Don’t let her quiet demeanour fool you, Paula Cox is a seasoned politician who has been inspired by PLP luminaries such as L. Frederick Wade. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Don’t let her quiet demeanour fool you, Paula Cox is a seasoned politician who has been inspired by PLP luminaries such as L. Frederick Wade. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Paula Cox’s premiership is well underway and she will enjoy an extended political honeymoon. 

Notwithstanding the criticism she has already received for her handling of the finance ministry,  it is going to be a lot harder to hurl political invective in her direction.

But those who consider her to be a pushover because of her quiet demeanour are sadly mistaken. Our new Premier is well seasoned when it comes to the affairs of state.

I first became aware of Paula  Cox as the young daughter  of  Eugene Cox, the Progressive  Labour Party government’s first  Finance  Minister.

The late PLP Leader L. Frederick Wade used to take young  PLP youth wingers on a political walkabout in his district, the old  Devonshire North  constituency.

Such  political  experiences  invariably ended up at the Cox’s  residency at the end of Vesey Street, Devonshire  where  our political education continued  at  the feet of Mr. Cox, who sat in his easy-chair,  acquainting us with  Bermuda’s history and political  struggle.

Political protegé

During those times we sat on the floor of the Cox’s living room  and  Paula Cox was the young lady who hovered just beyond  the circle  of our little  group.

Paula  Cox was destined to  play  an important political role in Bermuda; the seeds were sown at  very early  age, first from the influence of her father Mr. Cox  and then under such political  luminaries as Dame Lois Browne-Evans and L. Frederick  Wade.

One thing  was made abundantly clear through the results of the PLP’s 45th annual delegates’ conference was that no contender  can hope  to become leader without  taking into account the political and social roots of the Progressive Labour  Party.

Both Dale Butler and Terry  Lister  failed to make any great effort to  elicit the support of the labour movement, which is a key component  of the  PLP’s support base.

Both appear to have drawn political support outside of the PLP in their respective bids for the leadership.

Mr. Butler has been strongly  encouraged to join either the  United  Bermuda Party or the  Bermuda Democratic Party (BDA) which, having no links with  the labour movement can not be expected to be viewed as anything more  than a spin-off of its parent UBP.

Going back to the leadership vote, there  were at least two telling points  that showed which way the proceedings  of the night  were  going to go. The standing ovation that Paula Cox received  from the delegates at the end  of her ten minute speech (neither of the other two candidates got standing ovations); and the number of votes which were  given to  two of the younger MPs, Michael  Weeks and  Minister Roban, who together took away a lot of votes  that may have gone to MP Lister.  The significance of this is their links with young people, which bodes well for the future of the  PLP.