Triumph: Michael Dunkley with wife Pamela and pals celebrating Monday’s election win for the OBA. *Photo by www.moongateproductions.com
Triumph: Michael Dunkley with wife Pamela and pals celebrating Monday’s election win for the OBA. *Photo by www.moongateproductions.com

FRIDAY, DEC. 21: While OBA supporters danced in the streets after Monday night’s historic win one couple slipped away into the darkness and watched the celebrations from a distant street corner.

Michael Dunkley and his wife, Pamela, soaked up the party atmosphere on Reid Street for a short while before heading down to Front Street to witness more joyful scenes.

He told the Sun: “We wanted to take it all in from afar. It was pretty surreal to watch all these people dancing and singing outside the Vasco club.”

Mr Dunkley told the Sun he could not sleep when he got home.

Instead he spent the early hours of Tuesday morning in his study going over emails and responding to messages before he left for work at 6:30am.

When the OBA met again for the first time later that day he made a point of speaking to the candidates who had lost their seats to offer words of encouragement.

He said: “For me losing in 2007 really crushed me to my core.

“Within days of that election I was back up to Loyal Hill and I started canvassing again.

“I don’t like to lose and I did not want it to happen again.

“That’s why when we met up again on Tuesday I thought it would really important to speak to the young men and women who had not won and encourage them to get back on the horse.

“You get setbacks in politics but it is how you come back from them that counts.”

The OBA’s deputy leader added: “I have been on both sides of the equation.

“In 2003 I won my seat for a party that lost.

“In 2007 I lost for a party that lost. And this time I won for a party that won.

“I have seen reactions of all types from people over the years so I tried to speak to some of our people that lost and share my experiences. I told them to keep working hard and not be too discouraged.

“A lot of the candidates did incredibly well in constituencies that were supposed to be PLP strongholds and lost by just a few votes.”

Mr Dunkley said he had predicted an OBA victory by 19 seats to 17, but admitted he was surprised by some of the results.

He stayed at his polling station until it closed and then headed home to watch the results come in with his family.

He said: “This time, as opposed to 2007, I felt very comfortable.

“In 2007 people were still sussing me out and trying to work out whether I was genuine.

“This time I knew the people like they knew me.

“You can tell how things are looking at quite an early stage and I knew it was looking good for me.

“I had my family around me and we watched the counts come in on the websites and twitter accounts.”

At around 11pm Mr Dunkley headed into town with his wife in time for the final results.

He added: “There was just such a huge sense of pride and joy.

“We had run a really good campaign and we had fought and struggled together.

“And to realize that dream was a pretty amazing feeling.

“I spoke to Craig before we went across to Vasco and we shook hands.

“Then he said to me ‘the real work starts now’. We went across the road and it was just a madhouse of people cheering and shouting and wanting to hug you.

“It was an experience I will not forget.”