Wilchcombe and Mitchell to vie for chairman during today’s vote.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) gears up for a chairmanship race tomorrow at its national convention, the Free National Movement (FNM) said the party’s “division and anti-democratic tendencies” were on full display to the public.
Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and incumbent PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell will vie for the post today.
Wilchcombe announced his intention to run Tuesday night.
PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis and PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper will run unchallenged for the top two posts.
“Brave Davis is trying to be the latest PLP leader for life,” the FNM said.
“In the run-up to the PLP’s convention he did not want anyone challenging him and his handpicked leadership team.
“Brave is angry that his long-time rival and nemesis Obie Wilchcombe won’t just let him run the PLP as maximum leader.
While Davis and Mitchell called for unity in recent weeks, discouraging a challenge of the current leadership team to allow the party to focus on its message, Davis said Wednesday that all who wished to challenge for any post should do so.
According to Mitchell, Davis called Wilchcombe and asked to not to run.
Wilchcombe has declined to comment on the conversation he had with the leader, saying any discussion he has with the PLP leader is confidential.
Yesterday, the FNM said Davis only backtracked on his position because of criticisms that the PLP sounded undemocratic.
The FNM also said WIlchcombe’s decision to defy Davis’ request demonstrates the “great division in the PLP”.
The party opined that Wilchcombe has his sights on leader of the party and will challenge Davis at a future date.
“Senior PLPs know Brave is unpopular,” the FNM claimed.
“They know Bahamians do not think he would be a suitable prime minister.
“Brave is from the old guard of the party.
“Quietly, senior PLPs hope Brave is deposed before the next general election, and that a fresh face leads the party.”
The FNM added, “This is the current state of the PLP.
“It is a divided party with a leader who doesn’t like internal elections that challenge his rule.
“Such a party is unfit to govern The Bahamas.”
The FNM, while in opposition, faced strong criticisms of being a party divided
Former Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner challenged Minnis for leader of the party twice.
In 2014, Butler-Turn challenged Minnis for the leadership at the party’s convention and lost.
During a second challenge in the July 2016 convention, where Dr. Duane Sands, now minister of health, ran alongside her, both withdrew from the leadership and deputy leadership races the night before the vote.
While she lost both bids, she was successful at becoming the leader of the opposition in December 2016, after she and six other FNM MPs wrote to the governor general expressing no confidence in Minnis as leader and asked that he be replaced by Butler-Turner.
She nor the six FNM MPs who supported receive a nomination from the FNM in the 2017 general election.