Burt, who had been Bean’s deputy, polled 39 votes to his opponent Dennis Lister’s 35 at a special PLP delegates’ meeting at the Devonshire Recreation Club following an eventful day.
After his victory, Burt told the media he was “gratified and humbled” by the trust put in him.
He is expected to be sworn in shortly as the new Opposition Leader in this British Overseas Territory. He recently quit his post as shadow Finance Minister in a move seen as a bid to run for the party leadership.
In his speech to delegates, Burt — the son of a Bermudian father and Jamaican mother — stressed the importance of unity for the party to succeed, along with maturity and patience.
He also stressed the importance of improving the public education system.
Lister, seen as a party moderate, told delegates “the fight is not in this room. The fight is to kick the OBA (One Bermuda Alliance) out.”
Bean, 42, who had been party leader since the PLP was ousted from power at the last general election in December 2012, sparked surprise when he announced his retirement from politics last Friday. He had been on medical leave since suffering a stroke in March.
Divisions in the party became highly public last December when seven MPs left Bean’s shadow cabinet. Bu when he announced his retirement, Bean said his “conscience is clear”.
The next general election is due in just over’s a year’s time.
Burt was appointed a senator as well as Junior Minister of Finance and Environment Planning and Infrastructure Strategy in November 2010. Under Cox, Burt served as chief of staff and was party chairman between 2006 and 2009.
Meanwhile, there was more party upheaval on Monday when the PLP’s Senate Leader Marc Daniels resigned from the Upper House, citing “subterfuge and deceit” against Bean.
The PLP responded to Daniels’ outburst by commending him for four years of service, which included most of this current year as Senate Leader.
“Senator Daniels represented us remarkably in the Senate with his PLP counterparts, debating legislation, holding the government to account, and standing strong for the Bermudian people,” a statement added.
“His contributions helped to make the PLP Senate team a force to be reckoned with, and he was able to connect with and inspire many during his tenure.”
It followed the posting of a hard-hitting statement on Daniels’ social media site, which accused rebel opposition MPs, along with Burt, of engaging in concerted “deceit” against Bean.
Daniels railed against dissenters within the PLP ranks, ranging from the leaking of details to the media and what he termed a campaign to depose the former leader.
Daniels, a lawyer, expressed shock at Bean’s resignation, noting that the former leader had trusted him, with just over one year’s experience in the Senate, to stand as leader.
He called Bean a “political ally, a critic, a mentor and most of all friend”.
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