The Progressive Labour Party, led by ruling premier Ewart Brown, has won Bermuda’s general election
The Progressive Labour Party, led by ruling premier Ewart Brown, has won Bermuda’s general election.
Brown’s party won 24 seats in the 36-seat parliament, maintaining its majority and defeating the opposition United Bermuda Party, which won the remainder.
"I am so proud tonight. I am proud to represent you. I am proud to lead this group of leaders. It is a new day," Brown told supporters at a late-night rally in the centre of the capital, Hamilton.
"My job is to help us heal after this tough war. We can only heal if we face the truth. You cannot fix what you will not face and our country must face the challenges that we have," Brown said.
Premier Brown was accused of corruption after the contents of a leaked police dossier were revealed earlier in 2007.
The dossier named Brown and other senior government figures as being at the centre of an $8m housing scandal.
Brown has hotly denied any wrongdoing and said he was exonerated following a full investigation. Others argue he was let off the hook due to antiquated Bermudian laws.
His comments since the leaked dossier, attempts to gag the local press (which were overturned both in Bermuda – a British colony – and the UK) and introduction of new rules governing expats on the island have all caused controversy.
“My job is to help us heal after this tough war. We can only heal if we face the truth
Premier Ewart Brown
Independence from Britain has been a long-term PLP goal but it was not on the election agenda and polls have revealed independence is not something most Bermudians want.
On such a small island where insurance and tourism are the main industries there has been concern over the political environment.
At the reinsurance industry's big gathering in Monte Carlo in September, many senior executives said they were concerned and some even revealed they had considered moving their business.
Most were unwilling to go on the record due to fears it could impact their business opportunities in the future. Some said they feared being seen as racist or anti-Bermudian.
Well-known Bermudian reinsurance businessman and Cyrus Re chairman Robin Spencer-Arscott did speak up however.
"I'm passionate about the political stabilisation and future of Bermuda," he told Global Reinsurance in June. "My hope is that the island will remain stable. It affects so many things, including people’s attitudes towards their friends, their family and their jobs. If you get even a little bit of unrest it is very worrying and we’ve got to get it straightened out."
"When things happen here they happen right on our doorstep," he added. "All the major companies here have boltholes elsewhere and they're not going to take this dictatorship-type approach."