Kim Swan ‘not surprised’ at OBA internal wrangling
United Bermuda Party leader Kim Swan said he’s not surprised at reports of internal wrangling within the One Bermuda Alliance as he dubbed his former colleagues “bulls in a hurry”.
Mr Swan says UBP supporters are crying déjà vu over news that younger members of the OBA are battling to get older MPs to stand aside to give the organisation a fresh look.
They say the same thing happened, with mostly the same players, before the UBP imploded and Bermuda Democratic Alliance formed two years ago.
Mr Swan claims shortly before the OBA was founded, he hoped to create a united Opposition by calling for a coalition also involving interested individuals and groups.
His call was rejected, he says, as key UBP players opted to rejoin their former colleagues in the BDA to form the OBA.
“I am not surprised to learn of the internal wranglings within the OBA, which is why I had proposed a coalition between the BDA, UBP and interested organisation and persons,” Mr Swan told The Royal Gazette.
“My former colleagues were like ‘bulls in a hurry’ and created an Alliance at the expense of an unnecessary division at the same time.”
Sources say that on the night the UBP voted to unite with the BDA, Mr Swan tried to put merger plans on hold to consider joining forces with a third group led by activist Harold Darrell.
Mr Swan and other remaining UBP members later attempted to block the merger by taking out a court injunction alleging the move was unconstitutional as local members weren’t consulted.
The St George’s West MP said yesterday: “The OBA are suffering from starting wrong and expecting to make good from doing wrong to the process and to many people.
“For example, my former UBP colleagues bypassed Section 15, Disputes Tribunal, of the UBP constitution and prevented members in good standing their constitutional right to being heard, forcing those members to obtain an injunction.
“But they want others to believe when the chips are down they will act judiciously.”
On Tuesday, this newspaper reported how leadership contender Senator Craig Cannonier is said to be keen on replacing many old faces if he succeeds at this month’s conference. However some old faces are reportedly reluctant to step aside.
Responding to Mr Swan’s comments yesterday, OBA chairman Michael Fahy said: “The OBA is moving forward quickly to its leadership conference on September 10.
“It’s looking forward to coming out of that conference with a leadership team that will move the Country forward.
“Any comments by Mr Swan in relation to this are irrelevant. The issues that Mr Swan has raised are old-school politics.”
Mr Swan forwarded this newspaper a letter from a former UBP official and long-standing supporter which described the OBA’s position as “déjà vu all over again”.
That letter stated: “The OBA must be honest about the seats that they hold, as they are all United Bermuda Party seats; nominated by United Bermuda Party branches and duly elected as United Bermuda Party MPs by mainly UBP supporters.
“Unfortunately the OBA lacked the will to do the right thing by consulting their broader memberships (UBP and BDA) and eventually resigning their seats and causing a by-election.
“The very fact that the OBA are now squabbling over safe seats is unfortunate but expected because it is the same players dominating the policies up front and behind the scenes. The tragedy is the incensed United Bermuda Party voter who has been taken for granted and grossly disrespected.”
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