Under-fire Atherden resigns as Opposition Leader

By Ivan Clifford

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 21, CMC – Jeanne Atherden,  has resigned as Bermuda’s Opposition Leader, with businessman Craig Cannonier likely to replace her and be sworn in early next week.

the embattled Atherden, 70, confirmed the news to One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) party members by e-mail on Friday afternoon.

“It was an honour to be elected and serve as the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance. Now, as I step down, it is important that all members’ voices are heard during our process of selecting our new leader and we stand together as one,” she wrote.

Jeanne Atherden (File Photo)

Her resignation comes in the wake of a vote of no confidence in her on Wednesday night, when eight of the party’s 11 Members of Parliament reportedly expressed their disapproval of her  leadership a little over 300 days since she won a three-way leadership fight in which Cannonier came last.

Governor John Rankin confirmed on Friday that a swearing-in ceremony for the new Opposition Leader will take place on Monday.

Party sources have suggested that Atherden’s probable successor, Cannonier, 55, could be sworn in at Government House, but he would need to go through a separate process to become leader of the OBA.

It is understood that until Cannonier, a former premier, is confirmed in the position, deputy leader Leah Scott will be the interim leader of the party.

Cannonier resigned as premier in 2014 after becoming embroiled in a controversy involving an American tycoon but was brought back into the cabinet a year later by his successor, Michael Dunkley.

The OBA was booted out of office in last year’s general election after just one term, as the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) was returned to power.

In her message, Atherden noted that during her time in office, she sought to rebuild the party after last summer’s crushing defeat and reconnect with the people of Bermuda.

“Although I am stepping down, the work that I identified is not yet done. We cannot especially now step back. We must all continue our efforts to unite the party and must all work towards common identified goals and not just sit back and leave it up to the faithful few or wait for things to fail. It is by harnessing our individual strengths that we make the party stronger.

“We must continue to develop an OBA that projects fairness and integrity, an OBA which promotes social and economic equality; an OBA which is inclusive and ensures the voices of women and our younger members are heard,” she said.

The outgoing opposition leader said these should not just be slogans.

“By our actions, we must demonstrate that we are prepared to sacrifice our individual agendas for the good of our principles and our country.

“We must show the community that we don’t represent, specific segments or biases but that we speak for all of Bermuda. We are One Bermuda,” she added.

Cannonier entered politics in 2009 as a candidate for the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Alliance (BDA) and became party leader in 2010.

The BDA later merged with most of the remaining United Bermuda Party (UBP) MPs to form the OBA in 2011 after the UBP, which had run the country for 30 years after the introduction of party politics here in 1968, was disbanded and Cannonier was elected party leader.

Cannonier became premier after the OBA ended 14 years of PLP rule by winning the 2012 general election.

But Cannonier stepped down less than two years later over a row dubbed Jetgate by the then opposition PLP over a 2013 trip he took to the United States in a private jet owned by American tycoon Nathan Landow, a would-be investor in Bermuda, although he denied any wrongdoing.

Police say an inquiry into Jetgate remains open

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Ivan Clifford

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 21, CMC – Jeanne Atherden,  has resigned as Bermuda’s Opposition Leader, with businessman Craig Cannonier likely to replace her and be sworn in early next week.

the embattled Atherden, 70, confirmed the news to One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) party members by e-mail on Friday afternoon.

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“It was an honour to be elected and serve as the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance. Now, as I step down, it is important that all members’ voices are heard during our process of selecting our new leader and we stand together as one,” she wrote.

Jeanne Atherden (File Photo)

Her resignation comes in the wake of a vote of no confidence in her on Wednesday night, when eight of the party’s 11 Members of Parliament reportedly expressed their disapproval of her  leadership a little over 300 days since she won a three-way leadership fight in which Cannonier came last.

Governor John Rankin confirmed on Friday that a swearing-in ceremony for the new Opposition Leader will take place on Monday.

Party sources have suggested that Atherden’s probable successor, Cannonier, 55, could be sworn in at Government House, but he would need to go through a separate process to become leader of the OBA.

It is understood that until Cannonier, a former premier, is confirmed in the position, deputy leader Leah Scott will be the interim leader of the party.

Cannonier resigned as premier in 2014 after becoming embroiled in a controversy involving an American tycoon but was brought back into the cabinet a year later by his successor, Michael Dunkley.

The OBA was booted out of office in last year’s general election after just one term, as the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) was returned to power.

In her message, Atherden noted that during her time in office, she sought to rebuild the party after last summer’s crushing defeat and reconnect with the people of Bermuda.

“Although I am stepping down, the work that I identified is not yet done. We cannot especially now step back. We must all continue our efforts to unite the party and must all work towards common identified goals and not just sit back and leave it up to the faithful few or wait for things to fail. It is by harnessing our individual strengths that we make the party stronger.

“We must continue to develop an OBA that projects fairness and integrity, an OBA which promotes social and economic equality; an OBA which is inclusive and ensures the voices of women and our younger members are heard,” she said.

The outgoing opposition leader said these should not just be slogans.

“By our actions, we must demonstrate that we are prepared to sacrifice our individual agendas for the good of our principles and our country.

“We must show the community that we don’t represent, specific segments or biases but that we speak for all of Bermuda. We are One Bermuda,” she added.

Cannonier entered politics in 2009 as a candidate for the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Alliance (BDA) and became party leader in 2010.

The BDA later merged with most of the remaining United Bermuda Party (UBP) MPs to form the OBA in 2011 after the UBP, which had run the country for 30 years after the introduction of party politics here in 1968, was disbanded and Cannonier was elected party leader.

Cannonier became premier after the OBA ended 14 years of PLP rule by winning the 2012 general election.

But Cannonier stepped down less than two years later over a row dubbed Jetgate by the then opposition PLP over a 2013 trip he took to the United States in a private jet owned by American tycoon Nathan Landow, a would-be investor in Bermuda, although he denied any wrongdoing.

Police say an inquiry into Jetgate remains open