MONDAY, APRIL 9: Controversial former Government race relations adviser Rolfe Commissiong was today officially endorsed as the PLP candidate for Pembroke South East.
Mr Commissiong unseated sitting MP Ashfield DeVent in a primary last year — but senior branch officials caused a row when a leaked e-mail branded Mr Commissiong “unelectable”.
Mr DeVent said today that he had not ruled out running against Mr Commissiong as an Independent candidate.
He added: “I have received numerous calls from people encouraging me to run again, from within the constituency and across the country.
“I have received a lot of calls saying the same thing today. I haven’t ruled it out.”
Mr Commissiong said: “As a man of faith, I value the principles that I and the Progressive Labour Party stand for — the values and principles that honour the redemptive qualities found in us all, the values and principles that compel us to live our lives with integrity, recognizing the unlimited potential of God’s grace upon us.”
He added he had already hit the streets of the constituency, listened to their concerns and spoken to the relevant Government ministers to have problems dealt with.
Mr Commissiong said: “All Bermudians want safe neighbourhoods, good schools for their children and grandchildren, decent jobs that afford them a livable wage that will allow them to save and invest in the future and a society that promotes opportunity and a fair shot for all to obtain it. The constituents of Pembroke South East are no different.”
He added: “I look forward to taking our strong progressive message of the PLP to every household in Constituency 21 over the coming months with the aim of retaining this seat for the Progressive Labour Party at the next General Election.”
The Bermuda Sun exclusively revealed last September that Mr Commissiong had been axed from the candidate ballot by PLP branch bosses — but reinstated at the eleventh hour after party chiefs insisted that he be put back on the list.
And branch chairman Dr Kyjuan Brown told Premier Paula Cox that the branch executive would not support Mr Commissiong as a candidate.
The Bermuda Sun, however, understands that voter surveys show that Mr Commissiong is polling well in the constituency.
Mr Commissiong has stood for the PLP on previous occasions — but in seats that were bastions of the then-UBP.
Mr DeVent took 67.6 per cent of the vote in 2007 against UBP challenger Tillman Darrell, who got less than half that percentage with 32.4 per cent (526 votes to 252).