St. Kitts PM congratulates new Premier of Bermuda

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – Bermuda’s newly-appointed Premier and Leader of the ruling Progressive Labour Party, the Hon. Pamela Cox, has been congratulated by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

“Your long and distinguished career in the public realm, most recently as Deputy Premier, will undoubtedly serve you well as you undertake the new role of leader of the Government of Bermuda. As you charter this new course, and seek to improve the lives of the people of your beautiful country, may wisdom and patience abound with you. It is my hope that the initiatives and endeavours of your Cabinet will be brought to successful fruition, bringing about continued prosperity and growth for all citizens,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who met Cox during an official visit to Bermuda in May.

Dr. Douglas said his Government “looks forward to the building and strengthening of the special relationship that St. Kitts and Nevis and Bermuda share. Please be assured of our continued commitment to seek out new ways in which our two countries can partner together as we strive to bring about mutual benefit for all concerned.”

“I once again extend, on behalf of myself and the Government and People of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, sincere congratulations on this great achievement. In availing myself of the opportunity to extend to you the assurances of my highest consideration, please also accept best wishes for your personal well-being,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and new Premier of Bermuda, Hon. Pamela Cox
Photo by Erasmus Williams

Mrs. Paula Cox, a lawyer, is the fourth Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Premier since the PLP wrested control from the United Bermuda Party in 1998 after 30 years in opposition.

Mrs. Cox, who was Finance Minister and Deputy Premier under Premier Dr. Ewart Brown, who has stepped down as party leader and Premier after four years, easily beat her two rivals, Terry Lister and Dale Butler, in Thursday night’s leadership battle.

Cox, who became a PLP MP in 1996, when she won a by-election in Devonshire North after the death of Opposition Leader Frederick Wade, has been at the heart of PLP politics all her life.

Her late father, Eugene Cox, was a leading PLP MP from the 1970s on, and for much of that time was Shadow Finance Minister.

Paula Cox first ran for the House of Assembly while still a student in 1985, but after being defeated, she returned to her studies and became a barrister, although most of her legal career has been spent as a corporate counsel, at the Bank of Bermuda and later at insurance giant ACE.

Cox earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from McGill University, a post-graduate Diploma in International Law from the University of Manchester, England and is a member of the Bermuda Bar, having trained in the United Kingdom as a solicitor.

Cox is married to a businessman from Cameroon, Germain Nkeuleu, and has two brothers, Jeremy Cox, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Monetary Authority, and Robert Cox, an electrical engineer, who currently works in the United States.

An aide to Wade before his death, she was also a protégé of the late Dame Lois Browne Evans, a former Opposition Leader, and Dame Jennifer Smith, who led the PLP to its first election victory.

When the PLP took power 12 years ago, Cox, still in her 30s, was given the critically important Labour and Home Affairs Ministry, where she crafted the legislation granting greater rights to hundreds of non-Bermudians but restricting work permit stays at the same time.

She also tackled a succession of crises at Westgate prison and began the drafting of the Employment Act.

She moved to the Education Ministry in late 2001 and, following the 2003 general election, had the Attorney General portfolio added to her responsibilities.

Cox replaced her father as Finance Minister when he died in January 2004, becoming Deputy Premier as well in 2006 when Brown defeated then-Premier Alex Scott for the leadership of the PLP.

For much of her career she has enjoyed widespread popularity and built a reputation as a person who listened to all sides and developed a consensus on policies before enacting them.
That reputation contrasted with Brown, a 64-year-old physician and an MP since 1993 who was often seen as combative and confrontational.

Cox was also critical of Brown last year at the height of the Uighurs crisis when she said she felt “politically neutered,” but she rallied to the party to successfully defeat an opposition no-confidence motion.

Cox’s only real hit came earlier this year, when she described herself as a “cog in the wheel,” unable to turn down ministers’ requests for more money, and delivered an unpopular tax-raising Budget.

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