UBP will fight in election, say Swans

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The United Bermuda Party is set for a resurrection and will be fielding candidates in the next general election, according to its two remaining MPs.

A “Letter to the People” was signed by Kim Swan and Charlie Swan as Interim Leader and Interim Deputy Leader respectively.

In it, the pair describe themselves as “proud MPs of the UBP, a UBP who created CURE, but watched the PLP abolish it; a UBP who created free public education and have watched the PLP destroy any confidence in the public education system; and the UBP who handed over a budget surplus in 1998, only for us to be $1 billion in debt in 2011”.

“We are actively reworking our party, we are meeting with potential donors, and we are speaking with potential candidates, and we will fight the next general election full-on,” the letter states.

“The UBP is still here, Charlie and I are still here, we are deeply committed to each and every Bermudian, and we have spent the last six months listening.”

It continues: “Over the next weeks and months we will be releasing messages, statements, and updates on our progress. Be assured we are active, we are preparing and we are the only party in whom you can trust. We haven’t accepted MPs who crossed due to boundary changes; we aren’t formed by MPs who lied to their own constituents and we are not afraid to fight for you. You will never hear us try to justify a lie by saying, ‘We had to deceive you’. We will never ever shirk our responsibilities to Bermudians by saying, ‘We were only a cog in a wheel’.”

The pair’s criticism is not restricted to the Progressive Labour Party. They blame the “near collapse” of the UBP on former UBP members who formed the One Bermuda Alliance because they saw it as the only way to get re-elected to Parliament.

Following two successive electoral defeats the UBP needed reform but “some of my former colleagues that are now OBA MPs felt that we only needed to make superficial changes”, said Kim Swan.

He said that while his agenda was “reform” others wanted “change”.

The letter continues: “For those members who believed in change they felt that what we had to show the voters was an easy fix change the party name and the party colours, and presto! we can become Government again. This strategy is being played out right now in the OBA; the MPs and executives who left the UBP are now finding it hard to break the label of ‘same old, same old’.

“My leadership demanded internal changes to accommodate the times but the MPs that had to step down would not. Today, most of the MPs who left, are prominent in the OBA but the OBA have not gained any new support. The former UBP MPs are proving to be the same drain on the OBA that they were on the UBP.

“As Leader, and someone who was and still is for reform of the UBP, I knew we had to attract different candidates, we had to lose some MPs, we had to have a broader outreach, we had to proudly tell our own story and not allow our opponents to label us, and we had to be attractive and relevant to voters in the second decade of a new millennium. It seemed that my former colleagues merely thought we could put new shoes on old socks and the voters would have fell for it. Like I have said, I have far more respect for Bermudians than that!”

The UBP gained new supporters once “certain” MPs announced their departure, the party’s Interim Leader added.

He said the departures in fact, changed the UBP into a party that could no longer be seen as elitist and too business-oriented.

“Given that we are the only two UBP MPs left, I can tell you Charlie Swan and I are grassroots, ordinary, committed, and trustworthy politicians.”

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Published Nov 15, 2011 at 8:51 am (Updated Nov 15, 2011 at 8:51 am)

UBP will fight in election, say Swans

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