The UBP’s Leadership Changes

I am still astounded that the NewBP has so far failed to relaunch itself, and about the only thing we hear about it is fluffy meaningless rhetoric and sniping between it and the UBP itself. Incidentally though, I happen to think that Mr. Sousa at least has grasped the need for the UBP to stop putting on a blackface. In the mean time I see that the UBP has been making some changes to both its website and its constitution.

As for its website, I see that they have finally gotten around to removing the page with pictures of its MPs and candidates and replacing it with an updated one based on text only. The old page had increasingly become a bit of an embarrassment for the UBP as it continued to show pictures of the NewBP members. In addition, the UBP has finally put their constitution online (I do not recall it being available previously). The various consitutional document are dated to 2001, with the exception of one 2003 amendment.

Over the weekend the UBP amended its constitution, with the main headline being the changes made to the election of its Party Leaders. Other amendments were also apparently made, althought these are not expanded on by the UBPs press release. Also, the amended 2009 UBP Constitution is not available yet, so my thoughts on the issue are based solely on the press release by Mr. Sousa.

I find the amendments made to their leadership selection process curious, but in general to the benefit of the Party, increasing its stability. It seems to broaden the people involved in electing the leader considerably, where previously only the parliamentary caucus was able to elect the leader, now it includes ‘the Central Council of the party, which is comprised of two delegates from each branch (the MP or adopted candidate and the branch chairman), regional chairmen, Party senators, the President of Young United and officers of the party, which includes the party chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and treasurer‘.

These changes do have their problems however, the most obvious one being the criticism that is often made of the PLP’s internal election system, that the PLP constitution conflicts with the Bermuda Constitution, which states that the Premier is elected by the majority of MPs. This conflict has lead to a number of constitutional crises for both the PLP and the Government, with the most notable example being the 2003 ‘palace coup’ that led to Premier Jennifer Smith’s replacement by Premier Alex Scott. More recently some members of the PLP have threatened to adopt this strategy to replace Premeir Dr. Brown, although this seems to have been averted so far. This tension seems unavoidable though, and my position is that both can be maintained, even if this involves losing power, advocating for the Parties to expel any members, in particular MPs, who seek to undermine the Party constituion.

I do think the UBP has made an error in its amendment in one section however. Under the amendments it seems that the UBP Senators are able to vote on the Leadership. While this was a slight bone of contention within the PLP, it was decided (and I agree with it), that Senators, who are appointed by the Leader, should not be allowed to vote, as they would be a bloc expected to vote for the individual who appointed them. While a similar argument could be made for Cabinet appointees, the Senators have a greater interest in voting for the incumbent than Cabinet appointees, and accordingly their votes should be invalid. I would hope that the UBP amends its constitution in the future to account for this issue; in the PLP I believe it has now been established that Senators are excluded from leadership votes.

It is not clear what amendments the UBP may have been made for initiating a Leadership election. Under the 2001 document, the Third Schedule (The Election of the Party Leader and Deputy Leader) states that there should be an election for Leader when (a) the leader resigns; (b) the leader ceases to be an MP; or (c) a motion of no confidence is passed on the leader. I realise that the UBP has been mooting the idea of waiting until the parliamentary Christmas break to sort out the Leadership issue, but to me it makes more sense to get the issue over and done with as quickly as possible so that the UBP can more adequately respond to the Throne Speech and new Parliamentary term. In its current state of confusion, the current Leader, Mr. Kim Swan, comes across as an increasingly lame duck Leader, the Deputy Leader, Mr. Trevor Moniz, looks like he is in open rebellion with his Leader and should just declare himself an Independent instead of dragging it out, and the Great Pretender, Mr. E.T. Bob Richards, seems hamstrung and impotent. I would advocate that the UBP gets itself organised to hold an election meeting under the new rules, and Mr. Swan should offer his resignation and trigger the leadership election, where he and Mr. Richards can then campaign.

