Man of the hour: Michael Dunkley addressed the media as he emerged as Bermuda’s new Premier on Monday. *Photo by Glenn Tucker
Man of the hour: Michael Dunkley addressed the media as he emerged as Bermuda’s new Premier on Monday. *Photo by Glenn Tucker

Seven years ago Michael Dunkley was defeated in the Smith’s North constituency election by Patrice Minors.

It was a huge upset for his former party, the UBP, and as Mr Dunkley told the Bermuda Sun in 2012, the defeat “crushed me to my core”.

But today he is Premier of Bermuda, having taken the reins following the resignation of Craig Cannonier amid a storm of JetGate allegations, in a remarkable turnaround of political fortunes.

Whether he can cast off the shadow of his old party and unite a wounded OBA remains to be seen.

But what is clear from his political career is that he is a popular local MP and many admire his tireless work ethic.

Mr Dunkley is also likely to be the first Premier of Bermuda adept at using social media to converse, inform and occasionally poke fun.

Facebook savvy

Within minutes of assuming the Premiership he had posted the following message to his Facebook and Twitter profiles: “Bermuda I look forward to working with you and for you. So much to do but we have a great team. Let’s roll up the sleeves and get to it.”

And yesterday morning after being sworn in as Premier he responded to a Bermemes quip about what kind of milk he would be drinking by tweeting  “skim milk all day!”

Mr Dunkley’s appointment as Premier comes just days after he had announced that Mr Cannonier had his full support.

The fact was not lost on some of his political opponents who described the move as a ‘kiss of death’  for Mr Cannonier, claiming Mr Dunkley had made similar  statements of support before the resignations of Wayne Furbert and Kim Swan.

But a day is a long time in politics and just hours after Mr Cannonier stepped down, his deputy had stepped up with the overwhelming support of his party.

Mr Dunkley will need all his political experience to get the OBA wagon rolling again after the resignation of Mr Cannonier.

And the 55-year-old father-of-two quickly addressed the issue of ‘trust’ in his typical, no- nonsense way after being sworn in as Premier.

Asked what he could do to rebuild the public’s trust in Government, he said: “Be open and transparent and that’s what I intend to do. It’s easy to field the very easy questions, but those difficult questions, I will ask my colleagues to step forward with those answers. You might not like the answers you get.

“No one is going to be comfortable with some of our decisions moving forward. We were elected to lead, we’ll have to lead.”

Mr Dunkley entered into politics in 1997 and was elected to the House of Assembly as a UBP MP.

He has held several shadow ministerial portfolios in his Parliamentary career as both an MP and a Senator. The keen sportsman is recognized islandwide as the boss of Dunkley’s Dairy. 


 

Quotable: Dunkley’s own words

• “Politics is full of twisting turns in the road and I have every faith in the colleagues we have in our team. We’ll face the good times together. We’ll face the bad times together and we’ll be open and transparent.”

— On becoming Premier 


• 
“You are dragging your country down into the mud.  And in order to do it, you are driving a dagger into the heart of Bermuda and its efforts to get back on track economically and socially.“

— A recent BDA Sun column on Opposition Leader Marc Bean


• 
“Hey… Starling, Kim Swan and Cindy Swan were talking to ZBM on camera for about 10 mins and I thought to myself what a f***ing  waste of time.”

— February, 2014 Mr Dunkley recorded saying this to a colleague in the House of Assembly. He later apologized


• 
“We are still committed to end conscription in Bermuda.”

— BDA Sun interview, October 2013. Conscription continues


• 
”I will not challenge Craig Cannonier now, or after the election. Is that clear? I take great offence to that (suggestion). We are very, very close.”

— Press conference November 2012



JetGate Special report

JetGate: How the axe fell

Will The Milkman deliver?

Bermuda loses face in DC

Swan: ‘Resurrect the referendum’

OBA probe still on

Who is Derrick Green and what’s his role?

OBA MPs rally around new leader

‘More naivete than corruption’

Premiers' short reigns

Viewpoint: What is your reaction to the Premier resigning?

Opinion

Cannonier saw a god in the mirror

Has the ‘surrogate’ been replaced by the real Papa Bear?

Cannonier was steering us to recovery

More heads must roll to restore faith in the OBA

Bermuda Blue: Are we witnessing return of the UBP?