My hero! Premier Dr Brown’s decision may not have pleased everyone but to four men, at least, he is a hero. After a week on the island the Guantanamo refugees met the Premier yesterday and thanked him. “They repeatedly apologized for causing me such a political firestorm, but I told them that I did what I did because it was the right thing to do, that their freedom was of great importance,” said the Premier, pictured here With Khalil Manut. “I am extremely happy to meet Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and Mrs. Brown,” Mr. Manut told us. “This made me very pleased and excited.  I am very grateful to the Bermudian government and Bermudian people.  I would like express my appreciation to those who made my freedom possible, especially Dr. Brown and Colonel Burch.” *Photo: Leslie Todd, DCI.
My hero! Premier Dr Brown’s decision may not have pleased everyone but to four men, at least, he is a hero. After a week on the island the Guantanamo refugees met the Premier yesterday and thanked him. “They repeatedly apologized for causing me such a political firestorm, but I told them that I did what I did because it was the right thing to do, that their freedom was of great importance,” said the Premier, pictured here With Khalil Manut. “I am extremely happy to meet Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and Mrs. Brown,” Mr. Manut told us. “This made me very pleased and excited.  I am very grateful to the Bermudian government and Bermudian people.  I would like express my appreciation to those who made my freedom possible, especially Dr. Brown and Colonel Burch.” *Photo: Leslie Todd, DCI.
Premier Ewart Brown did not appear yesterday like a man who is fighting desperately for his political life.

From the clamour on the street for him to resign, to the concerted campaign by the Opposition to have him kicked out, Dr. Brown is currently facing enemies wherever he turns.

But yesterday he stated calmly and confidently he is here to stay. He told the Bermuda Sun that the week has been tough, for him and his wife, Wanda.

But he said the negative experiences would only make him stronger. He said: "I can tell you we have both been through the fire before, both inside Bermuda and elsewhere. We see this is an important part of our own development: part of the process of being able to give our best to the country."

Today, MPs vote on a Motion of No Confidence in the Government led by Dr. Brown. The UBP has been trying to win the support of rebel PLP members by telling them the motion is targeted solely at the Premier and not the Government as a whole. However, under Bermuda's Constitution, a vote of no confidence would automatically count against the whole Government and would most likely lead to a snap general election (see panel, below). PLP insiders say potential rebels will stay loyal to the Premier to prevent this happening.

Dr. Brown also believes the party is closing ranks to protect the party. He said: "No matter how it is worded, a motion of no confidence challenges the status of the Government, if you will - the ability of the Government to govern. They talk about targeting an individual but their real target is to unseat the PLP Government. They know there is some dissension within our ranks and they are simply trying to capitilise on it, which is understandable."

At least five PLP members have previously openly stated their dissatisfaction with Dr. Brown's leadership style. However, several have told the Bermuda Sun that they will find it difficult to support a motion that could cause damage to the PLP.

Two of the most hardliner rebels - believed to be Wayne Perinchief (now an independent) and Randy Horton - have spent this week trying to persuade others to support the motion. As a counter attack, Dr. Brown says he has been reminding potential rebels of their loyalty to the party. He said: "I have told PLP members that the party was elected to govern in 2007 and that we should never relinquish government because the UBP tries to do a backdoor manoeuvre.

"That message has gone down very well. Our members understand that the party is more important than any individual leader or member. That's a tenet of the PLP. Our motto is: 'PLP all the way, all the way PLP.' It is not: 'Ewart Brown all the way, all the way Ewart Brown.' Keeping the party in power is the primary obligation of the party. I feel our members will respect that."

The Opposition says the motion of no confidence had been brewing for some time, but the final straw was Dr. Brown's almost single-handed move to bring four Guantanamo refugees to the island. The Guantanamo controversy also prompted hundreds of people to chant "Brown must go," in the Cabinet grounds on Friday. A second protest is slated for today.

Dr. Brown said the protests - like the motion of no confidence - are the work of the Opposition. He said: "Friday's protest had the UBP fingerprints all over it. I would guess the vast majority of those protestors were UBP voters."

Premier's regret

Referring to the Guantanamo Four, Dr. Brown said he is sticking by his decision, even though he regrets causing Bermudians antagonism.

He said: "I am sorry for the reaction. I regret some of the impact of the decision, but I don't regret the decision. I still believe it was the right thing to do.

"I hope over time that will be observed by Bermuda's people. Bermudians, I hope, will be proud of that decision and they will see other countries looking at Bermuda and admiring Bermuda for doing what larger countries didn't dare to do."

Government MP Terry Lister agrees that Dr. Brown has nothing to fear from today's motion of no confidence. He said: "I think it will just slide by. I don't believe there is one single person in the PLP who is in the least bit interested in voting for the motion.

"The Opposition vote will be defeated, and handsomely defeated, and that will be the end of it. This is a vote on confidence in the government, and there is absolutely no reason to not have confidence in the government. Plus there is no viable alternative.

"Those on the Opposition should ask themselves: 'Are we ready to take over?' If not, then they should stay away from the vote."

Opposition Whip Cole Simons says the UBP are ready to step up to power if the motion did lead to a general election.

He said: "The Premier can call an election any time. We are a political party; we have to be prepared for an election anytime." However, he admits the country would not be best served at present by a general election. He said: "We have so many issues that need to be addressed: housing, healthcare, crime, education. People are having a difficult time financially. To add an election into this malaise would add more anxiety to the mix."

However, he said the party were forced to move against the Premier because he had "fundamentally violated the Constitution," in his move with the Guantanamo Four. He added: "We have been clear that this is about the leadership of this country. We believe the country deserves a Premier who abides by the law, is respectful of the Constitution and who operates under the proper democratic process."

However, MP and political expert Walton Brown said the UBP had disguised an attack on the PLP as an attack on Dr. Brown. He said: "It's a deft political move. That's what we do. If you see an opportunity to gain political ground that's what you do in a parliamentary democracy."

He said there is "no ambiguity" in the Constitution and if the motion succeeds the Governor would have to dissolve Parliament and call a general election. He urged his party to come together and talk rather than allow that to happen.