Wilchombe said he will decide on chairmanship run in 24 hours.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) gears up for its third convention since the last general election, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis and PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell yesterday discouraged any challenge to the PLPs existing leadership team, suggesting a contest would be too divisive at a time when the party should focus on unity, and shaping its platform to win the “hearts and minds of the Bahamian people”.
At PLP headquarters, PLP Convention Committee Chairman Michael Halkitis formally announced the party’s convention will take place at Melia Nassau Beach on July 25-26.
In a statement from Davis, which was read by PLP Secretary General Barbara Cartwright, the PLP leader said, “This is a time of unity and not division, which is why I have given my support to the team of Davis, [PLP Deputy Leader Chester] Cooper, [PLP Chairman Fred] Mitchell and [PLP Deputy Chairman Robyn] Lynes, so that we may continue the journey,”
“I am sure that there will be keen contest, but let us all do so in the spirit of unity.
“We have a government to win. We have voters to bring back home.
“All of our energies and resources should therefore be spent trying to win hearts and minds — the hearts and minds of the Bahamian people.
“It is therefore important for the country to see us as a unified, and not divided, body.
“Let us work toward that goal in this convention.”
Mitchell made a similar statement.
He said since the PLP’s defeat in the last general election, the party has “found its sea legs”.
“I think there was a good captain and able mates,” Mitchell said.
“I am hoping that the existing executive leadership team will be returned by delegates to continue that work.”
He continued, “I wish to ask delegates to reelect the team of Davis, Cooper, Mitchell and Lynes.
“Let’s not fix something which is not broken.”
When asked about a challenge by former Minister of Tourism Obie WIlchcombe for the chairmanship of the party, Mitchell said he was not aware if Wilchcombe had entered the race.
When contacted yesterday, Wilchcombe told Eyewitness News Onlinehe will determine within 24 hours whether he will vie for the post, but noted that he could not ignore the wishes of PLPs, who continue to call upon him to serve in a leadership capacity.
Wilchombe challenged Mitchell in the PLP’s last convention and lost.
It remains to be seen if former Attorney General Alfred Sears will challenge Davis for the leadership of the party.
The way forward
Mitchell, who said it is well known that he has been a “fierce advocate” of annual, on-time conventions, said “sadly that has not been the recent record, but to the credit of our leader, Philip Brave Davis, this has been the third such convention in two years”.
He said the upcoming event will facilitate the party having a conversation with the people, and itself and expects that following consultation with the leader, PLPs will be asked to approve a 10-year plan that will include the platform for the party in the next general election.
“The committee has already begun its work under the dynamic leadership of Deputy Leader Chester Cooper,” Mitchell said.
“That plan for the party will include, if it is approved, a commitment that each constituency branch will have a fixed headquarters, which is owned by the party, so that the party constituency branches have a place to meet without depending on the public schools.”
Mitchell also said that plan will explore constructing a new national headquarters and convention center.
As he called on PLPs to unite, Mitchell added that recent polling suggests the PLP is more appealing to the electorate than the Free National Movement.
He did not release the data to validate the claim, but said the polling also reflects there are too many “for whom the jury is still out”.