Building a future: Island Construction Services Ltd. boss Zane DeSilva was surrounded by his wife Joanne and two children Zarah and Zane Junior as well as other extended family at yesterday’s announcement. He said he shares the PLP’s philosophy towards family, hard work and social justice for all. *Photos by Nigel Regan
Building a future: Island Construction Services Ltd. boss Zane DeSilva was surrounded by his wife Joanne and two children Zarah and Zane Junior as well as other extended family at yesterday’s announcement. He said he shares the PLP’s philosophy towards family, hard work and social justice for all. *Photos by Nigel Regan
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New Progressive Labour Party candidate Zane DeSilva's biggest fans were with him at yesterday's announcement - his family.

His wife of 25 years Joanne and their children Zarah, 23 and Zane Junior, 20, looked on proudly as he spoke of his commitment to working towards a better Bermuda.

Zarah told us: "He's been a great father to us all his life - I don't see why anyone wouldn't support him. We'll support him no matter what. He's a great businessman and about to be a great asset to the PLP."

Mr. DeSilva is the president and CEO of Island Construction Services Ltd., one of Bermuda's largest construction firms. He's one of only a few white candidates to ever stand for the PLP. But his daughter suggested that was irrelevant. "Dad's the type of person that looks out for everyone no matter what their race," she said. "He's a real people person," added his wife.

Mr. DeSilva has been chosen to run in Southampton East Central, where he will take on sitting MP David Dodwell, who beat the PLP's Raymond Tannock by just 20 votes in the last election.

Another PLP candidate announced at a lunchtime press conference at Southampton Rangers yesterday is Marc Bean. He's running in Southampton West Central against Jon Brunson, who scored a comfortable win for the UBP the last time around.

Mr. Bean, 33, is married with two children. They weren't there yesterday but his aunt Sylvia Francis was. She told us: "He is a smart, intelligent, lovely guy and I'm so happy for him that he has decided to give back to the community." About 30 people showed up to support the candidates yesterday.

Mr. DeSilva made reference to the "huge cross section of people" there. "People with blonde hair, dark hair, blue eyes, brown eyes. It's a great cross-section," he said.

Mr. DeSilva, 47, said he was born and raised in the area and that he has always believed the PLP represented his own personal philosophies, including the importance of family, hard work and social justice. He said he'd serve the constituency with "dedication and commitment."

Mr. Bean, a Cabinet consultant, said it was an "honour and a privilege" to be selected by the PLP. He said he was born and raised just up the road from Southampton Rangers and after being disillusioned with politics after returning from school in the U.S., he has evolved into wanting to become a participant instead of an observer.

Mr. Bean, who sat on the Bermuda Independence Commission two years ago, is interested in youth issues and is involved in the Government's Mirrors Programme, which aims to find mentors for at risk kids.

Premier Ewart Brown said the candidates and their entourage served as a "wonderful example of the energy and commitment that exists in the PLP."

He said: "It is said that the PLP has never been and would never be a diverse party. Today is only the first demonstration that that will never again be true."

Diverse

Dr. Brown made fun of reports that described Mr. DeSilva as his golfing buddy saying: "He's much more than that, he's actually my golfing instructor." He said he was delighted that Mr. DeSilva has come on board to help Bermuda grow.

Dr. Brown also scoffed at what he called the United Bermuda Party's "obsession" with speculating about dates for the next general election. He said it would be called on the PLP's schedule and delivered in its own style.

"We will produce a slate of candidates that will make the Opposition regret the day they urged us to bring it on," he said.

The PLP still has to officially announce two more candidates for Southampton, however the sitting MPs are Stanley Lowe and Randy Horton.