Premier Craig Cannonier *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Premier Craig Cannonier *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, JANUARY 4: It’s all change at the top of Bermuda politics, with a new OBA Cabinet and the PLP forming a Shadow Cabinet while coming to terms with the loss of experienced MPs like former Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox and ex-Education Minister and one-time Premier Dame Jennifer Smith. Here’s a snapshot of the political figures who’ll be leading debates when Parliament reconvenes next month.

 

In charge: Premier Craig Cannonier (right). A relative newcomer, he came to the OBA via the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Alliance (BDA) and became an MP just last year. Undeniably charismatic and outgoing, his political inexperience could be minimized by a Cabinet that includes several political veterans plus new faces.

 

Minister of Finance

Bob Richards was pipped at the post for the OBA leadership in a two horse race with Craig Cannonier. But finance is the forte for the successful businessman and party heavyweight and his role will be crucial in turning the economy round and cutting the national debt.

 




Economic Development

Grant Gibbons is seen by supporters as an ideal fit. Rated as a highly competent Minister of Finance in the last UBP government, he’s another prominent businessman with his finger on the pulse and will be expected to play a major part in increasing the number of jobs available.

 




Tourism & Transport

Shawn Crockwell has much to deliver as tourism continues to falter. He will be tasked with ensuring hotel development to boost the island’s attractiveness to visitors and will also handle the sometimes difficult Transport portfolio.

 



Attorney General

Another ex-BDA MP, Mark Pettingill — one of the island’s best-known defence lawyers — is another heavyweight who doesn’t pull his punches. He has already pledged to be a “hands-on” AG and expects to appear in court regularly.




 

Public Safety

Former Senator and Shadow National Security Minister Michael Dunkley continues the same role with a different title. He faces the difficult job of tackling gun crime as a priority, but polling suggests the former UBP leader and Minister is reckoned to be a safe pair of hands.

 






Home Affairs

Senator Michael Fahy will be charged with making immigration policy more attractive to those considering a Bermuda base — while protecting jobs for Bermudians. He will also lead the Senate team and speak on Finance and Economic Development.

 

Education

Senator Nalton Brangman is one of the few Ministers who did not stand as a Parliamentary candidate. But the former chairman of the National Training Board and chairman of Bermuda College is well-placed to tackle education, a crucial plank in preparing Bermudians for the challenges of the future.


 

Environment & Planning

Former PLP supporter Sylvan Richards stood unsuccessfully for the BDA in the 2010 Warwick South Central by-election and later joined the OBA. A successful businessman and reinsurance casualty specialist, he balances his international business experience with community service, through YouthNet.

 


Community & Cultural Development

The former 2007 UBP parliamentary candidate Wayne Scott is a first-time MP and has a background in management and interests in community-driven education and employment initiatives. His remit will include social services.

 



Public Works

Trevor Moniz: Another ex-UBP veteran, the former Shadow Attorney General has a new portfolio to come to grips with, and his remit will include housing.

 




Health & Seniors

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has years of political -experience with the UBP to bring to her new role as the island deals with the rising cost of healthcare and an ageing population.

 




Min. without Portfolio

A first-time MP, Leah Scott brings a track record as corporate secretary/legal counsel to an international trust company and community involvement through the Sunshine League.

 





The Shadow Cabinet

Opposition Leader Marc Bean put five newcomers into Shadow Cabinet posts.

Finance: Former Senator and Cabinet Office chief of staff David Burt, who spoke on Finance in the Upper House, will be Shadow Finance Minister in the House of Assembly.

Attorney General and Legal Affairs: Another first-time MP, Kim Wilson has a wealth of experience in the Senate and held the Attorney General/Minister of Justice portfolio in the last PLP Cabinet.

Education: House of Assembly newcomer, Walton Brown will take on the portfolio formerly held by Dame Jennifer Smith.

Transport: Warwick South East MP Lawrence Scott is the son of ex-Premier Alex Scott

Tourism: Wayne Furbert now shadows in the role he held as a minister.

Environment & Planning: Diallo Rabain, (see below).

Municipalities: Former Corporation of St George’s employee Renee Ming

Home Affairs: One of the big portfolios, taken by MP Walter Roban, who has served as a Government Minister previously.

Public Safety: Dealing with gun violence and crime falls to former Attorney General Michael Scott, who latterly served as Government Estates Minister.

Public Works: Deputy party leader Derrick Burgess takes the shadow role in a Ministry he once held under the PLP.

Economic & Social Development: Glenn Blakeney, a former Youth and Sports Minister, takes the role.

Health & Seniors: Zane DeSilva keeps the portfolio he held as a Minister in the last PLP administration, where he steered the FutureCare programme through the House.

Community & Cultural Development: Michael Weeks, a former Public Works Minister, previously held the Community Development Ministry.

Government Senate Leader

Michael Fahy, who is also Minister for Home Affairs with responsibility for labour relations and immigration, is a lawyer and served as an Opposition Senator 2008-09. He came to the OBA through the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Alliance and his behind-the-scenes role in the run-up to the election victory is regarded by insiders as invaluable. He will speak on Finance and Economic Development in the Upper House.

Senator & Education Minister: Nalton Brangman (see mini-profile above).

Senator & junior Public Safety Minister: Jeff Baron is seen by supporters as the best candidate not to have won a seat. He’s a former police officer who led a tactical response team as part of the UN peacekeeping force in war-torn Kosovo in Eastern Europe. Holds a Masters Degree in Criminology and graduated from the Senior Executives in National Security programme at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government. He will also speak on Legal Affairs.

Senator & spokeswoman on Environment & Planning & Community Development: Alexis Swan. A political newcomer and one of the youngest candidates for Parliament, with a background in service to the community. A medical administration auditor and account representative at an insurance company, she is committed to helping give the youth of the country a voice in politics.

Senator & junior Minister for Health and Seniors and Public Works: Lynne Woolridge. Another behind-the-scenes campaigner in the election campaign, Ms Woolridge is a successful businesswoman who holds a senior role with a major insurance firm. She served as a member of the OBA shadow board on health and as secretary of the party’s women’s caucus.

Opposition Senate Leader: Diallo Rabain. Appointed a Government Senator in November, 2011, he lost out in Hamilton South. Seen as a party high-flyer, he gave the keynote address at the PLP’s Founders’ Day event last year. A qualified electrical engineer, he later set up a land surveying and architectural drafting firm with two partners. A former Reserve police officer, he has served on the NTB. He will be shadow Minister of Environment & Planning.

Senator & Shadow Minister for Municipalities: Renee Ming. A former employee at the Corporation of St George with a background in local government and administration.

Senator & PLP spokesman for the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, Home Affairs, Public Safety and Tourism and Transport: Marc Daniels. A barrister and defence lawyer, he was not a General Election candidate, but might be expected to figure in the PLP’s plans for the future as they draft in new blood.

Note: Governor George Fergusson has yet to announce the three Independent Senators who are appointed by him, but there is unlikely to be any change from Carolanne Bassett, the Senate President, Vice-President Joan Dillas-Wright and James Jardine.