OBA Chair Lynne Woolridge made the announcement on Thursday night, adding that the party’s three senators and shadow cabinet would be announced “in due course”.
“Our team will hold the new government to account and ensure they are working in the best interests of all Bermudians.”
Gordon-Pamplin’s younger sister Pamela — who was later made a dame — became Bermuda’s first female premier in 1997 under the now defunct United Bermuda Party (UBP) but the following year the UBP, which had run the country for 30 years following the introduction of party politics here in 1968, was ousted by the PLP.
The sisters are daughters of charismatic Trinidad and Tobago-born Dr Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon, a physician, parliamentarian, civil rights activist and labour leader after coming to Bermuda, where he is widely regarded as the father of trade unionism. He died here in 1955 aged 60 and was posthumously named as one of the island’s national heroes.
Michael Dunkley, the former premier, resigned as leader the day after the OBA lost to the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) by 24 seats to 12 in a landslide that saw almost 60 per cent of voters plump for the former opposition party. He narrowly held on to his Smith’s North seat.
Dunkley’s former deputy and Finance Minister, Bob Richards, announced his retirement from politics after losing his Devonshire East seat to PLP newcomer Christopher Famous in the election’s biggest upset.
The OBA had wrested power from the PLP in the December 2012 general election, winning by 19 seats to 17, but voters deserted them in droves this time despite an opinion poll giving the OBA an 11-point lead on the eve of the election.
Bermuda’s 65,000 population is 55 per cent black, 35 per cent white with others making up the final 10 per cent.
After stepping down on Wednesday, Dunkley said Bermuda’s racial divide remained the “big issue in the room”.
He said there is “much work to do and progress to be made” on how to close the divide in the country so that all may “live and work together”.
“Are we going to continue to divide our country on race or work together for a better and stronger Bermuda?” he asked.
While proud of the progress made by the OBA since being elected in 2012, he said Tuesday’s result clearly showed the party’s efforts were not enough.
His decision to step down as leader of the party was to “clear the decks” to help the party assess what comes next, he said.
Richards, the party’s new interim deputy leader, said earlier this week that the OBA did “what we had to do to rescue the economy”, but added: “The bottom line is the OBA lost touch with black Bermudians.”
Leah Scott, another OBA MP who retained her seat on Tuesday, said the PLP victory spoke volumes and the party would need to do some “soul-searching” and redouble efforts to listen to the community.
“They (voters) rejected the OBA and the decided, very rightly, that it wasn’t what they signed up for in 2012.”
- Countries: Bermuda