The Best of Both Worlds

Full comments on Craig Cannonier's election as leader of the OBA as reported in RG today below.

A quick point. The question put to me wasn't "was Craig the wiser choice" as Tim frames it in the article.

It was:

"What does this selection mean for the direction of the OBA and do you see Sen Cannonier's non-political background as a pro or a con?"

I will comment more this evening on my general observations, but it was a very tough choice, with Bob giving the speech of his career from where I listened. I wouldn't have had a problem with Bob as leader to be honest.

I think where Bob's case fell apart was that it didn't seem critical to have the OBA Finance Spokesperson also as leader just because Paula Cox is also Finance Minister, and is more likely a negative.

There's no question in the OBA - as far as I can tell - that he is the right guy for the Finance job, but there was a sentiment that to combine them is a mistake and Craig represented a break from the old political model.

Most OBA people I heard from didn't buy that, and felt that a combination of Cannonier with Richards in Finance was the best of both worlds.

So, full comments follow:

Political blogger and PLP critic Mr Dunleavy said: "Craig Cannonier's selection, with a massive turnout, serves as tangible evidence that the merger of the BDA and UBP has resulted in a group which is greater than the sum of its parts.

"He deserves credit for recognising that the UBP-BDA dynamic was unsustainable and unproductive and taking a leap of faith, launching a new party and competing for the leadership.

"I think he might have been surprised at the run for his money he got from Bob Richards whose political growth has been immense over the past year."

Mr Dunleavy said Sen Cannonier's greatest strength is his ability to communicate passionately and skilfully, and connect with people on an emotional level.

"He can speak with authenticity to the struggling middle and working class under the PLP in a way that the Opposition has struggled with over the years," said Mr Dunleavy.

"The Opposition since 1998 has been too much head and not enough heart. Craig should be able to strike a better balance.

"The large and energised turnout to select a new leadership team of Craig and Michael Dunkley combined with Bob in Finance will have got the PLP's attention, whether they'll admit it or not.

"Most significantly the result demonstrates that the OBA membership and leadership is leading from the front to deliver Bermuda from a 1960s political cold war into the modern era where we belong.

"Craig's lack of political background is an asset. He doesn't lack experience, he possesses real world experience. Real world experience, combined with credible political experience, is where Bermuda politics needs to go.

"The PLP's Parliamentary group has decades of political experience individually in some cases, and judging by where Bermuda finds itself today, career politicians hasn't served us well."

| More