Leader says voters will see party is fighting for their future and “soul of this country”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) must continue to “prove ourselves worthy” to the electorate as the party gears up for the next general election and poises itself to offer “good and credible” candidates as an alternative to the current governance regime, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday.
Davis addressed PLPs at the 4th round of “The Module for Aspirant Applicants for Candidacy and Public Office” at the party’s headquarters on Joe Farrington Road.
“Our retooling and reforming is fully underway as we ready our election machinery,” Davis said.
“We must continuously prove ourselves worthy of trust and leadership for our words, actions and… deeds.
“We will present to the electorate good and credible candidates; sensible and achievable policy proposals and a message of hope, inclusiveness and broad-based economic empowerment.
“Bahamian people will see and feel that we are fighting for them and their future.
“We must be seen to be fighting for the soul of this country and not politically connected friends and donors.
“I concur with [PLP]Chairman Fred Mitchell that we must reconnect with our voters.
“Our watchwords, therefore, must be empowerment, economic patriotism, fairness, inclusion, compassion and social justice.
“We must make these principals the hallmark and primary drivers of the political and governance culture in a next PLP administration.”
The PLP was voted out of office in 2017, only capturing four seats in Parliament.
Its term, under former Prime Minister Perry Christie, was challenged, with voters expressing the party had lost credibility.
The PLP’s post-election study determined that the perception of corruption, unnecessary spending on certain initiatives, including Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, Christie’s fatigue, and numerous scandals were the reasons for the party’s sound defeat at the polls.
Davis and Mitchell, who were a part of that administration, have sought to creating a new heading for the PLP, promising it has learnt from its mistakes and is in the process of rebuilding a party that will deliver on the mandate of credible, accountable and inclusive governance.
One the prominent figures of the last PLP administration, former Marathon MP and Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald, who was embroiled in controversy ahead of the general election, announced last month that he will not offer for reelection.
In 2015, it was revealed that the government took more than a year to make public a report on a gas leak relating to the Rubis service station on Robinson Road — in Fitzgerald’s constituency — which warned of potential health risks to people who worked and resided in the community.
The then minister admitted he was aware of the report, but advised that he did not apprise the public as it was before Cabinet.
On Nomination Day in 2017, the Tribune revealed in a string of emails dating back to 2013 between Fitzgerald and the then Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian, that Fitzgerald directly sought brokerage and trucking contracts on behalf of his father.
Yesterday, as Davis decried the conduct of two Cabinet ministers — Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames — whom he has called on to resign or be fired, the PLP leader said in any other jurisdiction where a judge condemns the actions of sitting Cabinet ministers, “the prime minister would have fired or asked for their immediate resignations”.
Both ministers have dismissed the resignation calls from the opposition.
“You heard from a former MP Agatha Marcelle and the venerable Ruby Ann Darling on how to carry yourself in speech and appearance as a candidate, an MP, and most importantly that there must be passion before fashion.
“I want to say to all of you present, I will put forth on the next PLP national ticket a cadre of women and men who will assist in shaping the Bahamian national, political, social and economic agenda for decades following,” Davis said.
“And not just for a term, but for decades following.
“Your energy, enthusiasm and commitment to this cause will continue to create a groundswell of political support that cannot be stopped until victory is in hand.
“But we must continue to work until the last ballot is counted, taking nothing for granted.”
The opposition has continued to charge that the Minnis administration has failed to stimulate the economy and create sufficient employment activity, while taking credit for initiatives that were in the pipeline as a result of the Christie administration.