Election fever: MP Zane DeSilva, second right, was among the first to arrive to ‘support the PLP family’. *Photo by Sirkka Huish
Election fever: MP Zane DeSilva, second right, was among the first to arrive to ‘support the PLP family’. *Photo by Sirkka Huish
Devonshire Recreation Club was transformed into a sea of green last night as hundreds of the PLP faithful played their part in history.

A steady stream of party delegates, MPs and members pulled into the car park from about 3:45pm.

From shirts and ties to dresses and scarves, green was the colour of choice.

There was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air as everyone waited to find out who would become the next party leader and Premier of Bermuda.

People of all ages headed straight to the PLP’s tented area, to the left of the main yellow building.

Delegates

PLP identification cards had to be waved at the security guards before people were allowed in, although one was overheard saying: “I can see some green, you’re straight.”

Members were immediately sent to an upstairs room, while delegates were pointed towards the green and white registration tent.

Each delegate was handed a green wristband as they grabbed a coffee and headed into the building for the secret ballot.

MP Zane DeSilva was among the first to arrive at 4pm on the dot. He was there to support “the PLP family” and felt “pretty good” about the night ahead.

Herbert Francis, a PLP member, said there was standing room only in the upstairs room. He had got there early to get a seat.

He added: “Lots of people wanted to come and see the new Premier being announced. Even though we can’t vote, we can still listen in on what is happening and know the result first.”

Mr. Francis was previously a party delegate but said he decided “to leave it to the young ones this year”. He added that this was the first year delegates and members had been separated to “create more space”.

Volunteers could be seen stocking up the food tent with the staple diet of ham, cheese and cucumber sandwiches and cookies.

By about 4.45pm the Devonshire Rec car park was full and drivers were instructed to park on the football pitch. PLP whip Lovitta Foggo walked in while chatting away on her cellphone, closely followed by Wayne Furbert, who made his political allegiance clear.

The former UBP leader was dressed in a green suit with a green tie and said he was “just on the phone to Obama to see how it was working out”.

Minister Derrick Burgess simply gave the media a nod of his head, while you could not miss Randy Horton in his brightly coloured Bermuda shorts.

Dennis Lister, brother of contender Terry, took time to chat to the media and pose for photos.

Michael Scott and Dame Jennifer Smith arrived together and were all smiles as they rushed through the gates.

But it was the three Premiership contenders everyone wanted to see and each of them took time to speak to the media.

Deputy Premier Paula Cox was the first to arrive at 5pm. She was on her own in a taxi wearing a long blue dress, matching shoes and a splash of PLP colour with a green and yellow scarf on her shoulder.

She looked quietly confident but admitted she “wasn’t taking anything for granted”.

Next to arrive was Dale Butler, who pulled up on his bike at about 5:25pm. Dressed in a black suit, he fixed his bright red tie, combed his hair then stopped to shake the hands of supporters before walking in.

Mr. Butler put on a sailor hat and joked that he was “the captain of the ship”.

Moments later Terry Lister arrived with his wife. He was dressed in a grey pinstriped suit with a green shirt and a green paisley tie.

Official business started shortly after 5:30pm, with the speeches loud enough to be heard from outside.

As the rally cry of “PLP all the way” was said, Senator Kim Wilson, dressed in her party colours, could be seen rushing in to get her seat.

Drinkers

Those who were hanging around tried to move closer to the building to listen to what was going on.

But next door in the Devonshire Rec bar, most of the drinkers did not seem to care that the island’s future was being decided on.

“We’re just socializing having a few beers,” one man said, while another said: “It’s just like any other night for us.”

Another man, who did not want to be named, said: “It doesn’t bother me that it’s happening tonight. I hope they pick the right leader but they seem to be making a big fuss about it.”

Only David Martin, who described himself as “PLP through and through”, said he headed to the bar especially for the occasion.

He added: “This is my party, I’m strictly PLP.

“Anyone in their right mind would want to be here — it’s part of history, I wanted to see it.”