, I don’t think it would be beneficial to have Paula Cox as the leader of Bermuda. Given the PLP track record of over spending and coming in over budget on big projects, the financial department should be considered an all out failure IMO. They need a leader that doesn’t feel the need to spend, spend, spend and travel, travel, travel. They need a leader that is humble and most importantly, a leader that LISTENS when people are trying to warn you of what is about to come.

  2. Well, in Ms. Cox’s defence, pretty much every country in the West had a disastrous financial year in 2009. More certainly could have been done, no doubt, but we are doing better than some other jurisdictions similar to our own.

  3. Was pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Butler put his name forward, could be a progressive leader.

    Ms. Cox is a tough one, I had always assumed she didn’t want to be leader (as lets face it, she could have taken over 6 months ago if she’d wanted to) but I guess that could have been a timing thing.

    Again, all of this presupposes that the good Doctor stays true to his word. This time.

  4. Jeez, dude, don’t you know that for you, as a white boy, to endorse Dale is the kiss of death for his candidacy inside the PLP? With friends like you, PLP leadership figures don’t need enemies!

    Look, nothing’s going to change in Bermuda until half the population is out of work, and the other half has fled the island. At which point, many (but not all, sigh) of even the most hard-headed will be forced to realize that something has gone horribly wrong. Then, another couple of generations to excise the crap, and eventually Bermuda might be an OK place again.

    You’re lucky, you’re growing connections over there(even though the climate sucks where you are :-), so you’ll have someplace to land.

  5. @ Noel – LOL, I wasn’t actually endorsing any candidate, just endorsing a competition instead of a coronation. I actually have the right to live/work in the UK/EU and Singapore as well, but Bermuda is my homeland. I may not always live there, but I will always try to lend a hand and have an interest in it.

  6. Noel hit it on head,as does Davida Morris P.8 todays Gazette,

    even then, it’s too far gone for tourism to recover,IB is on its way to Ireland,and the mother of all recessions will bury this island back 400 years into bare ass poverty

    People like EB, laverne, commissiong will always have ax to grind,due to their personal failures

  7. John. Poverty, tirrany, oppression, genocide have no boundries.

    The “West” financial difficulties are neither here nor there in comparrison.

    Nothing you can say will change my feelings on that.

    Human rights. Millions are being killed, starved, enslaved in poverty and being kept behind yet you worry about a few bitchers and moanings who live in paradise run by a Gombey.

    Greed killed the platinum Gombey, along with all that the “West” has squandered for their little piece of “My Ammy” beach….and Al Gore and the rest living “High and Dry”…………………….

    I need a rum………………….

    Reminds me of Jorge Washinghtun said…..go Vest..Go Vest…………….well they did and are still being …………

    Gotta run………Dale Butler horn dee lynee….Vat? Vat?…No no Dale….stick wiff FCP…detz rite……”FCP” Vat? Vat? Rummy…yoo ann eye go becks a long vey….vatz FCP?

    Dale….Yah gutt dee racipe, dee bast…………..all you have to do my little freckled face son of soil is gather them, mix gently and you’ll be top chef with a great batch butlers that will serve us all well. Ann dunt forgat dee ‘maids’…….dose yanks love a little ruffle hare and thare……ann de limeys…..cute little pussies running around the patio…………………………

  8. there r no real leaders in the plp…..the real leadership people are now all dead n burried

    only the people r fit to be leaders of the govt

    ALL POWER TO ALL THE PEOPLE BY ALL MEANS NESSICARY

  9. Jonathan,

    You need to make at least one correction to your statement. Dr. Brown announced that he would only serve one term when he was elected to the position of Party Leader in 2006.

  10. The PLP has 22 MPs’ at last count. Remove past Premiers, fired Cabinet Ministers, MPs who are incapable of being taken seriously and the only choices are Paula Cox and Dale Butler. Of the 2 only Dale Butler has shown he has decency and principles as evidenced by his reaction to the Uigher smuggling. Paula merely said she felt politically neutered.
    Regrettably Bermuda is very poorly served with choice, my only hope is that the next Premier will be Bermudian, as in Bermudian with principles, decency and the interests of Bermuda and Bermudians foremost. A tough order.

  11. we the people need to pressure the govenor to disolve parliment and place bermuda under direct uk rule until a better political system is developed for bermuda like the turks

    the westminster experiment in bermuda has failed

    n so has the plp n ubp n bermuda politicians in general

  12. Actually, “Horace Greeley, New York newspaper publisher and U.S. presidential candidate, is usually credited with giving this piece of advice {“Go West, young man”}. Actually, Greeley did not originate it. In 1851 John Babsone Lane Soule first published these words in the Terre Haute, Ind., Express. Horace Greeley then picked them up and used them on the editorial page of his powerful New York Tribune. Incidentally, when Greeley repeated, “Go west, young man, and grow up with the country,” he meant no further west than Erie County, Pa.”

    George Washington had been dead for 52 years.

  13. I have corrected the post to stress that when Dr. Brown was elected during the 2006 ADC he stated at that time that he only intended to serve one term of office. It is not a new decision on his part.

  14. According to RG, if an election was held today –

    PLP 40%
    UBP 21%
    BDA 16%

    And this is under Dr Brown’s leadership.
    So i think whoever takes over will be in good stead. Yes there are many issues affecting Bermuda, and the world, but most people believe that these are not the fault of the govt and that this govt obviously is well equipped to deal with them.

    And even if you want to say that the PLP was thought of as the lesser of 3 evils, you have that option. But the result is still the same.

  15. Perry, who said that everything in Bermuda was peachy? And I do wish people would bother researching why Haiti is in the mess that it is properly rather than using the default argument that they are incapable of running themselves which is quite the opposite of reality.

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