NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A religious service recognizing the recovery and return of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis last night morphed into a political-style rally that ended with a Junkanoo rushout.
Davis was hospitalized after he tested positive for COVID-19 in August, and received treatment in the United States.
The ‘Service of Thanksgiving’ as it was advertised, took place at Adelaide Primary School.
Supporters on the platform, and the surrounding area, were socially distanced; however, people standing on the grounds, including those on the basketball court quickly grew in number and closer proximity to one another as the evening went on.
“First of all, as you noticed people were socially distanced,” said Davis, who was responding to questions from Eyewitness News.
“We’re all wearing masks as you can note. We have emphasized that.
“This is supposed to be a religious service to welcome me back and of course, I had to say what we had to say.
“And also combined in welcoming Vaughn Miller.
“The criticisms? What would be the criticisms?”
Asked about the Junkanoo rushout, the PLP leader said: “I am not aware of the Junkanoo rush out.
“That is something that must have been added on.
“I didn’t understand it to be the plan.
“If you look at our program, it does not speak to a Junkanoo rush out.”
The event featured addresses from former Golden Isles MP Michael Halkitis, Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, Reverend Dr William Thompson, the senior pastor of Faith United Missionary Baptist Church, and Davis.
Thompson preached on faith, new beginnings, healing, individual agendas, candidates vying for nominations, and the “march for victory”.
“Let us not get so caught up in our individual agenda and lose sight of the collective battle,” he said.
“The world around us and Bahamians are depending on us to collectively move together as one army and move on to victory.
“There have been some persons who are so caught up in their own individual agendas to get a nomination that we are forgetting the collective move ahead.”
At one point, attendees on the basketball court and other areas were reminded to stand two meters apart in accordance with the law.
As he took the podium, Miller shouted “PLP” several times to which the crowd reverberated, “all the way”.
As he reflected on his resignation from the FNM in December 2019, and joining the PLP last week, Miller said he chose to walk a path that was in the “best interest of the Bahamian people”.
“There is only one party that has ushered in Majority Rule, and fought against the minority oligarchy that has placed the yolk of oppression on our people,” he said.
“There is only one party that still fights against those same elites, attempting to pull the strings of the public, that we call leaders today.
“Only one party that has led our country into Independence, cast off colonial rule and went on to launch every institution that has ever been built in our modern Bahamas.”
He asked: “Does anyone know the name of that party?”
The crowd shouted: “PLP.”
Davis took the stage to a soundtrack recorded by Bahamian songwriter and satirist ‘Solo’.
He said: “Many thousands were taken in by the empty campaign promises of change and national development, only to have the brutal realities of incompetence, lack of compassion and political favoritism flung in their faces.
“And now that we are just over halfway through this administration, the whole country now suffers because the present leadership has failed the trials and tests wrought on by Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You know, recalling that this is a thanksgiving service, I’m reminded that the good book says, ‘Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life’.”
Davis added: “May God continue to bless the Progressive Liberal Party, and may he bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and yes, he surely will make the wealth common under the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party and myself.”