Progressive Labour Party (Bermuda)
|Progressive Labour Party|
|Deputy leader||Derrick Burgess|
|Founded||10 February 1963|
|Headquarters||Alaska Hall, 16 Court Street, Hamilton, Bermuda|
The first political party in Bermuda, and the oldest still active, the PLP was founded in 1963 by Wilfred Mose Allen, Hugh Ryo Richardson, Albert Peter Smith, Edward DeJean, Walter N.H. Robinson, Austin Wilson and Dilton C. Cann. These seven had earlier met in Richardson's garage, before holding the first formal meeting of the PLP on 10 February 1963 in Robinson's office in Hamilton. Intended to appeal to the working-class, the first election platform called for equitable taxation, an end to racial discrimination, economic parity and welfare programs, as well as housing, educational and electoral reform.
The Progressive Labour Party contested its first General Election just three months after its formation in 1963. The Party contested nine of the then thirty-six Parliamentary seats. The PLP's first successful Members of Colonial Parliament (MCPs) were: Mr. Arnold A. Francis (Party Leader), Mr. Walter N. H. Robinson (Deputy Leader), Mrs. Lois Browne-Evans (Bermuda's first black elected woman Member of Parliament) Mr. Russell Dismont, Mr. Cecil Clarke and Mrs. Dorothy Thompson.
Shortly after the PLP's formation, the constitution of Bermuda was altered to focus on party politics, and a General Election was called on 22 May 1968. In the election, the party was soundly defeated by the newly formed, conservative, United Bermuda Party. During the election, the party's leader, Walter Robinson, was defeated in his constituency and power was handed over to Lois Browne-Evans. Shortly after that defeat, a group splintered from the party to form the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Party (BDP).
In subsequent elections, the PLP slowly expanded its share of Parliament until 1983, where it began a noticeable slide. This was reversed several elections later in 1989.
In 1996 Jennifer Meredith Smith succeeded to the leadership of the PLP upon the death of L. Frederick Wade. She led her party to its first victory in parliamentary elections in November 1998, in which the traditionally conservative United Bermuda Party, which had controlled the country since autonomy was gained in 1968, suffered an unprecedented defeat. The Progressive Labour Party again won the parliamentary election held on 24 July 2003 with 51.6% of the vote and 22 out of 36 seats, but less than a week later Ewart Brown led a party coup, and Smith was forced to resign. The two factions agreed to a compromise candidate, Alex Scott, to become Premier of Bermuda, while Brown would hold the deputy premiership. In October 2006, Dr. Ewart Brown defeated Alex Scott in an election for Party Leader and became the PLP's Leader and Premier of Bermuda.
The PLP won a third term in power in the election held on 18 December 2007, again taking 22 seats. Ewart Brown quit elected politics in October 2010 and he was succeeded as party leader and Premier by Paula Cox. On December 17, 2012, the party narrowly lost a general election; Cox lost her own seat and resigned as party leader the following day. She was replaced by Marc Bean, the former Minister of the Environment, Planning and Infrastructure.
On 15 February, 2013, PLP MP Terry Lister announced his resignation from the party, and his intent to continue to sit in the House of Assembly as an Independent.
|General election||# of candidates||# of elected candidates||total votes||% of popular vote|
On July 11, 2013, while speaking on a televised program by the Seventh-day Adventist Church organization in Bermuda, Marc Bean, leader of the PLP made several statements about gay marriage. Mr Bean said that he felt same-sex marriage would further the ongoing destruction and attack on the family unit. He also stated that he believed that “Historically if you look at the gay rights agenda, at who created it and who financed it, then you will recognize that its purpose is to turn civilisation upside down and upon its head.” He did not provide proof of his statements on who has "financed" the "gay agenda". Earlier in the program when asked if he thought that gay marriage would be approved in Bermuda he said yes and stated that it was "unfortunate." Asked for his own opinion on same-sex marriage, Mr Bean maintained that it and the “agenda of same-sex marriage” represented “an attack on the foundation of civilisation and on life itself, and that’s the family unit”. 
In a 2012 debate on adding sexual orientation to the Human Rights Act the following statements were made:
PLP MP Derrick Burgess spoke after Mr Crockwell, saying: “When it comes to the discrimination based on sexual orientation, I will take my lead from my Church. I am not for discriminating against anyone, but I do have a problem with what our children see today…”
PLP MP Dennis Lister said he supported banning discrimination based on age, and noted that the matter of discrimination based on sexual orientation has come to the House on two other occasions, and he voted against both motions. ”I still have not been moved from where I have been in the past, and I want to be noted for that…” he said.“I am not opposed to the individual, I don’t want individuals to get offended or take it personally….it’s always the behaviour that I have my concern in that regard. As a member of the Church, I feel we should love and forgive everyone – always.”“Maybe one day, by time you get around to bringing legislation, you can find a way to change my viewpoint, but I haven’t moved from that yet,” said Mr Lister.
Moving onto sexual orientation, Minister Bean said he doesn’t feel there is any need to alter the Human Right Act. “If I am a landlord and I do not want gay persons in my apartment, I think it’s their right to deny anyone to rent their apartment. You know why, because they are responsible for that mortgage, it’s their house, it’s their property." “In other words, gay people can go and buy a mansion and they can have the biggest rainbow circle gay parties and bashments all they like on their property. And even if their next door neighbour doesn’t like it, even if their next door neighbour is a Bishop of a Church, that Bishop has to suck it up.”
Some members of the party made statements in support of the change to add sexual orientation to the Human Rights act.
- "Bermuda's ruling party wins election focused on corruption, racial resentment", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 19 December 2007.
- Bernews (Oct. 29, 2010)
- Royal Gazette (Dec. 22, 2012).
- Bernews (Feb. 15, 2013)