PLP 'secret plan' statement
OBA dismisses PLP’s call to know more about ‘secret’ UBP plan
The ruling Progressive Labour Party yesterday called on the One Bermuda Alliance to release a “secret plan” recommended to the United Bermuda Party by a consultant.
But the OBA has dismissed the call as a “thinly veiled” tactic to distract the public from the Government’s record.
At an Alaska Hall press conference, general election candidate for Paget West and former UBP member Darius Tucker referred to a report on ZBM news on Tuesday night in which former UBP leader Kim Swan confirmed that the consultant had recommended that his party’s younger members form a new entity. The consultant also recommended that the “old UBP members” join the new entity and form a new party.
The One Bermuda Alliance was formed when UBP MPs defected to the Bermuda Democratic Alliance in what was widely reported as a merger between the two parties.
But Mr Swan and Charlie Swan stayed on as UBP MPs until yesterday when they announced that they will be independent candidates for the next general election.
“For weeks, we’ve been asking what the OBA is really about?” Mr Tucker said.
“The answers may be in this secret plan. It’s time for the OBA to come clean. Who do they really stand for and what are they really about? Is it really about country or them getting power?
“Bermudians deserve to know the truth. That’s why we are calling on the OBA to release that secret plan.”
Mr Tucker defended his remarks as a call for transparency.
“If the OBA was going to be transparent they would release this plan, a secret plan,” he said.
Asked if consultant’s advice to a political party should be public, he said: “The PLP is talking about a secret plan that was put together to form a new entity — and the transparency — so that Bermudian public can know what is actually going on within the OBA.”
He insisted that there had been a secret plan to “deceive the people” and it should not be referred to simply as consultant’s advice.
“It’s not a matter of advice given in that regard. It’s a matter of transparency to this secret plan to deceive the people in the forming of the OBA.”
OBA Chairman Thad Hollis said that the party was founded on the need for change. “We were not founded on the basis of a “secret” document,” he said.
“This matter was raised by the Government when the OBA was first formed and they return to it today in a thinly veiled effort to distract attention from their record, which has left thousands unemployed, thousands more underemployed, neighbourhoods that are unsafe, businesses closing down every week and a billion dollar level of debt that will burden generations to come.
“This is the reality that concerns Bermudians today. The Government should be ashamed that they have expressed more passion on this matter than finding solutions to the real problems facing Bermudian families every day. “
Mr Hollis added that the OBA will not address the matter again but will focus on “listening to and working hard for the people of Bermuda and putting forward concrete solutions that work for them.
“Bermuda needs real change, not another five years of the politics of division and distraction.”
In May last year, on the heels of the formation of the OBA, Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert a former UBP Leader called for his former colleagues to release the consultant’s report.
He said then that the consultant’s advice had been followed to the letter and the formation of the OBA was part of a plan to attract the black voter.
Former OBA interim leader John Barritt responded at that time saying the OBA was “not following the script of something consultants suggested some years ago” and the Opposition was now doing what Mr Furbert had been crying out for all along: changing.
In December 2007, the PLP won its third consecutive election, with many black people saying they were frustrated with the ruling party but could never vote for the UBP because of its legacy as white and elitist.
Mr Furbert says a consultant then advised younger members of the UBP should quit to form a new party before getting back together with their older colleagues under a new name. Some remnant of the UBP should be kept intact so the new entity could distance itself from the old one, the consultant suggested.
In September 2009, three of the youngest UBP MPs quit, citing frustration at the party’s failure to reform, and helped found the Bermuda Democratic Alliance.
Almost two years later, those three MPs rejoined their former UBP colleagues to create the OBA, with the BDA disbanding.
Sources in the OBA said then that the advice over the temporary split was merely a few paragraphs within a seven-page report and argued it hadn’t been taken seriously.
Mr Barritt said at the time: “I can assure Mr Furbert and the people of Bermuda that we are not following the script of something that consultants suggested some years ago.
“What we are trying to do is to write a new script in politics in Bermuda, not just for ourselves but for Bermuda.”
The OBA went on to elect Craig Cannonier as leader and recruited several political neophytes to run as candidates in the general election.