It's been an uncomfortable 24 hours for former UBP chairman Gwyneth Rawlins but last night she breathed a sigh of relief saying: "Now I can finally get on with my life."

Ms Rawlins, 57, made a sensational exit from the party on Wednesday night, saying she had not been allowed to grow as a politician, that she had been disrespected and that it was still run by the old white elite.

In her only media interview yesterday she said she had no regrets about airing the party's dirty laundry and that it's time people knew the truth about who is really pulling the strings.

The party had tried to reinvent itself after losing the 1998 general election as a party intent on promoting diversity. But according to Ms Rawlins, it's still got a long, long way to go.

She told us: "It could very well be that the UBP needs to spend another five years in the wilderness. It would give them yet another chance to fix what is wrong in there."

Ms. Rawlins' comments hold a lot of weight. She has been involved in the party since 1998 and was the chairman for three-and-a-half years.

Her statement, which you can read in full on our website, left many questions unanswered. Who disrespected her? What did she mean when she said she wasn't allowed to grow politically? And who are the racists in the party?

Ms Rawlins told us she became involved with the UBP after getting divorced. "I was looking for a new direction," she said.

After the 1998 election, she stepped back into her own life and reconnected with the party again in 2001 when she was appointed party secretary and then chairman in 2003. She also ran and lost to Ewart Brown in the 2003 general election.

When she talks about not being allowed to grow politically she says: "I'm talking about not being allowed to progress to a level to the extent of eventually getting in the House [of Assembly].

"After rising through the ranks from volunteer to party chairman, it would seem logical that I would aspire to become a Member of Parliament. I had paid my dues and earned my spurs. It seemed to me a natural progression."

Ms Rawlins said she applied for a Senate seat three times when Grant Gibbons was the leader. "On each occasion the seat was given to somebody with less political experience," she said.

The excuse she was given is that the people were chosen because they could provide the best continuity at the time and they needed the exposure. "I never quite understood that," she said.

Ms Rawlins was disappointed but she got on with the job, thinking of the bigger picture - what was best for the party.

Snubbed for a Senate seat, she thought she might be given what would be considered a more winnable constituency seat in the 2003 election. Instead she got Warwick South Central, which was won by Ewart Brown who went on to become the leader of the country.

"I began then to recognize that I would not be allowed to grow politically in that environment," she said, adding that her goal throughout was to serve in the House, where she could have a real say in the decision-making process.

The buzz she had experienced when she first became involved the party was beginning to wear off.

She said: "I am about growth. I'm a person with ambition. I strive to be my best in whatever I attempt. At 57, I want upward mobility."

Her parliamentary ambitions sidelined, Ms Rawlins said she might still be in the party if it weren't for the disrespect she experienced as the chairman.

We asked for examples of how she was disrespected. She summed it up by saying she was left out of some important decision-making and left it there.

"This is not about fighting dirty, tit for tat. Suffice to say, that in my position I should not have been allowed to find out things by people who did not share the same level of authority as me."

Initially, Ms Rawlins thought this was because she was a woman and not because she is black. She was, after all, the first woman chairman in the party's history.

But as she began to pay more attention, it became more obvious that some of the party's white officers and people at a more grassroots level were, in her mind, more comfortable sharing information with people of the same colour.

"I began to witness the superiority that I have learnt is at the base of race issues. I saw that white members were not treating other white members the way they were treating me," she said.

Ms Rawlins badly wanted to believe in the philosophy of the so-called 'new' UBP and was still attracted to the idea of diversity. But the reality was she continued to feel as though she was going against the grain. Her ideas and contributions had to be vetted by the leader of the party. "That's when I began to realize that there was this struggle between party and parliamentary group and that the chairman had been relegated to a figurehead," she said.

Disrespect came from many angles. She said she was particularly offended by one contributor to the party who said he was going to pull financial support because he never received a personal invitation to one of the party's events.

It was that superior tone with which the contributor spoke to her that made her think of racism.

She continued: "Even some of my white officers would go around me or over me and make decisions among themselves. It made me ask the question, would I be experiencing this if I were white?"

That question sparked others. Would it be more bearable if she were a "more passive black person and less confrontational?"

She continued: "It had gone beyond disrespecting me, it became of question of disrespecting my position."

While the parliamentary group essentially dismisses Ms Rawlins' claims and continues to promote itself as a diverse group, she says the regional and branch officers, the party's nuts and bolts, are primarily white and that the tendency, whether intentional or not, is to "gravitate towards another white officer."

But she knew all this before accepting the chairmanship for a fourth time just last month. So what could possibly have changed in four short weeks?

She told us: "I had begun to feel very disenchanted at the end of my third term. I was thinking 'I just want to get out of this'. My family told me to get out, too and that the party wasn't treating me right. But I thought, I can't just run when I'm faced with a challenge." That, and encouragement by some branch chairmen, convinced her to stay in what she would later refer to as, 'the game.'

It wasn't a pleasant experience. There is a legitimate process when it comes to executive positions within the party. She, however, says she had to endure repeated calls from a high-ranking official who kept asking her to step down. But she battled on.

She won but the disrespect didn't go away. "That's when I thought 'perhaps it's time to shake the dust of my sandals and move on'."

Ms Rawlins, a grandmother, still wants to serve the community and has not ruled out a return to politics either with a different party or as an independent senator, but she is done with the UBP.

"I need to disconnect from the UBP and reconnect with me and see where I can best direct my energy in the area of service," she said.

She cautioned others who enter politics and who join the UBP to stay true to their reasons for entering and to not get caught up 'playing the game' where self interest overrides the interests of the community.

While others within the party continue to play down the events of the last two weeks, Ms Rawlins is unapologetic. "I can only speak to the situations I have experienced," she said.

Her advice to the party she once loved so dearly is to take a good, hard look at itself and to "stop taking the public for granted by continuing to fool the voters."

She said: "We have reached a point in our political history where it is important that we are being honest and it's time that people hear the truth and that is that there are a group of white elites who have been in control and they are not open to letting go of that control.

"The time is right to pull off the mask and see the UBP for what it is: A party that was founded by whites, based on white supremacy who not only took control but maintained control without the real interests of the people at heart."

Ms Rawlins said she hasn't had a good night's sleep for ages with this hanging over her conscience. Now it's out in the open, she's looking forward to returning to normal life, which, for the time being at least, will be a million miles away from politics.