NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Declaring the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is ready to become the next government, PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper told supporters at a rally last night that a PLP-administration will put “more money in more pockets”.
He said the PLP is not like Free National Movement (FNM) or its leader Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, who he condemned for flamming the electorate that it was the people’s time.
“All we see is a prime minister [who] will stoop to any level to gain some political advantage, no matter how disgraceful,” Cooper told a crowd of PLPs.
“Minnis has turned the FNM into a cult of personality where the main currency is loyalty to the leader.
“Any sort of merit or credibility no longer matters. The only sin you can commit in the FNM is to be critical of the leader or to disagree with the leader.
“If you talk truthfully about the FNM, even if you’re in government, you lose your job.”
In June 2018, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis fired Bain and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson, Golden Isles MP Vaugh Miller and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine from their appointed positions as parliamentary secretaries and chairman of the Hotel Corporation respectively.
The firings came after the MPs and Centreville MP Reece Chipman, who had previously been relieved of his duties as chairman of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation, voted against the government’s decision to increase value-added tax (VAT) from 7.5 percent to 12 percent.
Following the firings, Minnis said the decision was not personal, but in keeping parliamentary procedure.
Last night, Cooper declared: “The people need to know that the PLP is better than that.”
In January 2013, then Prime Minister Perry Christie fired then National Insurance Board Chairman Gregory Moss after asking the Marco City MP in a letter to resign immediately or face other consequences.
Moss wrote back indicating that he had no plans to resign as it gave the impression, he did something wrong relating to his role as chairman of NIB, which was under intense scrutiny following a forensic audit.
Moss said as a result he expected to be terminated.
In Christie’s letter to Moss, the then prime minister expressed disappointed in how Moss reacted.
Christie has since resigned.
Its elected leader Philip Brave Davis, who has been challenged twice at convention and won, and holds one of four seats the PLP held onto in the general election, has promised to “rebuild, rebrand and renew the PLP”.
He has since said the worst is behind the party, which is now “repaired and is sailing to the port of victory”.
Addressing supporters last night, Cooper said the PLP has a secure leader.
He made the case that the party does not operate like the FNM and lamented the government’s response to Hurricane Dorian, underscoring the Small Homes Repair program has taken six months to enter the first phase; its Dorian donor pledge conference; the increase travel allowances for ministers; what he called the mismanagement of the country’s economy; the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort in Grand Bahama; the handling of unions in the nation; and the Town Centre Mall deal, which Cooper called “wicked”.
Cooper called on the FNM to be fired for failing the people, particularly after riding on a campaign of it’s the people’s time.
“It was never the people’s time and now the people know it,” said Cooper, pointing out that Minnis launched his election campaign last month.
He said he hopes the prime minister is ready, as the PLP is willing and able to become the next government.
Cooper promised to pivot the country in the right direction towards “prosperity and progress”.
He also pledged to revamp the economy, create more jobs, more opportunity and more ownership while putting “more money in more pockets”.