WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 2: Just seven of the PLP ‘Class of ‘98’ are likely to contest the next General Election.

The PLP first won power with 24 MPs, but as the party freshens its faces for the challenge of the next election, several veterans have retired or been deselected.

The 1998 veterans still serving are led by Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox and Deputy Premier and Public Works Minister Derrick Burgess.

Dame Jennifer Smith, who led the party to victory in 1998, remains as Education Minister and will contest her St George’s North seat again, while erstwhile Transport Minister Terry Lister will continue as a candidate in Sandys South.

Backbenchers Dale Butler, Randy Horton and Dennis Lister are also all set to fight their existing seats at the next General Election. Among the high-profile casualties of the primary process are National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief. His Pembroke Central seat will be contested by ex-PLP Senator and political pundit Walton Brown.

Erstwhile Minister of Government Estates and Information Services Neletha Butterfield lost out in Pembroke West Central to rising star Senator David Burt.

Among those who retired and were replaced by a new candidate are Warwick North Central MP El James, whose seat will be contested by former Senator Col. David Burch.

Speaker of the House Stanley Lowe, who is to retire, was replaced as candidate in his Southampton East seat by Health Minister Zane DeSilva, who has moved to a safer seat from neighbouring Southampton East Central.

Former Premier Alex Scott is also to retire from his Warwick South East seat, passing the torch to son Lawrence.

PLP veteran Walter Lister, an MP since 1976, is to be replaced as candidate in Sandys South Central by Government Senator and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Kim Wilson.

Since the 2007 election, Class of ‘98 member and former Premier Ewart Brown stood down last year after being replaced by Paula Cox.

Pembroke East Central MP Nelson Bascome, Health Minister in the first PLP Government, died of a heart attack while on holiday in the US in 2009.

The PLP’s first Minister of Finance Eugene Cox — father of current Premier Paula Cox — died in 2004, while Dame Lois Browne Evans, the PLP’s first Attorney General, retired from the House in 2003. She died in 2007.

Tourism Minister David Allen died in office in 2002.

Former Government Minister Renee Webb quit politics before the 2007 General Election, while former St George’s North MP Deleay Robinson left the political arena after fighting and losing in the then-UBP stronghold of Paget East in 2003. Other 1998-vintage MPs no longer serving are Reginald Burrows, who was first elected to Parliament in 1968; Arthur Pitcher; the late Rev. Wilbur Lowe; former Government Minister Arthur Hodgson, former BIU leader Ottiwell Simmons and backbencher Stanley Morton.