A third party
Time for a little bit of politics, look away now if you have no interest in a government stuck on a rock in the middle of the ocean. Since my arrival just over a year ago I have taken a sideways interest in Bermudian politics if solely for the reason that it is so crooked. Not in a Chicago Champions League bent politics kind of way you understand, but more in a Ryman Isthmian League kind of style.
There are two political parties in Bermuda, the residing Progressive Labour Party
(PLP) and the opposition United Bermuda Party
(UBP). Historically the PLP was a black working class party that originally formed in the 1960's to end racial discrimination and economic disparity following considerable immigration from the West Indies in the decade leading up to that. In 1965 a two-party system was formed with the establishment of the UBP, made up mostly of conservative white Bermudians with some black voters and in 1968 the UBP became the first Government under Bermuda’s new Constitution and then stayed in power for 22 years until defeated by the PLP in the 1998 elections.
In the 2003 election the PLP remained in power winning 22 out of 36 seats, but then a cabinet minister named Dr Ewart Brown appeared on the scene and remarkably led a party coup a week later. The two parties agreed to a compromise candidate, Alex Scott, to become Premier of Bermuda, while Brown would hold the deputy premiership but in 2006 Brown made a bid for the leadership and defeated Scott and was sworn in as Premier in October 2006 and has remained ever since, winning the 2007 election and gaining in roughly equal measures sycophants, enemies and those just plain bewildered by his leadership.
The PLP appeared to have caused a lot of scars during their time in office led by the dictatorial Brown. The party continues to ramble on about black empowerment and clearly remains committed to the goal of independence from Great Britain but without Brown the PLP would probably still sweep another election tomorrow mainly due to the inefficiencies of the opposition UBP party which has been in freefall for some time. Talk amongst acquainted locals is that the country needs another choice, a 3rd party, well Bermudians maybe about to get their wish.
Six MP's from the UBP resigned on Sunday night including the influential shadow labour and home affairs minister Shaun Crockwell, shadow cabinet member Mark Pettingill and ex-party chairman and senator Michael Fahy. Six in total have resigned with a new party obviously on the horizon and sources say up to 20 party members have contacted UBP officers to say they want to follow suit
A letter signed by all six members said: "We believe that in the best interest of Bermuda it is incumbent that a new political party is formed to provide the people with a better way unencumbered with the division and the polarisation of racial politics which has fettered the community for too long. Consequently, we intend on offering Bermuda that better way through a new party with a new vision."
Just what this country needs, and all the reason for political ridiculers like myself to stay here for a while longer.