Focus group finds UBP should disband

An internal focus group commissioned by the United Bermuda Party has said the party needs to disband.

Most United Bermuda Party MPs were staying tight-lipped about the latest blow to the Opposition’s political fortunes last night, with some saying they knew little of the details.

The party, which ran Bermuda for 30 years until 1998, has lost the last three general elections and the latest poll showed it still lagging behind the Progressive Labour Party, despite the unpopularity of Premier Dr. Ewart Brown.’s April survey showed the Progressive Labour Party remains marginally ahead of the United Bermuda Party, with 40 percent saying they would vote PLP, 37 percent UBP and 22 percent not sure or refusing to answer.

Both parties’ rating have climbed two percentage points since January, with the ‘not sures’ down from 26 percent. Among whites, 86 percent would vote UBP, four percent PLP and eight percent aren’t sure. Among blacks, 62 percent would vote PLP, 14 percent UBP and 22 percent aren’t sure.

UBP MP John Barritt said he didn’t know the details of the focus group.

But he added: “Am I surprised? No, not necessarily. It would not be something we are not hearing. I am one of those people wanting to examine what the reason is.”

However Mr. Barritt said changing the party’s name would not make any difference.

He said: “A rose is a rose by any other name. Something more profound than that is required.”

Colleague Shawn Crockwell said the party was still waiting for the final report but changes needed to be made.

He added: “I think we are expecting the same information we received before the 2007 election, it isn’t surprising it’s the final conclusion to the actual report.

“The question is what to do? I am suggesting we follow the recommendations of the people and make the necessary adjustments to be more appealing to the electorate, the Country deserves it.”

Former United Bermuda MP Maxwell Burgess said his former colleagues needed to stop taking the failure of the UBP personally.

He said Bermuda politics had undergone a profound change in 1998 with the election of the PLP and the UBP could not operate on the basis of a few blacks joining a white power structure.

Instead whites need to trust blacks with their political future and join them.

Last night a UBP spokesman said: “The United Bermuda Party is fully engaged in the serious business of holding the PLP Government to account at a time when Bermudians are intensely concerned about rising crime, gang violence, managing an economic downturn, public education and protecting Bermuda’s international business reputation.

“The Party is working hard and has no plans other than to provide the people of this country with the strongest, most effective Opposition, particularly given the serious concerns about the leadership of the government.

“People across Bermuda recognise the job we are doing and its importance.

“Indeed, The Royal Gazette’s own recent polls show the UBP in a statistical dead heat with the PLP. ”

The spokesman said the party had nothing else on its agenda but doing the best possible job for the people of this country.

“For the record, focus groups are small groups of individuals who are statistically unrepresentative of the voting base as a whole.

“They are often used to generate a range of ideas and issues, that in some cases, are further tested in polls, where the opinions of a statistically meaningful sample of the voting population is measured.”


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