NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday defended the party’s candidate selection process as “passionate”.
Davis was responding to comments made by Attorney Sean McWeeney during an interview with Quinton Lightbourne, posted on the PLP’s Facebook page in observance of the party’s 67th anniversary.
However, Davis insisted that McWeeney was “equating one passionate quest to achieve a goal, as vicious”.
“To my mind, it’s all a democratic process playing out where persons are competing for the same prize and they are passionate about the prize,” he said.
Davis noted that aspirant candidates have indicated that whoever succeeds would be supported by the others.
“It’s an unfortunate choice of word to say vicious. He may not embrace that process but fortunately, that’s what happens with the process.”
Davis compared the PLPs candidate’s selection program to internal primary races, in an effort to “make the party relevant to the times”.
In July 2019, the PLP ratified a new constitution that implemented sweeping changes to the way the party is governed.
The new constitution seeks to make the party more democratic, participatory and more flexible in the management and political operation of the various constituencies, as well as key modifications in the selection and the appointment of the party’s stalwart councilors.
Under the party’s new agenda, all aspirant candidates must make themselves known to the constituency committee, who will have a voice to nominate who they want as a candidate to the party’s candidates committee.
Davis noted, however, that “the candidate’s committee still reserves the right to reject and or accept the petition of the branch and that right to do either rests in the concept that the leadership council might know things that the branch may not know, but the weight of the branch recommendation will go a long way in our deliberations”.
As the PLP readies itself for the 2022 General Election, several aspiring candidates have already been nominated by the party’s constituency associations.
Eyewitness News can confirm that the associations have nominated candidates for Fox Hill, Southern Shores, Garden Hills, Marathon and more recently Yamacraw.
Zane Lightbourne won the Yamacraw PLP constituency association vote over the weekend with more than half the votes out of the five aspirant candidates.
The party began its search for new candidates in earnest just several months after it suffered a landslide defeat at the May 2017 polls, winning only four of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly
Last August, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said there will be a 75 percent turnover of new candidates in the next election, compared to the last election.
In recent weeks, Free National Movement politicians, including Elizabeth MP Duane Sands and Mount Moriah MP Marvin Dames, have been seen out in their constituencies, canvassing residents with supporters dressed in party paraphernalia.