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FDM is ‘one party too many’ for Bermuda

It sprang as a new voice in Bermuda politics, including a group of six defectors from the United Bermuda Party.

In November 2009, the Bermuda Democratic Alliance promised jaded voters “a better way”.

In the end, it joined forces with UBP remnants as the One Bermuda Alliance, which unseated the Progressive Labour Party government in December 2012.

Alex DeCouto, a former caucus chairman of the BDA, said yesterday that the new Free Democratic Movement, which declared itself last week as a contender on October 1, had “sprouted up because the OBA is showing weakness, but also because the PLP is showing too much strength”.

Mr DeCouto, president of Greymane Contracting Ltd, commented strictly on logistical issues, emphasising he had no “ear to the ground — nor have I been knocking on doors”.

He said a third political party was “too much to ask of Bermuda's limited resources”.

He said: “Behind every party of elected officials is a machine of fundraising, committees, polling, research, volunteers and donors. There just isn't enough competent people and willing money to go around to make it work with three parties all vying for a majority.”

Mr DeCouto added: “Once you get to the point where a party is managing the interest and ambitions of 25 to 30 MPs, where your back bench is larger than your front, where caucus would be an unruly exercise of herding cats, it will be an extremely difficult beast to keep hold of.

“A super majority like that would be difficult to maintain without splinters.

“When smart, passionate people are not being heard or feel they do not have a voice, they will find another way.”

Mr DeCouto said that, rather than allowing any runway for the new group led by Marc Bean, the former PLP leader, “an early election should stifle that threat for now”.

“I do not see PLP losing any ground; more likely they will gain ground. Maybe there will be a surprise or two, but surely the PLP have it locked.

“But I don't think having 30 MPs in one party is sustainable.”

He said such an increase for the ruling party would spiral into “splinters” and “leadership challenges”.

Speaking on the eve of nomination day, Mr DeCouto said: “Given how 2020 has gone, I expect to be floored by tomorrow's candidate registration deadline, though.”

The FDM got welcoming remarks from the two main parties.

A PLP spokeswoman called the introduction of a third party a good sign for the island's political health.

She said: “It speaks to the health of our democracy that new parties and independents are looking to run and represent the people.

“We welcome them and look forward to hearing more about their vision for the country.”

A spokesman for the OBA added: “It is good to see more people step up like this.

“Given who is leading the new party, there is clearly a sentiment that an alternative to the PLP is needed.”

Alex DeCouto, the former caucus chairman of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance (Photograph supplied)

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Published September 10, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated September 10, 2020 at 8:40 am)

FDM is ‘one party too many’ for Bermuda

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