The rumored protest scheduled for this Friday, in opposition to our internal leadership election results, is misguided, and misdirected and will not serve to change the outcome.
Everyone has a right to prefer one candidate over another, that is the beauty of our democracy, but should the results not end in favour of your preferred candidate it can be dangerous and divisive to undermine the democratic process through which a leader or representative is elected.
The democratic process in the recent PLP leadership election was carried out in line with the party’s constitution and Westminster system of government that Bermuda abides by.
Under a Westminster system, the leader of a political party elected during a general election assumes the role of leader of the government. The election of a leader of the Progressive Labour Party is an internal process defined in its constitution; which takes place every four years..
In the PLP, delegates are members who represent the interests and wishes of all 36 constituencies across the island. They are selected on a proportional basis from all the branches, and these delegates represent the views of their branch members. They are joined in this vote by the elected members of the House of Assembly.
In our election on Thursday night, 97 delegates voted in support of Premier Burt, and 56 in support of MP Curtis Dickinson. Interestingly enough, in 2016, in the most recent leadership election for the PLP, David Burt defeated Dennis Lister 39 votes to 35 votes. The margin was much smaller, and the participation much less, yet the legitimacy of the outcome was never questioned.
All candidates vying for office respect our internal process, its outcomes and the wishes of the delegates. MP Curtis Dickinson has made it clear that he does not support the rumoured action that aims to further incite discord related to the PLP leadership election.
On Thursday night MP Dickinson said, “We had a contest, the delegates have spoken, it’s time for us to come together and get back to work; and I am committed to the PLP as I was before I started this journey. PLP all the way going forward.” On Saturday MP Dickinson released a statement disassociating himself from those organizing a protest stating, “It has come to my attention that there are a number of calls for a march on Parliament. While I respect the right of the people to protest, I wish to make it abundantly clear I am not involved in any way with the proposed march. Nor do I support any efforts to overturn the decision of the delegates. The internal election has been held and the delegates of the Progressive Labour Party have made their decision.”
Party Leader David Burt added, “Now that the internal election proces is over the Progressive Labour Party will come together to deliver for the electorate who voted for us both in 2017 and 2020.
“While I acknowledge that persons who do not support me may not be happy with the result, it is unfortunate that a small minority will try to continue to meddle in our internal democratic processes and attempt to sow division in our party. If persons are members and wish to see a change to how we hold our internal processes, the PLP is a party that welcomes dialogue and feedback from those persons and all members as has always been our way.
“The public voted overwhelmingly for a PLP government in 2017, and 2020 and will have their chance to vote again before February, 2026. The PLP are committed to keeping the promises it made to the electorate in its 2020 election platform, and are fully committed to rebuilding Bermuda with Bermudians at heart.”
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