Between the UBP and BDA Moniz sees more that unites than divides
A by-election hammering by the Progressive Labour Party, rumours of more high-profile defections and infighting over the demotion of its former leader once again the headlines have not been kind to the United Bermuda Party in 2010.
One possible outcome from all those factors seems sure to remain a genuine option throughout 2011 for the official Opposition: a reunification with rivals in the Bermuda Democratic Alliance.
Despite BDA figures again ruling it out, acting UBP leader Trevor Moniz followed up leader Kim Swan’s hint at an amalgamation by telling The Royal Gazette: “The UBP has always been open to discussions with the BDA and have collaborated on many issues in the House during 2010.
“There is more that unites us than divides us. Bermuda needs a strong Opposition and we will strive to provide the best leadership we can and bring to bear the experience and talent that our team represents.”
Yesterday, this newspaper reported how Alliance members Dueane Dill and Michael Branco believe combining the two Opposition parties would be an insult to those who joined the BDA after the initial breakaway from the UBP.
But sources continue to insist talks are ongoing between senior members of both parties keen to prevent a Progressive Labour Party landslide if the Opposition vote remains split at the next general election.
Meanwhile although the official line is that internal arguing is now in the past and Senator Michael Dunkley has still never publicly complained UBP insiders say Sen Dunkley remains unhappy about being dropped as Senate leader in favour of Senator Jeanne Atherden.
And some senior UBP figures are said to remain critical at the selection of convicted drugs offender Devrae Noel-Simmons to fight the Warwick South Central by-election, which he lost with just 78 votes to PLP candidate Marc Bean’s 310.
Mr Moniz argued differences over Mr Noel-Simmons were exaggerated, adding: “Healthy internal debate is a constant in a party as diverse as the UBP. It’s not an issue.
“Everyone is aboard and all of us are looking forward to making 2011 a year of recovery.”
Not too different from Mr Swan’s aim at the beginning of 2010, when he vowed to bounce back from a disastrous 2009 in which four MPs resigned.
Mr Swan has long cited the UBP’s need to have pride in the party’s past, despite the constant negativity poured over it by the PLP.
New recruit Montell Currin a PLP member while the UBP was in power agreed, telling this newspaper the UBP has the know-how to deal with today’s crises.
“I think the UBP, despite people saying it has a controversial past, does not have a negative past,” said Mr Currin.
“Bermuda has seen some of its best days under the UBP Government. I think those past experiences, whether they are controversial or not, are definitely a strength.
“Bermuda is in a position where it’s never been before and we have national debt, crime levels that we have never seen before, types of crime that we have never seen before.
“People are looking for representatives that will tell them the truth and listen to their concerns. People know Kim Swan is truthful and he really cares about Bermuda.”
Meanwhile Mr Moniz is promising at least one thing will be different in 2011 as he pointed to perceptions that the UBP is always more ready to criticise Government than offer an alternative way forward itself.
“We recognise that our criticisms often get more attention than our solutions, as the receptions to our Budget and Throne Speech replies have shown,” said Mr Moniz.
“So you can look for a change in emphasis in the coming year as to how we project our ideas for a strong, safe and fair Bermuda.”
Those solutions will aim to “get this Country working again”, according to the Shadow Attorney General.
“Everything we do will be guided by the pressing need to create jobs, enhance public safety, grow international business, reform education and provide a clear and prudent approach to getting us through the debt and spending problems created by the PLP Government, while restoring economic integrity to the Island,” he said.
TOMORROW: Our series concludes with new PLP faces Michael-Jay Landy, Kim Lightbourne and Curtis Williams giving their thoughts on the governing party entering 2011.
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