Wilchcombe to run for PLP chairman

Former Cabinet minister says he could not ignore voice of the people.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe will make a second bid for chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) at the party’s national convention set for Thursday.

During an appearance on ILTV’s ‘Beyond the Headlines’ with host Clint Watson, Wilchcombe said he planned to make a formal announcement of his intention to run last night.

Wilchcombe, who served as PLP chairman from 1993 to 2000, will go up against incumbent chairman, Senator Fred Mitchel.

According to Wilchcombe, the idea to run for chairman did not originate with him, but was spurred by the people and delegates, who have “made contact and organized themselves in bodies to speak with me about running”.

Last night, he said he could not ignore the “voice of the people”.

“I wanted to be sure that the people understood why; why do we want to change the chairman?

“What are we saying? What message is there because it can’t be personal.

“It’s nothing personal about it to me, so it has to be something deeper.

“Why do we want a change? I’ve walked around. I’ve spoken with people.

“I’ve met with so many people and I have been to one or two of the islands and have had discussions, again, to determine whether or not the people are serious.

“Do they really want a change and do they understand me, Obie Wilchcombe; the individual who is a workaholic and would work tirelessly for this party.

“I am convinced that they are, and I do intend to formally announce later this evening.”

This week, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis discouraged a challenge of the current leadership team, saying it would be too divisive at a time when the party should be focused on crafting its message.

Mitchell has echoed Davis’ called for PLPs to unit.

Wilchcombe said he disagrees that a challenge of the leadership would be divisive unless the contest involved personal attacks.

The former MP said, “Our opponent is the FNM, not the PLP.”

Wilchcombe has expressed support for Davis and PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper as leader and deputy leader coming out of convention.

The PLP will open its convention at the Melia Nassau Beach resort tomorrow.

Nominations will take place on Thursday, and the vote will take place on Friday.

The party will also address proposals to amend its constitution, according to party officials.

Wilchcombe and Mitchell lost their bids in the last general election.