Feb. 1963

Six men Wilfred Allen, Hugh ‘Rio’ Richardson, Albert Peter Smith, Edward DeJean, Walter NH Robinson, Austin Wilson, and Dilton C. Cann founded the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) after much discussion and debate.  TA party platform is drafted and adopted calling for tax equity, end to racial discrimination, greater economic parity, electoral reform, and other socially responsible programmes.  

   

May 1963

The newly formed Progressive Labour Party fields 9 candidates in the General Election.  Six are successful candidates Arnold A. Francis (party Leader), Walter N H Robinson, Russell Dismont, Cecil Clarke, Lois Browne-Evans, Dorothy Thompson

1965

The PLP faces its first split over a disagreement on ideology and the party’s direction.  All the parliamentarians split from the PLP except Lois Browne-Evans who sits in parliament as its sole representative.

1966

Walter Robinson and Dorothy Thompson return to the party-fold.  Mr. Robinson becomes party leader and leads the party delegation to the Constitutional Conference in London.  Success is reached at the conference in removing the plus vote and increasing the number of electoral constituencies to 40 from 36.  The delegation refuses to endorse the majority report feeling it does not go far enough to remove electoral inequities and injustices.

1968

The PLP wins 10 seats in the first General Election under Bermuda’s new Constitution.  Party Leader Walter Robinson loses his seat in Hamilton West and Lois Browne -Evans succeeds him as Parliamentary Leader of the PLP and becomes the first female Opposition Leader in the Commonwealth.

1972

Walter Robinson returns to parliament and the party leadership after the General Election which boosts the party share of the popular vote but the number of seats remains at 10.

1976

Walter Robinson retires from active politics.  Lois Browne Evans  becomes parliamentary Leader again with L Frederick Wade as Deputy Leader.  The General Election increases the number of PLP parliamentarians to 15 and the popular vote rises to 44.6 percent.

1977

The party launches its Independence Action Plan to promote and educate the populace about its independence agenda.  The party campaigns against capital punishment and makes submissions to the Pitt Commission, which investigates the causes of riots earlier that year.

1979

A Constitutional Conference is convened at Warwick Camp.  The conference is stalemated on the issue of the electoral system changes.  It is eventually agreed that the matter will be decided by way of a general election and the party that wins may institute its desired changes.  The PLP manages to obtain compulsory voter registration and an increase in the number of Opposition seats in the Upper House by 1. The provision to create a Director or Public Prosecutions (DPP) is added to the Constitution.

1980

The General Election sees the highest turnout of voters ever, 24,000 of 31,000 eligible voters as a result of compulsory registration.  The PLP runs a slate of 40 candidates and wins 18 seats and 46 percent of the vote, its best performance to date.

1983

A snap election results in the PLP losing 4 seats in Parliament.  Gilbert Darrell challenges Lois Browne-Evans for the leader and loses at the special delegates’ conference.

1985

Internal discontent rises within the Parliamentary ranks.  It results in Gilbert Darrell and a number of supporters going public with their views.  The party disciplinary machinery expels the six dissidents including MP’s Gilbert Darrell, Walter Brangman, Lionel Simmons and Austin Thomas.  These members would go on to form the National Liberal Party.  Two of the six dissidents former MP Calvin Smith and Lionel Simmons eventually return to the Party

Another snap election is called result in the PLP fielding 30 candidates but cutting its numbers to 7 in parliament.  The PLP’s share of the vote drops to 31 percent.  Opposition Leader Lois Browne Evans resigns and is replace by L Frederick Wade who begins a programme of rebuilding the party.    Walter Roberts is elected Deputy Leader.

1989

Under the leadership of L. Frederick Wade the party gains eight seats in the general election and increases its share of the popular vote to 37 percent.  One of the seats, St. George’s North, is  won by the PLP for the first time following a determined campaign by Jennifer Smith.

1992

Former Leader Walter Robinson dies at age 74.

1993

In the general election, the PLP fields a full slate and increases its number of seats to 18 and its share of the vote to 46.7 percent its highest up to that point. 

1994

Jennifer Smith challenges Walter Roberts for the deputy leadership of the party  and wins. 

The party unveils and abstention campaign in response to the planned referendum on independence.

   

August 1995

The Independence referendum is held under controversial circumstances.  The PLP declares its abstention campaign  successful citing low voter turnout. 

1996

Party Leader L. Frederick Wade dies suddenly and is succeeded by Deputy Leader Jennifer Smith.  Jennifer Smith was acting leader for a period of time due to Mr. Wade’s ill health.  During this period Smith lead a successful motion of censure against the UBP Premier David Saul who later resigned.  Jennifer Smith pledges upon her election as leader to prepare the party to win the next General Election.

1997

PLP founding member Wilfred Allen dies at the age of 88.

August 1998

PLP MP for St. Georges North Leon ‘Jimmy’ Williams dies suddenly.

1998

The PLP launches its ‘New Bermuda’ platform near the eve of the General Election.  The party goes onto win its first General Election with a 26-14 victory.   Jennifer Smith is sworn in as Premier and the first PLP Cabinet is appointed soon after.  Lois Brown Evans is sworn in as the first politically appointed Attorney General.

1999

The PLP Government eliminated annual voter registration in favour of a system of continuous registration.

 2000

Premier Smith tables a paper proposing constitutional reform including single seat constituencies.  Cabinet Minister Arthur Hodgson challenges Ms Smith for party leadership, and fails by a large majority.  He is later relieved of his ministerial responsibility.  

2002

A small group of PLP MP’s disgruntled by the leadership style of Jennifer Smith force a vote against her leadership in parliamentary caucus.  Observers question the constitutional validity of the vote.  Branches will later confirm their unanimous support for Party Leader Smith.

Oct. 2002

David Allen, the PLP’s first Tourism Minister, dies.

Dec.  2002

The House of Assembly approves Boundaries Commission report recommending the island be divided into 36 single seat constituencies.

March 2003

The Order-in-Council is passed in London giving effect to the Boundaries Commission’s recommendations and realising the PLP’s long held ambition of one person one vote of equal value.

10 June 2003

Premier Jennifer Smith dissolves parliament and announces the General Election for 24 July 2003.

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