Michael Dunkley, left, and Thad Hollis *File photo
Michael Dunkley, left, and Thad Hollis *File photo

Premier Michael Dunkley last night backed his party to bounce back stronger after the resignation of its chairman.

While admitting he was surprised by Thad Hollis’s decision to step down on Monday, the OBA’s acting leader told the Bermuda Sun he still has full confidence in his party and his team.

Mr Hollis’s resignation came just a few days after he released his findings of an investigation into a $350,000 donation that was provided by US businessmen to the OBA’s ‘grass roots’ election campaign.

The report highlighted areas of concern around the setting up of the account which the money was sent to because it did not follow party protocol. But it is unclear exactly what role the report played in his decision to step down from the chairman’s role. Efforts to contact Mr Hollis in the wake of his resignation have been unsuccessful and the reasons for his decision have not been made public.

Asked if Mr Hollis’s resignation reflected badly on his party, Mr Dunkley said: “Everyone is going to have their own view on that.

“Mr Hollis and I have always had a good and open relationship. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him ; anyone who volunteers their time in the way he did deserves respect.

“I was surprised by his resignation. Of course you don’t want to see someone resign. But when one door closes another one opens and I have full confidence in my party.

“The OBA is a diverse, keen and interested group of people and we have plenty of depth.

“And I am very confident that we have a number of people that will step forward.”

Mr Hollis’s departure means Deputy Chair and MP Susan Jackson will take over as  acting Chairman. Karen Magnum will continue in her role as Deputy Chairman. 

This arrangement will continue until the party’s Annual General Meeting on September 29, when a Party Leader, Deputy Leader and Party Chairman will be elected.

Mr Dunkley added: “With voluntary positions in party politics comes a great deal of pressure.

“And it is disappointing that this took place. But I am confident we will move forward and the party will be better and stronger because of this event.”