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BERMUDA-Voters go to polls in Warwick South Central by-election

  • Written by Ivan Clifford
  • Published in Politics
Former Opposition Leader Marc Bean who retired last month is to be replaced by today's By election Former Opposition Leader Marc Bean who retired last month is to be replaced by today's By election
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Dec 20, CMC — Fine weather greeted voters on Tuesday as they broke off from Christmas shopping to cast their ballots in a by-election in Warwick South Central following the retirement last month of former Opposition Leader Marc Bean.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. (local time) and will close 12 hours later in what has traditionally been a stronghold of the main opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP).

The opposition party’s Neville Tyrrell, 67, a former Bermuda Football Association president, is the odds-on favourite to defeat his two rivals — Robyn Swan of the ruling One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) and David William Burch, an independent — and retain the seat for the PLP.

The PLP has retained seats in two other by-elections — both also caused by retirements — since it was ousted from power by the OBA in the 2012 general election.

ballot boxThe OBA squeaked in by two seats — 19 to 17 — on that occasion but had its wafer-thin majority reduced earlier this year when former Tourism and Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell quit the party over his disenchantment with the way Premier Michael Dunkley is running the country. Crockwell nows sits in the House of Assembly as an independent.

Tyrrell is making his fourth attempt to win a seat in the House, having run unsuccessfully three times in Devonshire East going back to 2003.

“I’d like to think I can bring a sense of maturity,” Tyrrell said on the eve of polling, adding “I have a lot of varied experience, which gives me the opportunity speak to the issues based on experience.

“We as a party have the interests of the people very much at heart. I’m grass roots; I ran football for a long time, and football is grass roots. I understand what people feel.”

Robyn Swan’s eight years as a prison officer have had a deep influence on her political views but her goals for the constituency reflected concerns she has heard on the doorstep.

Medical costs for seniors are a top issue, she said.

“People are deciding between their medicine and their food — that’s insane,” Swan, 36, said. “Our seniors are a gold mine that we’re not tapping into. We must protect them.”

Declaring himself “an agent for change”, Burch said he sees himself as a champion for people fed up with the status quo.

“I’ve always been an independent-minded person, and I can’t see party politics doing anything for this country,” said Burch, 71, who calls Warwick “my territory, where I was born and raised”.

Burch is a veteran undaunted by past losses, having run unsuccessfully as an independent in Warwick West in 1993 and in Warwick South East in 2012.

Bean, 42, called it a day after suffering a stroke nine months ago. He had led the PLP since the last election when former Premier Paula Cox lost her seat in the House. He has been succeeded as Opposition Leader by David Burt.

The last by-election in Warwick South Central in 2010 was also a three-way affair with Bean easily winning the seat after former Premier Ewart Brown stepped down.

Last modified onTuesday, 20 December 2016 09:30
  • Countries: Bermuda