UBP agrees to merge with BDA

Opposition party to disband after 47 years

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The United Bermuda Party last night voted to disband and join forces with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance.
Central committee members voted 68 to 14 in favour of forming the One Bermuda Alliance by reuniting with their former colleagues who broke away from the UBP in September 2009.

  • <B>After the vote: </B>Leader of the United Bermuda Party, Kim Swan, leaves the party's headquarters after last night's meeting. Mr Swan appealed for a temporary postponement of a vote to disband the party and merge with the BDA to form a new political entity. However, the UBP's central committee voted 68 to 14 in favour of bringing down the curtain on the 47-year-old party.

    After the vote: Leader of the United Bermuda Party, Kim Swan, leaves the party's headquarters after last night's meeting. Mr Swan appealed for a temporary postponement of a vote to disband the party and merge with the BDA to form a new political entity. However, the UBP's central committee voted 68 to 14 in favour of bringing down the curtain on the 47-year-old party.
    (Tamell Simons)

  • Senator Jeanne Atherden (centre), chairwoman of the United Bermuda Party, leaves last night's meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamte with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

    Senator Jeanne Atherden (centre), chairwoman of the United Bermuda Party, leaves last night's meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamte with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

  • United Bermuda Party Senator Jeanne Atherden and Richard Butterfield leave a UBP meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamate with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

    United Bermuda Party Senator Jeanne Atherden and Richard Butterfield leave a UBP meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamate with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

  • Leader of The United Bermuda Party Kim Swan leaves party Headquarters after last night's meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamte with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

    Leader of The United Bermuda Party Kim Swan leaves party Headquarters after last night's meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamte with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

  • Senator Jeanne Atherden of The United Bermuda Party and Richard Butterfield leave last night's meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamte with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

    Senator Jeanne Atherden of The United Bermuda Party and Richard Butterfield leave last night's meeting where members of the party voted to dissolve and amalgamte with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance to form the One Bermuda Alliance. (Photo by Tamell Simons)


The United Bermuda Party last night voted to disband and join forces with the Bermuda Democratic Alliance.

Central committee members voted 68 to 14 in favour of forming the One Bermuda Alliance by reuniting with their former colleagues who broke away from the UBP in September 2009.

The 47-year-old party, which ruled for 30 years until November 1998, is now beginning the formal process of winding up.

Before the vote, leader Kim Swan virtually certain to be replaced in the short-term by veteran John Barritt put forward a motion calling for a decision to be delayed for several weeks, but was voted down by 63 to 19.

The BDA last night confirmed it will also disband and it's hoped the OBA will be formed before the House of Assembly reopens on Friday, May 13.

Following a meeting lasting more than two hours at UBP headquarters on Queen Street, chairman Senator Jeanne Atherden told the media the OBA will represent a unified Opposition and called for members of the public to get involved.

She refused to give any details on the new party but said the core values of the BDA and UBP have never been different.

Mr Swan declined to comment on his own future, saying he's focused on tackling issues such as the struggling economy, soaring violence and transportation problems.

“We will talk when I'm ready to talk,” Mr Swan told the media. Other politicians declined to comment as they left the building.

Sources say Mr Swan asked members to delay a vote on a merger for another three weeks, claiming another group was interested in joining forces with the UBP to form a stronger Opposition.

However others argued any such group had already had long enough to make their move.

Mr Swan and Shadow Transport Minister Charlie Swan are said to have voted against joining with the BDA; Senator Michael Dunkley, Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons, deputy leader Trevor Moniz, Mr Barritt and Shadow Tourism Minister Cole Simons are all said to have spoken in favour.

BDA leader Craig Cannonier, who called for the UBP to switch off the lights last November, said in a statement last night: “The conditions of our Country demand new, bold innovative ideas and the experience to carry them out. I commend the members of the UBP for taking this stand for the benefit and future of Bermuda.

“The BDA is prepared to make similar bold steps for the future of Bermuda. The conditions require it. This is a new day and the urgency is now. Watch this space.”

BDA chairman Michael Fahy said: “I too congratulate the UBP members on their bold decision. This week the BDA executive committee will pass a similar resolution so that our Country can move forward.

“It is time to put Bermuda first. The conditions in Bermuda are calling for innovation and experience and we too believe that this requires an undivided opposition. We shall move swiftly to ensure this happens.”

Last night's meeting is said to have played out in a mellow atmosphere, with many members previously opposed to the death of the UBP accepting there's no alternative if a landslide Progressive Labour Party victory is to be staved off.

Talks between the two parties started before Christmas, heightening after they split the Opposition vote down the middle at the Warwick South Central by-election to allow the PLP to increase its lead.

Both sides feared if that was replicated across the Country at the next general election the PLP could win 30 or more seats.

Some aspects of the union will be far from straightforward, particularly as the UBP have already rolled out candidates Jeff Sousa, Erwin Adderley and Senator Suzann Roberts-Holshouser in seats currently held by BDA MPs.

“It's going to be very complicated,” said one member.

The BDA was formed after MPs Shawn Crockwell, Mark Pettingill and Donte Hunt quit the UBP in frustration at its failure to reform into an election-winning force, and the racial baggage of its past.

The PLP argues the OBA is merely the reunification of the UBP under a new name.

lUseful websites: www.ubp.bm, www.thealliance.bm

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Published May 4, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated May 4, 2011 at 9:01 am)

UBP agrees to merge with BDA

Opposition party to disband after 47 years

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