Sweet Victory! Craig Cannonier savours his moment of triumph on Tuesday, flanked by his two rivals David Sullivan and Anthony Richardson. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Sweet Victory! Craig Cannonier savours his moment of triumph on Tuesday, flanked by his two rivals David Sullivan and Anthony Richardson. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1: OBA leader Craig Cannonier tonight romped home to become the official Leader of the Opposition.

Senator Cannonier was the clear winner in the one-time UBP safe seat of Devonshire South Central, which had been held by interim OBA leader John Barritt.

He said tonight: ‘I’m delighted – but I believe there’s a lot of work to be done and this is just the beginning.

“It’s a fantastic first election victory for the OBA. I look forward to representing Bermuda and to the OBA being that viable option for government.”

He added: “I always believed that getting out on the doorstep was going to be the key for this Alliance – we just pounded the pavement and we took nothing for granted and we took no one for granted.”

Sen. Cannonier took 504 votes (82.89 per cent), with the PLP’s Anthony Richardson a distant second with 75 votes (12.34 per cent). Independent candidate David Sullivan got 29 votes (4.77 per cent).

Mr Cannonier will now take his seat in the House of Assembly for the new Parliamentary term on Friday as Leader of the Opposition.

Sen. Cannonier, although elected leader of the new OBA, could not become Leader of the Opposition without a seat in the House of Assembly.

When Mr Barritt took the temporary post of leader pending an election, he promised to step down from his seat if the winner was not already an MP.

Mr Richardson said: “My theme was to knock on the doors, hear the concerns of voters and try to make a difference.  Many have said I’m an excellent candidate – the challenge was trying to change that into a vote for me. That didn’t happen – but I still ran a good campaign.”

Mr Sullivan said: “I’m not disappointed – the whole reason for me running was to raise awareness of the way political parties run constituencies. I’m very proud of the turnout and that’s told me a lot.”

Premier Paula Cox, who attended the vote with other PLP top figures like Attorney General Michael Scott and Environment Minister Walter Roban, was among the first to congratulate the new Leader of the Opposition.

She shook Mr Cannonier’s hand and told him: “I’ll see you in the House on Friday.”

Ms Cox told the Bermuda Sun:  “It wasn’t a surprise  - but the people need to be given a choice of credible candidates and we will continue to field strong, credible candidates in the future.

“Clearly, what we’ve seen is a two-horse race.”

Mr Cannonier refused to be drawn on who will replace him in the Senate, or who will take over from Sen. Kathy Michelmore, due to leave with her family for Australia at the end of the year.

But he said an announcement on the two new Opposition Senators would be made “soon.”

Mr Richardson declined to speculate on whether he would go into the Senate in place of LaVerne Furbert, who was axed on Monday.

He said: “Any appointments to the Senate are at the discretion of the Premier – we’ll leave that for the Premier to decide.”