Vying for the top job: Terry Lister. *File photo
Vying for the top job: Terry Lister. *File photo
“The country is in crisis and I’m the man to dig us out.”

That will be Terry Lister’s last pitch to delegates as he asks them to make him Bermuda’s Premier at next week’s PLP conference.

A long and public campaign from Mr Lister, however, does not seem to have altered the long-held impression that Finance Minister Paula Cox is the heir apparent to Dr. Ewart Brown.

Dale Butler’s campaign has been dismissed by party insiders as half-hearted and haphazard compared to the other two candidates.

And party sources firmly believe Mrs Cox, who has done all her campaigning at branch level and is still not talking to the media, will win by a substantial margin at next Thursday’s vote.

Mr Lister is not convinced.

He believes he has done enough to persuade the party faithful that a change to the status quo is required: “I’m confident of victory,” he said yesterday.

“I am not aware of any of my supporters who have jumped ship, but every day I speak to the delegates one more promises their support…

“I’m asking them to vote for the person who can bring us out of crisis. If you don’t believe this is a crisis, if you think Bermuda is in great shape then by all means ignore everything I say.”

Mr. Lister has run an energetic campaign. In eight weeks of public Town Hall meetings followed by more than a month of direct campaigning to delegates at all 36 constituency branches, he has clearly set out his stall.

But some PLP sources feel such a public campaign may count against him in his own party.

“Ms Cox has focused like a laser on the branches and the delegates,” we were told. “That’s who she has campaigning to.

“Terry’s campaign has been kind of odd. Look at it this way — If you were running for election in Somerset would you spend most of your time campaigning in Warwick?

“Terry went to the public first and I think some of the party members may resent that. They may feel they were an afterthought.”

But even critics accept that Mr. Lister has come up with coherent plans and clear policies.

“But they feel he has simply not persuaded people to vote for him,” a PLP source said.

“Paula Cox has played the game better. She’s campaigned to the right people — the party stalwarts. The Cox-brand is pretty strong with them. They know her, they trust her and they like her.

“You can have as many ten-point plans as you like but if people don’t have that feeling for you, they’re not going to vote for you.”

Lister: I can put Bermuda back on its feet