Hopeful smiles: Terry Lister and Dale Butler, seen here arriving at last night’s PLP conference. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Hopeful smiles: Terry Lister and Dale Butler, seen here arriving at last night’s PLP conference. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Terry Lister was gracious in defeat, saying Bermuda would go “from strength to strength” under its new leadership.

He walked out of Devonshire Recreation Club with his head held up shortly before 10pm last night.

Dale Butler was similarly upbeat, despite the disappointment of drawing just two votes from delegates.

Mr. Lister took the time to talk to the media and said even though he would have preferred to win, he remained optimistic about Bermuda’s future.

Mr. Lister had probably been the most confident of the three contenders as he fought to become the new PLP leader and premier of the country.

But on the night he barely got a look in as Paula Cox stormed to the top of the polls with 124 votes in the secret ballot. Mr. Lister came a distant second with 39 votes.

Derrick Burgess was voted in as the new Deputy Premier, with Mr. Lister coming second in that vote.

Mr. Lister said: “I am a little disappointed, but I want to congratulate the new Premier and Minister Burgess.

“I think the country will go from strength to strength and we’ll see a real change in direction.

“I’m very pleased for the country, obviously I would have preferred to win, but you can’t win every race.”

He added that the newly selected Premier and Deputy Premier would be “good for Bermuda”.

Mr. Lister, who left Cabinet in 2009 in the wake of the Uyghurs controversy, refused to speculate on what went wrong but said he was “very surprised” with the number of votes he got.

He said: “Sometimes you expect a much better showing but I will live with it and go forward.”

Mr. Lister fought a very public campaign with town hall meetings, meetings with the delegates and in-depth interviews with the media.

He also proudly wore his party’s colour on the night in a grey pin striped suit with a green shirt and tie.

Worked hard

He said: “I’ve worked very hard for a very long time, now it’s time to get some rest.”

MP Dale Butler had started the evening in buoyant mood, arriving with a captain’s hat perched on his head.

And even the disappointment of drawing just two votes in the leadership ballot was not enough to dampen his effervescent spirit.

Mr. Butler stood proudly outside the Devonshire Rec fielding questions from the media while the delegates swarmed around Paula Cox and Derrick Burgess.

He said: “I do not have a single regret.

“I think my speech was the best speech — but there must have been parts the delegates did not like. I told it like it was. I don’t know if it was too bold for the delegates — you would have to ask them.

“I feel like I was the only candidate who talked about sexual orientation, the homeless, health and social change — and the real issues.

“You have to speak from the heart and believe in what you are saying.”

The PLP backbencher would not rule out a position in Ms Cox’s Cabinet if he was asked — but said it would have to be the right ministry.

He added: “I have said before that I would not take education because that has already been so much of my life.

“I don’t want my whole life to be about education. I want new challenges and I want to look forward.”

There seemed no sign of bitterness in a man who had been let down by people who said they would nominate him for the deputy leadership.

He told the Sun: “I respect the decision of the delegates.

“I know in my heart I am disappointed but the delegates have the final say. I always put my constituents first and I will continue to do that and move forward.

“I have no ill feelings towards anyone in the party.”