PLP names Swan in St George’s West
Kim Swan has been named as the Progressive Labour Party's General Election candidate for St George's West.
Mr Swan, the former leader of the United Bermuda Party, was unveiled at a press conference at Mullet Bay Park yesterday and will fight for the Constituency 2 seat held by Nandi Outerbridge of the One Bermuda Alliance.
It means he will be representing the party he once attempted to pass a motion of no confidence against and often fiercely criticised during his days as a long-serving Opposition senator and MP.
Asked about this last night, Mr Swan told The Royal Gazette it was the responsibility of an MP to “speak on issues”.
“You have to hold their feet to the fire,” Mr Swan said. “I did that, and I did that with respect for those whose feet I was holding to the fire.”
He said he believed it was this forthrightness that led to him being “embraced” by the PLP after he switched allegiances in 2014.
“In the thrust of doing the people's business, I was always respectful to the people that I was challenging.” Constituents, Mr Swan said, were “very pleased” by his move to the party. “I'm very humbled by the type of support that I'm finding.”
Yesterday's announcement followed the unveiling earlier this week in St George's North of Renee Ming, who ran for the PLP in St George's West at the last election. Mr Swan competed for that seat as an independent and received 214 votes, compared with 359 for Ms Outerbridge and 355 for Ms Ming.
“You and I stand here in reclaimed land,” Mr Swan told those in attendance yesterday.
“This will be a reclaimed constituency for the Progressive Labour Party.”
He pledged to be accessible and responsive to constituent concerns.
“Your issues will remain on the front burner,” he said.
Mr Swan touched on matters to be addressed, including the restoration of the St George's Golf Course, coastal erosion in Mullet Bay, and the call by residents for a pipeline to provide potable water to households west of Khyber Pass.
Community safety was also discussed. “I will assist in ensuring that residents of St George's feel safe and secure in their homes and that our community is regularly policed,” he said.
Calling the Government “callously insensitive”, Mr Swan said that the time had come “to lock arms and walk in step on behalf of marginalised Bermudians”.
PLP leader David Burt introduced Mr Swan as a man committed to the wellbeing of St George's who had an “enduring commitment to the people”.
“He has proven to be committed to the Progressive Labour Party's vision of a just and fair Bermuda society — a vision that seeks to serve the other Bermuda, which has been forgotten by the One Bermuda Alliance,” Mr Burt said. He described Mr Swan, a former professional golfer, as a man who “knows how to compete with dignity”.
Mr Swan's candidacy announcement yesterday fell just ahead of groundbreaking at the site of the St Regis Hotel — a project long since promised in the East End.
Asked about the possibility of defeating the OBA in the parish, Mr Swan said that the people of St George's need and deserve representation.
“I am just looking to the people of Bermuda to look past photo ops,” he said of the groundbreaking ceremony. “I know they know what time it is.”
Mr Swan was the leader of the UBP from 2008 to 2011, towards the end of more than two decades of service with the now-defunct party.
He first stood as a General Election candidate in 1983, and ran unsuccessfully twice more — as well as serving in the Senate for nine years — before finally winning in St George's West against Dean Foggo of the PLP in 2007.
Shortly afterwards, he was elected party leader. After all but one of his colleagues quit in 2011 to form the One Bermuda Alliance, he remained party leader for several months, but the UBP eventually folded and Mr Swan ran as an independent in the 2012 election.
What Swan said...
“People don't need to study statistics to understand the slippage, they sense it. It is all around us today in business declines and layoffs, gangs and shootings, unpunished crime, political division, classroom dysfunction, arrogance and favouritism, fewer visitors, angry businessmen, Hollywood glitz, two sets of rules, overdevelopment of land and buildings and, let's face it, low national morale.”
November 2009, UBP Throne Speech reply
“My colleagues and I are not giving up on St George's. For some unfathomable reason the PLP Government did, but we and the people of St George's can end that and get the Olde Towne working again for all its people.”
October 2010, on St George's
“The country is heading in the wrong direction and I believe that I still have much to offer to get Bermuda back on track. I am determined to work with the leadership and membership of the PLP, in whatever capacity needed.”
August 2014, on joining the PLP
“Our team will address the restoration of the St George's Golf Course, and coastal erosion along Mullet Bay. We will support all education institutions especially those in St George's, by focusing on educational, cultural and social development. We will provide solutions to those residents calling for a pipeline providing potable water to households west of Khyber Pass. And I will work with the Mayor and Corporation of St George to ensure the town of St George's is restored to a vibrant working town.
May 2017, as the PLP candidate for St George's West