Nandi Davis *Photo by Raymond Hainey
Nandi Davis *Photo by Raymond Hainey

FRIDAY, MARCH 9 UPDATE: OBA leader Craig Cannonier yesterday confirmed his party has a handful of key seats in its sights for the General Election.

He said: “We have already identified these marginals and we have a strategy moving forward – but at this point we wouldn’t name them because every constituency has to be contested.

“For us to single out some constituencies as opposed to others is doing the country an injustice.”

Political insiders, however, have already singled out seats across the island that both parties know it is vital to win.

Mr Cannonier was speaking as Nandi Davis was unveiled as the candidate for one key seat — St George’s West, held by UBP holdout Kim Swan.

Mr Swan held the seat for the UBP, most of whom have since joined the OBA, by 17 votes over PLP challenger Dean Foggo in 2007.

Other key seats for the OBA will include Southampton East Central, held for the PLP by Zane DeSilva with a majority of 48 at the last General Election.

Others are Hamilton West, where sitting MP Wayne Furbert won by 21 votes for the UBP before ending up on the PLP benches.

In the east, St David’s Lovitta Foggo will defend her majority of 90 against OBA challenger Gaylynne Cannonier, while the OBA will also be eying Dame Jennifer Smith’s majority of 25 in St George’s North.

Warwick North Central (maj. 117) is also seen as a key seat, along with Dale Butler’s Warwick North East (maj. 68) , while Patrice Minors in Smith’s North (maj. 92) is also a target.

The PLP, however, will also be looking at Donte Hunt’s St George’s South, held with a majority of 25 last time out and Hamilton South, won by the UBP’s Darius Tucker, who later opted to change sides.

A PLP insider said: “It’s not hard to work out the seats that everybody will be looking to win — but we’re confident and I think the OBA has a big hill to climb.”

Mr Cannonier added that a recent Profiles poll which showed the OBA on 39 per cent of the vote and the PLP on 30 per cent was heartening.

He said: “Some seats do conjure up more hope than others, but we’re going after all of them and to have strong representation in all of them.

“Bermuda is in a unique position in 2012 – people are looking at things differently and it’s up to us to build on that. Our polls show that we are making inroads, but there is a lot to do. We will contest every constituency from 1 to 36 going full force with all our candidates to make sure they get elected.”

But Mr Cannonier added: “I would expect some surprises – I believe Bermuda has matured. It’s up to the OBA to stand on our principles of integrity and transparency. That’s what we will do for Bermuda.”

The poll – revealed exclusively in last Friday’s Bermuda Sun – allowed for a margin of error of 5. 6 per cent, which could slash the OBA lead, or push it into a double-digit advantage.

It also showed that almost a quarter of those surveyed — 23 per cent — were still sitting on the fence.

Mr Cannonier said: “That’s why we have to go after every constituency strongly. There are some new boundaries, the number of houses have changed in some places and I believe Bermuda has moved beyond the way we voted in the past.”

Cordell Riley, of Profiles of Bermuda, agreed with PLP pundits that the large ‘undecided’ group were likely to be disenchanted PLP voters.

He added that what they decided on polling day would be “critical” in deciding who formed the next Government.

Scott Stewart, a guest house manager from Pembroke, was announced as the OBA candidate for Pembroke East.

Mr Stewart, like Ms Davis, a newcomer to politics, will face an uphill struggle in the rock solid PLP seat, which Walter Roban won with a huge majority in 2007.