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Former Premier Brown in rousing form at final PLP rally

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Failing to vote the Progressive Labour Party back into power means allowing others to write your history, an impassioned final rally for the PLP heard this weekend.

Standing before an estimated 400 party faithful, former Premier Ewart Brown also chastised an unnamed Opposition candidate for calling race “a distraction”.

"Send a message on Monday," Dr Brown urged the crowd at Berkeley Institute field, where Premier Paula Cox and Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess sat in the front row.

The party’s 11 central candidates had earlier taken to the stage, encouraged by thumping music and a sea of supporters wearing green.

Speakers including former Premiers Dame Jennifer Smith and Alex Scott, exhorted residents to vote for the governing party.

Several invoked the phrase “black surrogates” to depict the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance as manipulative and underhanded.

Supporters in parked cars honked their approval as the night opened with an introduction of candidates from constituencies 13 through 23.

"We have come too far to go back," candidate for 23 Darius Tucker told the crowd. "After coming up the rough side, and now on the top, we're not going now."

PLP executive officer Dawn Simmons, running for constituency 22, vowed that after today’s election, “Paget East will no longer be an Opposition stronghold".

Pembroke West hopeful Vince Ingham asked the crowd: "Will you rely on those who dress on red, or those who dress in green? Our economy will bring lots of green."

In its first decade of government, the PLP had doubled the Island’s economy and then, in 2008, the global recession was a “financial tsunami”, he said.

“They keep trying to trick that on us. It’s got nothing to do with us. What did we do following that financial tsunami? We saved the bank.”

Sen Ingham continued amid cheers: “The political power came in 1998. And the economic power comes on December 17, 2012. The time has come for us to own our Country, to take it back. I’m not asking you to vote for one term. Our work is not done. We need ten years.”

Constituency 18's candidate David Burt rubbished the One Bermuda Alliance's jobs plan.

"There are some people elsewhere in the Country who have only 20 people at their event," Senator Burt declared, referring to the lacklustre attendance at an OBA thank-you concert that also took place on Saturday night.

Sen Burt added: "On Monday they're going to have another five years to come up with a new name."

Dr Brown brought the crowd to its feet with sharp words for today’s would-be abstainers.

“I can’t ever imagine a young person in Bermuda, especially a young black person, having the gall to say they might not vote.”

He said: “If you want to write your own history, then you must — you must — support the party that brought the opportunity to you in the first place.”

Dr Brown hinted at a recent TV debate between the OBA’s Alexis Swan and the PLP’s Lawrence Scott: “She said race is a distraction. It hurt me, and then it angered me.

“You must never, ever allow anybody to tell you that race and the discussion of racism is a distraction.”

He continued: "Tell me one thing that has dominated your life and existence more than race. That's why they want us to stop talking about it."

He said that as the election drew near, bloggers started “turning on the raw racism”.

“They say nasty things about you. They call you ignorant. They call you uneducated. They call you sheep,” said Dr Brown.

Reiterating the phrase "black surrogates", Alex Scott noted that the UBP, formed to "crush the PLP", was no more.

He reminded the audience that the PLP's 50th anniversary was near.

"We need you to honour the names of all those who have gone before," Mr Scott said. "Stand strong."

It was, as constituency 15 hopeful Walter Roban said, "the last rally in a long journey".

Constituency 13 hopeful Glenn Blakeney urged the audience not to fall for "the smiling faces lying to the races".

Ewart Brown speaks to the audience at the PLP rally at Berkeley Institute on Saturday.
Ewart Brown raises his arm to the audience at the PLP rally at Berkeley Institute on Saturday.
Cheerleaders at the PLP Central Rally at Berkeley.
PLP candidates on stage at the PLP rally at Berkeley Institute on Saturday.

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Published December 17, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 16, 2012 at 11:53 pm)

Former Premier Brown in rousing form at final PLP rally

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