28 thoughts on “The UBP’s Leadership Changes

  1. It is interesting timing to be changing leadership rules. On the one hand, I’d like to hope that they’re trying to be forward thinking, but on the other I’m not sure I can trust that this isn’t being driven by a leader in waiting.

    Then again, as interesting as it is, it doesn’t really matter at the moment. After hearing the premier’s speech on the 15th, and the lack of criticism it has drawn from the public (for you know, lying while smiling) I’m now firmly of the opinion that Bermudians just don’t care about politics anymore.

    Perhaps that was always Brown’s strategy – disenfranchise the more politically minded Bermudian voters, and win elections by getting out the masses who don’t really care, but are happy enough to take a morning off work…

  2. Wow LIF… nice way to slide away from the main topic. Deflecting from the point and putting it back on the Premier is always a solid tactic.

    Maybe if the UBP started reflecting on what went wrong instead of deflecting responsibility to anyone and everyone, they wouldn’t be the laughing stock they truly are. People in glass houses… they can hardly form an opinion about anything when they don’t have one to begin with.

    I will agree with one thing you said though… Who the hell cares about politics any more?

  3. According to RG website, Kim Swan has in fact resigned his Leadership. There will be a leadership vote next week Thursday between he and Bob Richards.
    Should be very interesting.

  4. Yeah, I just saw that.

    I’m curious to see if they both publically present their campaign positions, or if it will be internal like. I would like to see what their rival visions for the UBP and Bermuda are.

    Should be interesting indeed. I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Both call themselves reformists, yet most people that know both of them, don’t call them that.

    Personally I think Kim is more genuine and in politics more out of service to the people. I think Bob is more in politics because of the perceived esteem and to follow in his father’s footsteps.

    My $$ is on Kim to retain the leadership. He took over when the UBP had just lost the election. Why didn’t Bob want the reigns at that point?

  6. Is it possible to be a reformist in the UBP? Will the voting public ever accept that as a concept?

    I recently met Kim and found him to be very geniune, and I agree I do think he’s in it for Bermuda. But I’m not sure he has the political acumen to lead the UBP to a victory.

    It’s funny that, in a way. I’d love a leader who I really believed loved Bermuda and was acting as a statesman. But they will no longer get elected in today’s politics. You need someone willing to get down into the dirty politics trenches and do whatever it takes to discredit your opponent.

    As such, and due to wheels spinning and no movement at the UBP under Kim, I’d imagine Bob Richards will walk the vote.

    I apologise for the earlier aside, just pisses me off to no end, and creates so much apathy towards politics in Bermuda.

  7. I really don’t see how the UBP can actually think things are going to turn around for them. Even if their hearts were to be in the best place and willing to do whatever it takes to turn Bermuda around for the better, majority of people are not going to change their votes from PLP. It is akin to being a traitor, a Benedict Arnold from what I have heard. If anything, the grassroots that are disenfranchised with the PLP would just abstain from voting if they didn’t want to give their vote to PLP.

  8. The problem I have between Kim and Bob is that i think Kim is genuine, but not quite a ‘leader’, whereas Bob may be a leader but his genuineness is in question.

    I dont think either have the ability to pull the UBP back to a political force that could be viable. Politically, i think Kim has more of a shot of winning votes. Look at what happened in Constituency11. Michael dunkley won by 270ish votes in 2003, and this year Bob Richards won by 27. Against the same candidate. I do think the PLP candidate Neville Tyrrell worked tirelessly to try and win the seat, however, that is a vast difference in voter margin. Bob Richards is a love him or hate him type of politician and I dont see the public gravitating to him.

  9. do you want “genuineness” or “competence”?

    Ideally both. But this is politics and we have to settle for “electability” – while both individuals exhibit that to a greater or lesser degree, the UBP is not currently electable and I doubt it ever will be again.

  10. I agree with Blankman in that preferably both.
    Many of you criticize the current PLP leadership as being disingenuous and only in it for themselves…i know many people that have that same opinion of Bob Richards.

