Kim and Charles Swan to contest election as independents

  • <B>Last men standing:</B> Charlie and Kim Swan, the last remaining UBP MPs, have announced they will contest next month&#146;s general election as independents.

    Last men standing: Charlie and Kim Swan, the last remaining UBP MPs, have announced they will contest next month’s general election as independents.

Kim Swan and Charles Swan have given up on the United Bermuda Party and will contest the general election as independents.

The news could mean the end of the UBP, and is an about turn for the Swans who had styled themselves as its “interim” leaders who would rebuild it and even field candidates under the party name for the next election.

But Charles said yesterday that they had always maintained that they would remain as UBP MPs until the next election.

The two Swans were the only two MPs to sit in Parliament under the UBP banner following the party’s disintegration last year.

Twelve other legislators elected as UBP MPs abandoned the party for the ruling Progressive Labour Party, the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Alliance and the One Bermuda Alliance.

A statement issued by the Swans yesterday announced that they would contest the general election as independents.

“We continue to respect the service of our forefathers — former MPs, Senators, officers, members, staff and volunteers — the Bermuda that they built was one that we all are proud of and the world envied,” said Kim.

“We recognise that the UBP was not perfect and even apologised on the floor of the House of Assembly for any shortcomings of those before us or that we may have made during our tenure.

“Notwithstanding, we now move forward appreciating the United Bermuda Party and with a clear conscience knowing that we have served the people of Bermuda to the best of our ability and with integrity under the UBP.

“The issues of Bermuda are serious and require measured leadership. We will continue to use our experience and commitment to provide the best public service for the people of Bermuda and our valued constituents.”

Charles said: “Bermuda’s issues today herald a call to be addressed in a non-partisan way; a way that respects as many views as possible with fairness and equity.

“My colleague and I respect and represent all people, of all political persuasions, of all races and creeds. We do this from a basis of principle. Our people will be voting for a better Bermuda — with foundations we can all build on.”

He told The Royal Gazette that the two had always maintained that they would remain under the UBP banner until the next election

“As you know the election has been called now so we’re in the writ period. Parliament has been prorogued. Effectively there are no MPs.”

He would not comment on persistent reports that others had plans to resurrect the UBP.

“We’ve served our time as UBP, we’re independent now. We’re looking forward and we’re moving forward,” he said. “We’ve got a month before the election and we’re busy campaigning.”

Reports of an imminent resurrection of the UBP has been circulating for several weeks. Neither of the Swans could shed any light on the reports, the latest version of which had Myron Piper as the new leader, ready to field over 12 candidates.

Mr Piper lost out to OBA leader Craig Cannonier in the BDA’s leadership contest in 2010.

In November last year, the Swans issued a “Letter to the People” in which they said the party was being reorganised and planned to field candidates and “fight the next general election full-on”.

In February, Kim hinted that the UBP would run a candidate in Pembroke South West.

And in April, he insisted he was running on a UBP ticket although he and Charles were featured in an election poster which did not mention the UBP.

“Don’t read anything into that,” said Kim when the omission was pointed out to him. Asked then if he would run as a UBP candidate, he replied: “Of course. If I wasn’t I would say so.”

Kim will seek re-election as the representative for St George’s West in a three-way race against the OBA’s Nandi Davis and the PLP’s John Gibbons. He won the seat for the UBP in the 2007 election with a 17 vote majority against the PLP’s Dean Foggo.

Charles wants Southampton West Central voters to send him back to Parliament, but he is being challenged by the OBA’s Shawn Crockwell and the PLP’s Scott Simmons.

He entered Parliament in a 2008 by-election with 427 votes, replacing the UBP’s Jon Brunson. Marc Bean of the PLP was the runner-up with 312 votes and Raymond Davis, the independent candidate, came in third with 24 votes.

There are now six, possibly seven, candidates running as independents. All have a history with either the UBP or the PLP. Former Attorney General Phil Perinchief resigned from the PLP last week and is hoping to be elected as the independent MP for Pembroke West Central. Former UBP branch chairman David Tavares is running in Smith’s South; former UBP MP Erwin Adderley is running in Pembroke West and former UBP candidate Tillman Darrell is hoping to be elected as the representative for Pembroke South East.

Yesterday Mr Adderley said that he had encouraged the two Swans to run as independents because of his understanding that the UBP no longer existed.

Mr Adderley was one of several who, with the Swans, applied for a court injunction preventing the UBP from being wound up last year. The application was dropped when all the UBP MPs besides the Swans defected to form the OBA.

Mr Adderley said that the group of independents running for election had a good chance of success.

“Four of them have been elected and served in Parliament so it’s not like they’ve had no political experience before,” he said.

“At least three of the independents were chosen [by the UBP] over the persons who are now running for the OBA.”

He noted that constituents often voiced concerns about whether one independent could achieve anything in Parliament.

“But there are six independents; that’s no longer one person. That’s three-quarters of what the OBA has now in Parliament,” Mr Adderley said.

“If six of us got elected that would be a formidable force which could hold the balance of power.

“Somewhere along the line you would have to make your peace with the six if you want to form the Government.”

Mr Adderley added: “I think that’s a good thing because part of the problem right now is polarisation — you have two camps with diametrically opposed points of view. You have to strike the balance between the two opposing sides. That’s the value of independents.”

OBA chairman Thad Hollis said the election was one of "the most important choices" in Bermuda's history.

"It will be a choice between another five years of the current Government's economic policies; policies that that have added over a billion dollars to the national debt and left more than 3,000 unemployed; or a new party that will revitalise Bermuda's economy, re-energising small businesses, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing a new era of prosperity and security to our Island.

"The Government and others will do much in the days ahead to cloud that basic choice, as demonstrated by today’s developments in St George’s West and Southampton West Central."

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Published Nov 14, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm)

Kim and Charles Swan to contest election as independents

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