HAMILTON, Bermuda–October 1st, 2020–The Progressive Labour Party crushed the One Bermuda Alliance at the General Election yesterday, winning 30 seats to just six for their opponents.
The ruling party gained five seats earlier held by the OBA and won more than 60 per cent of the total vote, in an even more of a landslide than their momentous win three years ago.
But, according to reports in The Royal Gazette, the turnout was at its lowest for decades — just 60 per cent, factoring in the three uncontested PLP seats which lopped off more than 3,600 voters who were not required to cast a ballot.
It was a night of celebration for the PLP and one of turmoil and disappointment for the OBA.
David Burt, the PLP leader and Premier, was cheered as he appeared in front of a sea of green outside Alaska Hall on Court Street, Hamilton, after the final results came in.
He told supporters that now was the time for the country to unite and that he planned to “reach out to all Bermudians, but especially those who did not support us”.
Burt said: “We have an incredibly difficult road ahead for this country and it is going to require us all to work together, whether we be Government, Opposition, business, unions and citizens.
“I now say that it is time for us to put aside our red, our yellow and our green — our historical divisions — and come together as one people, one Bermuda, to recover our economy and to build a more inclusive economy that benefits all.”
The Premier added: “I pledge to you today that this PLP government will not take this significant margin in the House of Assembly for granted.
“This is an awesome honor and now is not the time for arrogance. It is the time for humility and reflection.
“It is a time to redouble our efforts to reconnect with those who feel across the country that this govern
Leah Scott, the OBA deputy leader, and MP Ben Smith lost their seats in Southampton East Central and Southampton West Central, respectively, which left the West End from Warwick out represented by the PLP.
Christopher Famous, a party campaign strategist and the MP for Devonshire East, said: “We wiped them out in the west — the entire west is green.”
Opposition seats that had been held by Trevor Moniz, Sylvan Richards and Jeanne Atherden also fell to the PLP and the newly formed Free Democratic Movement got more votes than the OBA in three constituencies.
The scene at the OBA headquarters in Hamilton was somber, as there was nothing to celebrate..
Craig Cannonier, who held Devonshire South Central, said it was too early for him to make a decision about his future as OBA leader.
He added: “I don’t plan on going anywhere right now because we have built a dynamic team.
“So there are no plans, but I am going to sit down and take a few days and think about what it is I want to do next, and we’ll make some decisions from there.”
The five independent candidates who stood got 67 votes — 0.26 per cent of ballots cast — between them.
More than 44 per cent of the electorate did not vote.
Of 42,638 people eligible to vote, only 25,763 or 60 per cent cast a ballot — one of the lowest election turnouts the island has seen and a decrease of almost 25 per cent compared with 2017, when 34,065 voted.
Ashfield DeVent, a former PLP minister, said the turnout was “concerning”.
He added that he had spoken earlier to a number of young black men who said they did not plan to vote.
Mr DeVent said: “They said it didn’t make any difference to them who they voted for.”
John Barritt, who was a United Bermuda Party and OBA MP for 18 years, added: “They were sufficiently motivated not to vote.”
The Parliamentary Registrar said that the total vote count was 25,763 and there were 46,311 registered voters. There were three uncontested constituencies, which meant that 3,673 registered voters were effectively disenfranchised.
Taking those seats into account, voter turnout just hit 60 per cent.