Bermuda PLP candidate resigns following marijuana arrest

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Thursday November 29, 2012 – Following his arrest for the possession of marijuana, a candidate from the ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP) has pulled out of the race for next month’s General election.

Late Wednesday, the PLP said a new candidate to replace Makai Dickerson would be unveiled on Thursday morning.

Dickerson, described as a rising star by the PLP, was due to challenge Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier in Devonshire South Central in the  December 17 election.

Dickerson’s resignation followed his admission earlier this week that police found him in possession of a “very small” amount of marijuana in September before he was rolled out as a PLP candidate.

“After much reflection, I have decided to step down as a candidate. I do this because this election is too important and my personal shortcomings shouldn’t cause any further distractions for my party and the voters of Bermuda during this important time,” he said in a statement.

“I appreciate that my party supports me and offered to give me a second chance but I believe that the future of our country is at stake and I don’t want my personal situation causing unnecessary problems for my party.”

On Monday, the PLP said it was taken by surprise by news of Dickerson’s arrest.

National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief acknowledged the PLP was  “caught on the backfoot” when Dickerson told the party about his  arrest a few days ago.

Dickerson said in an earlier statement: “I made a mistake. I ask my God, my  family and my community for forgiveness.

He is due to appear in court just before the general election.

More than 80 candidates, including nine independents , are due to  contest the election in which the PLP, which now holds 24 of the 36 seats in the House of Assembly, is seeking a fourth term in office  against a backdrop of continuing gang violence, eight per cent unemployment and a national debt of US$1.4 billion.

The 18-month-old One Bermuda Alliance holds an 11-point lead over the  PLP in opinion polls. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)