OBA leader Craig Cannonier. *File photo
OBA leader Craig Cannonier. *File photo

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9: OBA leader Craig Cannonier today drew up his battle lines for a general election billed as one of the most important the island has ever faced.

Mr Cannonier rallied his troops after Paula Cox announced Monday, December 17 as election day at a packed PLP rally in Warwick on Thursday night.

Mr Cannonier – flanked by his candidates – said: “This truly is a wonderful day – this is a great day for Bermuda.

“The call for an election gives you the opportunity to finally have a say about your island. What’s going on around you and whether you approve of the direction it’s headed in or whether you believe it's time for change.”

And he gave advance warning of the battle lines the election – likely to be the closest in 20 years – will be fought along, with jobs, violent crime and the Government’s economic record key targets.

Mr Cannonier said the country faced a choice between a PLP “determined to keep things as they are, using the divisive politics of the past to keep it that way” or an OBA party that “plan to grow jobs and look forward to a more prosperous, secure and unifying future for every Bermudian".

He added: “The choice will be one of the most important in the life of this country. This election will be historic. Whether you want five more years of this Government’s path of rising unemployment, gun violence and soaring debt or whether you want change.”

Mr Cannonier added: “The people are telling us they can’t afford another five years of unemployment, another five years of rising crime and another five years of soaring debt.”

Mr Cannonier was speaking as he threw down the gauntlet at a meeting at the Vasco De Gama Club in Hamilton’s Reid Street.

He said the OBA represented the whole of Bermuda, with candidates drawn from all walks of life and across class boundaries.

He added: “We will be a Government that grows jobs. We will set a job creation target and commit to deadlines you can hold us to. We will be a public safety Government – we will stop the shootings and make your streets, your communities and your homes safer.”

And he pledged to create a Government “you can trust” and one “accountable for its performance.”

Mr Cannonier said: “We will, the One Bermuda Alliance, get the job done.”

He predicted: “In the days and weeks ahead, the Government will do all it can to tear down, to spin, and to distort what we say. But you already know better than to believe everything you hear from your Government.”

Afterwards, Mr Cannonier pointed to the “enthusiasm and excitement” of his team – and predicted that would win the battle for hearts and minds on the doorsteps of Bermuda.

He added: “The OBA has been ready for some time now. This is a great relief for us. We’ve been waiting for this day for some time now.”

Mr Cannonier declined to comment on Premier Paula Cox’s timing.

But he said: “Certainly, we believe there may have been some challenges there. To me, that doesn’t matter – what does matter is the election has been called and we can start moving Bermuda in a better direction. It’s about moving this country forward.

“We will be the next Government – the country is ready for a new direction.”