Political swan song? Charles and Kim Swan are among senior UBP figures opposed to the way in which the apparent demise of the party has been handled. *File photo
Political swan song? Charles and Kim Swan are among senior UBP figures opposed to the way in which the apparent demise of the party has been handled. *File photo
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11: Plans for the official launch for the new One Bermuda Alliance party have been thrown into disarray after an eleventh hour challenge by senior UBP members to the merger with the BDA.

The new party had hoped to launch tomorrow Thursday in time for the start of the new parliamentary session on Friday.

But at temporary court injunction granted by Commercial Court Puisne Judge Ian Kawaley to a group of rebel party members — including UBP leader Kim Swan and MP Charles Swan — has put the party on hold.

The respondents to the injunction — UBP chairman and Senator Jeanne Atherden, UBP veteran MP John Barritt and deputy party leader Trevor Moniz — were given 24 hours to respond.

Kim Swan and Charles Swan were joined by ex-UBP Senator Charlie Marshall, former MP Erwin Adderley, joint party chairman Montell Currin as well as party members Robert Lewis, Ola Gabisi, Patience Godfrey and Austin Wood in asking for a hold on the merger.

Kim Swan said last night that angry party members had approached him, furious that they had not been allowed to discuss the merger.

He added: “It therefore can be no surprise that I and a very committed group of UBP members decided to do all that we could to ensure that, if our party was to be dissolved, as many people as possible discussed, debated and decided to do so.

“It was only after all our conciliatory approaches were rejected that I and the group applied for and secured an injunction preventing the dissolution of the UBP.

“Our arguments were based on the fact that there is a clear procedure within our branches for all of our members’ opinions to he heard and followed when dealing with issues such as this and all our members were not given any real opportunity to have a proper discussion of these critically important issues.”

Procedures

Mr Marshall added: “I’m not against the new party or the change, but there are procedures and constitutional responsibilities that the officers of the party have to conform to.

“In my opinion, that’s not been done and if we’re going to do this thing, we’ve got to do it right.”

UBP MP Mr Barritt, who was to lead the new party on an interim basis, declined to comment until he had been served with the injunction.

Mr Moniz, who also backed the new party, said: “I have to see the injunction and discuss it with my colleagues — what we have seen isn’t clear.”

And he attempted to downplay the move — set to embarrass the new party before it even gets off the ground.

Mr Moniz said: “You expect some bumps along the road and we’re prepared for that. We’re going to meet and discuss all of this.

“It is unfortunate, though.”

Mr Moniz added that he had no idea why Kim Swan – who set up the group to find a way forward for the UBP and which came back with a recommendation to merge with the BDA — had taken legal action to halt the move.

He said: “That’s the curious thing. I honestly don’t know the answer to that. I wouldn’t want to speculate on people’s motives.”

He declined to discuss whether Mr Swan — who would have lost his leadership role to Mr Barritt — was angry at being sidelined.

Mr Moniz said: “I make no speculation on that.”

It is understood that Mr Barritt’s appointment as OBA leader was pending a vote for the top job — and that the interim leader was barred from standing, although any other MP could throw their hat in the ring.

Splinter group

The UBP voted only a week ago to dissolve and create the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) with the BDA, a splinter group including three MPs, that split from the Opposition in 2009.

A spokesman for the PLP declined to comment on the row.

He said: “The Progressive Labour Party continues to be focused on navigating through the challenges facing our country at this time.”