WEDNESDAY, DEC. 5: A ‘secret’ document allegedly laying out a UBP game-plan to win the black vote was first revealed three years ago.

A document — in parts similar in tone to a version made public recently — was reported on by ZBM in 2009.

Former UBP leader Michael Dunkley — quoted in The Royal Gazette at the time — was quizzed on the phrase “black surrogates” and on advice that he should have had a lower profile during the 2007 election campaign.

Mr Dunkley, when asked if the party had taken the advice, said then: “No, it didn’t happen. That report was an embarrassment to me and an embarrassment to the members of my party.

“They said Michael Dunkley was too much out in front. Well, duh, I was leader of the party.”

Also, former UBP leader Wayne Furbert — who by then had defected to the ruling PLP — said in 2011 he was “aware” of a document prepared by US consultants advising that the party split and then later reunite under a new name.

The claims at the time appear to have passed with little comment — unlike the pre-election war of words which has broken out in recent days.

John Barritt, then leader of the newly-formed OBA, which brought together the UBP’s breakaway Bermuda Democratic Alliance and the majority of UBP MPs under the same banner, was quoted in The Royal Gazette as saying the new party was “not following the script of something consultants suggested years ago”.

Mr Furbert said then that the tactic was designed to appeal to the black voters the Oppostion needed to convince to have any hope of winning a General Election.

A version of a report, alleged to have been prepared by US consultants in the wake of Dr Ewart Brown’s 2007 General Election victory, was published on website UBPleaks.

The report’s purported authors denied writing it — and threatened legal action if the claims were repeated.

The firm involved said the letterhead was not theirs, while the date on one of the versions in circulation predated the December 2007 poll. It also highlighted errors in the address attached to the letterhead.

The report — versions of which have come to light in recent weeks — said that “new, downscale, less-educated voters” in two key constituencies “were not likely to vote for us [the UBP”.

The report added: “We may have been better served lowering his (then-UBP leader Michael Dunkley’s) profile a bit, letting a handful of black surrogates play a more visible role.”

It also said: “One scenario might involve breaking the party into two groups — a United Bermuda Party which would consist of the remaining UBP stalwarts like Grant (Gibbons), Louise (Jackson), Trevor (Moniz), John Barritt, for example — and a second party consisting of all the new and younger candidates.”

And the report said: “The two independent groups might work together…for the next election cycle, giving the UBP a chance to phase out gradually.”

The document added that undecided black voters tended to “break back to their black party” by a 2:1 margin.