Dr. Brown calls UBP 'morally bankrupt'
Premier Ewart Brown has launched a vehement attack on those he believes are behind a smear campaign to prevent Government being re-elected.Addressing around 550 members of the Progressive Labour Party at a banquet on Saturday, the day after calling a General Election, Dr. Brown said: "Tonight, we begin the journey of 45 days — a journey we have never taken before under conditions we have never endured before."Each and every day will be critical. Each day you and I must awaken to the harsh reality that we are up against the most vicious and vile opponents in the history of our struggle."Remember that, and take note of the fact that vicious and vile is not all they are."They are scared. They are terrified. That is why they have authored and executed a smear campaign of gigantic proportions."Listing examples of what he claimed are such tactics, Dr. Brown zoned in on the Opposition United Bermuda Party and the media over allegations about him and other party members made in reports on the Bermuda Housing Corporation scandal.Government and the Police lost a court battle last Monday to suppress the publication of further extracts from Police documents detailing allegations of corruption at the BHC.On Friday, former PLP supporter Harold Darrell named himself in the press as the man behind the leak.Dr. Brown, who denies the allegations, said: "Yes, a free press is vital to a democracy. But, the press, in cahoots with a morally bankrupt, desperate Opposition, is an irresponsible press when it prints unsubstantiated tales supposedly contained in a stolen police file about my colleagues and me."The Premier frequently raised his voice during the impassioned speech, which was greeted by cries of support from the party faithful and several standing ovations.On a total of 18 occasions he took the United Bermuda Party to task over what he described as "moral bankruptcy" and "selective morality" — repeating that the UBP lacks the "moral authority" to lead the country or criticise him.The Premier also singled several people out by name, beginning by accusing Opposition Leader Michael Dunkley of engaging in "pious self-serving meanderings."In references to the BHC leak, he accused Auditor General Larry Dennis of being "a vigilante" who, he alleged, went on a witch-hunt "with fellow criminal abettors."He also spoke of "a demented deviant believed to be complicit in the theft of stolen documents," in an apparent reference to Mr. Darrell, and "snide, nasty personalities" in a reference to Opposition Senator Bob Richards. Dr. Brown acknowledged he does not wear his religion on his shoulder. However, to some of the loudest cheers of the evening he quoted from the Psalms, telling the audience: "I am protected by a power greater than the Privy Council."The Premier's speech was not the only occasion that a higher power was invoked to lead the PLP to a third successive term in Government.Calls for unity were a key theme of the event after public criticism of Dr. Brown last week from former MP Trevor Woolridge, who called on him to resign, and backbencher Renee Webb, who said he was a liability.During prayers for the party, Pastor Leroy Bean asked the audience to hold hands with those seated next to them — in the case of Dr. Brown this was former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith and Deputy Leader Paula Cox."We are one. No-one is coming between us no matter what differences we may have. No-one is coming between us," urged Rev. Bean.Later, Smith's West candidate Larry Mussenden called on the audience to join in chants of "three straight" and "solid as a rock".