  11. it will be also interesting what happens with the NewBP depending on who wins the leadership vote. If Kim Swan wins, will Bob leave the UBP and join another group? Kim has already said if he loses he will remain a UBP member. I cannot see Bob remaining an active member under Kim’s leadership.

  12. I think you should all re-read what you all wrote, accussed others of and why the UBP is where it is today.

    As for basically politics stinks in Bermuda et al …..

    Who has brought on this thinking and state of mind.

    What events whether spoken or seen or interpreted have brought this about.

    Why are we where we are.

    History is a bitch and know it gets whipped by those that have no clue yet blame it on the overburdened Ass that carried us too this stage yet was slaughtered with words that will haunt the next generation and the next.

  13. Thank you for posting my comments Comrade Starling. May the vodka flow from the fields of Idaho. I’m sure you get it but ice cubes do melt.

    Gotta run,,,,,…….Off to Afganistan for two days…….”just a trip to seal a lip”……………

  14. I think Mr. Richards will win. I believe that Mr. Swan will be viewed as presiding over the lack of initiative since 2007, and in particular is overshadowed by the recent split. Furthermore, he hasn’t appeared to have much authority over the UBP since the splits, being a leader in name only really. I reckon the UBP will look to his replacement as a cathartic moment; a chance to regroup and fight back.

    Will it do them any good? Not sure. I think they have the potential to reform into an effective opposition, although this will take them some time.

  15. Interesting – the letters to the editor today seem to all support Mr. Swan.

    I have no idea how it will play out…there doesnt seem to be a lot of excitement over it.

    I dont think MR Richards will be agood replacement but i think the party is just searching for something/someone to make a move. Maybe they will feel that a change is better than no change…

  16. Yes, I just saw that. I notice also that they are all using pen-names, which is rather curious.

    I still think Mr. Barritt is the best possible leader of the UBP, but with his musings about running as an Independent of late would seem to rule him out.

  17. If Mr. Richards is chosen, it will be the best thing that’s happened for the PLP since 1998. If the UBP thinks that people are fleeing now, they should see what would happen if Bob Richards is chosen/selected/elected as their leader.

  18. Howcome? I haven’t been paying any attention to the circus going on so might have missed something, but offhand I can’t think of any reason he’d be that bad for the party. I don’t think he’d be a great leader but dunno how he’d be that much worse than any of the members of the revolving door they’ve had over the last few years

  19. “on October 29, 2009 at 4:24 pm sparxx
    a leadership fight in the UBP is akin to kissing your sister. It qualifies as a kiss… but who the hell cares?”

    @Sparx: that is about the funniest thing I think I have read in years!!!! Well done Bye!

    Yeah between the two I have always loved Mr. Swan’s passion in politics, something which the UBP has lacked for 20 years.

    But Mr. Richards I respect for his opinion on finance, and his intelligence in general. That and he looks way better bald than I ever could….

    If I had to pick between the two (as Sparx so eloquently puts it, the race is irrelevant) I’d have to say Richards. At this point in History the UBP may need Fire, but Bermuda needs Brains.

  20. @ Ms Furbert – Surely being the government and getting to implement policies that better the Bermudian people is the best thing to happen to the PLP since 1998?

    Not having a crumbling opposition?

    There I was thinking politics is about governing, forgot it was just a competition…

  21. Oh LaVerne…we thought we lost you there for a while but we all know you were just waiting to get the word from cousin Ewart to jump in and start the spin again.

    Well done…right on cue….

    Your as predictable as Jean Dixon without the gloom……………….

    Soon it will be Christmas and I am sure you have many presents in your sliegh….Ho Ho Ho……………………

  22. Ken – you know you are allowed to post something apart from stating the bleeding obvious with the addenda that it is somehow “very interesting”.

    If the internal bickering of a political irrelevance is “very interesting” I suggest you get out more.

    Do you think that Dr Browns ego-maniacal posturing and acting as an enabler to the vanishing of significant unaccountable amount of public funds is “interesting”?

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