Gordon-Pamplin calls time as an MP

  • Patricia Gordon-Pamplin (Photograph supplied)
  • Jarion Richardson (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Catherine Kempe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Another One Bermuda Alliance veteran is to step away from politics, it was revealed yesterday.

Patricia Gordon-Pamplin has stood down from Paget West in favour of Jarion Richardson, who sat in the Senate for the OBA in the last Parliament.

Catherine Kempe, the party’s deputy chairwoman, will take on Wayne Caines, of the Progressive Labour Party, in Devonshire North West.

Craig Cannonier, the OBA leader, said: “Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, whom we lovingly refer to as Pat, has served Bermuda well for many, many years.

“She has been a minister, shadow minister and Opposition leader, and we can’t say enough about her continued commitment to the cause of creating a better Bermuda.”

He added: “I give her all the accolades, all the support, and thank her for representing the OBA in Constituency 23.”

Mr Cannonier hit out at David Burt for calling the election in “the middle of a pandemic” and highlighted the PLP’s substantial majority in Parliament.

He added: “That’s not leadership, guys. That’s mobilising your troops for your own personal power trip.”

Mr Cannonier also revealed that an unnamed OBA candidate had attended a function where one of the guests later tested positive for Covid-19.

He said: “Now that candidate has to be quarantined and can’t go out.”

Mr Cannonier said the OBA was soon to lay out its social and economic plan to kick-start the island’s economy.

The OBA leader called the party’s latest two election contenders “more great candidates to add to the new team I have assembled”.

“Catherine Kempe is a health professional and the OBA deputy chair and will be representing Constituency 14.

“Jarion Richardson is a successful businessman, a former police officer, journalist and member of the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

“He will be representing Constituency 23.”

Ms Kempe will fight to fill the seat held by Mr Caines, a PLP backbencher and former Minister of National Security, in the last Parliament.

Mr Caines took 568 votes in the 2017 General Election.

He defeated the OBA’s Glen Smith, who took 385 votes, and independent candidate Paula Cox, who secured 41 votes.

Ms Gordon-Pamplin held Paget West with 645 votes in the election three years ago, compared with 317 for the PLP’s Emily-Gail Dill.

Ms Kempe said she aimed to “work on increasing the number of women in politics”.

She praised the work of female professionals in the Government’s response to the pandemic, but said the “wonder women” at home had supported their families over the stress of the lockdown.

Ms Kempe said women could “no longer sit on the sidelines and allow some men of the House of Assembly to make public derogatory comments about women as so-called jokes”.

She added: “They may have seemed in jest to some, but were derogatory to all women.”

Ms Kempe highlighted remarks made by Mr Caines in September 2018, when he posted footage online in which he asked a woman server in a London cereal café for “titty milk”.

She said the comments were “uncalled for” and insisted they were “condoned by the Premier”.

Ms Kempe said a “culture of toxic masculinity” should no longer be tolerated.

She added: “Women represent 52 per cent of the population, but we do not enjoy anywhere near the same level of representation in the House.”

Mr Richardson said he had been “humbled” by Ms Gordon-Pamplin’s “kind words and support”.

He outlined his service with “truly selfless police officers” and said he had been “privileged to serve in the Royal Bermuda Regiment and represent Bermuda in overseas training exercises”.

Mr Richardson said he had enjoyed helping children as an RBR medic in Jamaica and that his early career as a reporter had given him “an education in civil society second to none”.

He added: “I was trusted enough to be of service and here again, I’m asking for trust.

“We face a calamitous future, full of uncertainty and, no doubt, suffering.

“We didn’t get here quickly or suddenly, but rather over time, almost without notice.”

He emphasised the importance of character and said the next election was “not about the issues that we can see, feel and discuss — it’s about the degeneration that led to our issues”.

Mr Richardson also credited Scott Pearman, of the OBA, for encouraging him to stand as a candidate.

He added: “Things are not getting better — what are we going to do about it?”

Mr Cannonier said the PLP lacked an economic plan and said the OBA had a record of attracting investment to the island during its administration.

He said the America’s Cup, held in Bermuda in 2017, was “the greatest sporting event in the world” and that it was essential to get “more people back in the island”.