FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30: The ruling Progressive Labour Party is locked in a battle between youth and experience — and it could cost them the next General Election, a party insider warned last night.

The insider said the sea change in the face of the party plus an electoral bounce for the new One Bermuda Alliance, which has edged ahead in a poll, could cost the PLP its majority.

He added: “The selection process for candidates is changing the public face of the PLP, weakening the strength in strongholds and possibly giving up marginals.

“The process is working to the detriment of the PLP as well as creating internal animosities and confusion.

“It’s a very dangerous move by Premier Paula Cox to have introduced this system this way. It could have been much better handled if she had taken counsel from more senior party members.

“There is without doubt a move for younger members to take over from older ones — younger does not necessarily mean less competent, but for the most part, the older ones in the party do have more experience. I see a coalescing of the older members as a result of this assault by younger members of the party. The feeling among the older ones is that they have worked very hard to capture constituencies.

“They now feel the younger folk who haven’t put in the effort are coming in to reap the benefits.

That’s not sitting well with some of them.

“Lots of people believe Paula may have set in motion a monster she won’t be able to control.”

And the insider predicted: “The next election will be a very different one from the election which took place in 2007.

“The PLP realizes it has a fight on its hands – they have reason to worry here.”

Error

The insider added that poll results showed that the OBA bid to shed the “legacy label” of the former UBP appeared to be working to some extent – although he said it had a long way to go before the party could shake off the association.

He said: “Given what I have been picking up in the last few days and allowing for a margin of error in polls, it makes things pretty close.

“The next election could be as close as 18-18, or the two parties may be separated by only one or two seats.”

Former PLP Premier Alex Scott, who is standing down in Warwick South East, said: “I can understand some senior members being a bit wary of the process, but in the final analysis, Parliament isn’t the only place we can serve.

Arguments

“I can see the arguments on both sides — those who say this can mean those who have given valuable service are being cast aside, but I think Dame Lois Browne Evans and former party leader Freddie Wade believed there is a lot of wisdom in the people and in the vote. If it’s a healthy and honest voting arrangement, then the voices of the people should always be the ones we yield to.”