Home of the free? The Uighurs, who say they are delighted to be living at last in a democratic country, pose alongside Major Glenn Brangman in front of the Parliament buildings on a sightseeing trip to Hamilton on Monday. Less than 24 hours later the same lawn was mobbed with protesters expressing their anger at the way the deal to bring them here was handled. *Photo by James Whittaker
Home of the free? The Uighurs, who say they are delighted to be living at last in a democratic country, pose alongside Major Glenn Brangman in front of the Parliament buildings on a sightseeing trip to Hamilton on Monday. Less than 24 hours later the same lawn was mobbed with protesters expressing their anger at the way the deal to bring them here was handled. *Photo by James Whittaker
A drive to oust the Premier from office looks set to fail as disaffected PLP members circle their wagons to protect the party.

The move against Dr. Brown looked to take on real momentum yesterday as hundreds of people gathered to chant: "Brown must go." However, political insiders say the current storm is unlikely to cost the Premier his job.

The UBP needs the support of at least five rebel PLP MPs in order to force through a motion of no confidence in Dr. Brown.

Former Premier Alex Scott said they are unlikely to get it, adding: "The object of [the motion] was to focus on the Premier, but there are those who feel that it engages and

involves the government."

PLP MP Ashfield De Vent agreed. "I am not going to vote for anything that has even a remote chance of removing the PLP [from power]," he told the Bermuda Sun.

"They are not going to get the support they need."

In further good news for Dr. Brown, President Obama publicly thanked Bermuda for giving a home to four Guantanamo refugees. Obama said the island had performed "a great service" in the strongest sign yet Dr. Brown's decision has helped win friends across the Atlantic.
Seeing hundreds of people protesting yesterday, it would be easy to imagine the days of Ewart Brown's leadership are numbered.

However, the drive to have him deposed appears to be floundering because PLP MPs do not want to vote against their party.

The UBP needs at least five PLP members onside in order to push through a vote of no confidence in the Premier.

The motion states that the Opposition is pushing for a change of leader but "not necessarily" seeking a change of Government.

However, PLP members believe the wording is too vague and is being viewed as an attack on the Government as a whole.

Former Premier Alex Scott said: "There is considerable discussion about the wording of the motion at present. "Simply stated, folk are at sixes and sevens. The object of [the motion] was to focus on the Premier, but there are those who feel that it engages and involves the Government.

"The ongoing discussion now is which is which."

Mr. Scott said the motion needed to be more specifically targeted at the leader if it was going to gather the support it needed.

The Speaker

He added that the speaker of the House of Assembly may not even accept the motion in its present form.

Fellow PLP MP Ashfield DeVent said: "If they clearly have an issue with the Premier they have to clarify the situation to say that.

"I don't think anyone within the Government is going to side with a motion that could be interpreted as being targeted against the Government.

"I am not going to support a motion that has even a remote chance of removing the PLP [from power].

"If their problem is with Dr. Brown then they had to say their problem is with Dr. Brown, otherwise they are not going to get the support they need."

Mr. DeVent continued: "The UBP has to recognise that they lost the election and the general public do not want them in power.

"The UBP does not even know what direction it is going in. Some people see Dr. Brown as a problem, but it is a bigger problem to get in a party that doesn't even seem sure of its own direction."

Speculation abounds as to who among PLP MPs might be inclined to vote in favour of a motion to oust Dr. Brown. Rumoured rebels are Randy Horton, Michael Scott, Neleatha Butterfield, Jennifer Smith and even Deputy Premier Paula Cox. Ms Cox declined to comment on the matter yesterday and we were unable to reach the others.

'One-man rule'

UBP leader Kim Swan tabled the vote of no confidence last Friday. It must sit in the House of Assembly for at least two weeks before a vote. The motion read: "The public affairs of Bermuda are increasingly subject to the politics of one-man rule under the Premier, Dr. Ewart Brown.

"We consider this unhealthy and not in Bermuda's best interest."

It continued: "What we are seeking with this motion is a change of leadership for Bermuda - not necessarily a change of government at this time - but a change that can get this island back on a steady course, where we no longer are distracted by the antics of one man, where we can collectively get together, roll up our sleeves and start working on solutions that are best for Bermuda."

UBP MP and lawyer Trevor Moniz yesterday defended the way the motion is worded.

He said: "The only way to change the leader within the House [of Assembly] is with a motion of no confidence. We could only have made it broader, we could not have made it narrower."

Asked about those in the PLP who will not support the motion through fear it will harm the PLP, Mr. Moniz said: "They have to ask: 'does it do the party more harm to have a bad leader, or more harm supporting this motion?'"