The resurgent Progressive Liberal Party
I am not, currently, a member of the iconic Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and most of my other habits are good ones. There was a time when I would have been considered, and would have been proud to be so, a Pingdomite. Since the most untimely and, in some viewpoints, the ‘forced’ death of the late great Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling, the former incomparable and irreplaceable prime minister, I have deliberately stood above the political fray.
As a radio talk show host at MORE 94.9FM (Real Talk Live) I also avoid overt partisan affiliation and/or public support. I have also, for the record, never been a member of any other political party or any of the fringe groupings. It seems as if every day a ‘new’ group emerges at the behest of individuals whose egos and agendas must be stroked.
One can or may say what he or she likes about the PLP and its leadership but there are certain things about them which cannot, sensibly, be refuted. Under the administrative leadership of its national chairman Bradley Roberts, the party is ‘battle ready’ and poised to give the Free National Movement (FNM) a serious run for its money.
You are also witnessing an energetic local and international campaign by Deputy Leader Philip “Brave” Davis (PLP-Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador), et al, to interact with Bahamian students, potential investors and other representative groups. This reaching out will be crucial in what will be a reasonably ‘close’ general election.
Some people believe that the newly minted Democratic National Alliance (DNA) will make some sort of difference to the outcome of the general election. No doubt, its leader, et al, means well but the million dollar question is: From where will the DNA garner the most support?
In my humble view many people, rightly or wrongly, see that DNA as an offshoot of the embattled FNM. They feel that if it takes any votes away from any of the major parties it will be from the FNM. Historically, the PLPs circle their wagons when there are perceived threats to their well-being. Yes, they will fuss and cuss out each other but they are not suicidal or delusional. A threat, politically, to one PLP is a threat to the whole body.
The FNM is like a drunk man lurching from one corner to the other. Ninety-five percent of what that party is doing or attempting to do is absolutely necessary but the method of its public relations is passé and an affront to tens of thousands of ordinary Bahamians. Strong leadership, such as it is, may be preferred but the age of the ‘dictator’ came to an inglorious event years ago.
The PLP has risen from the ashes of the defeat which it really inflicted upon itself in 2007. The FNM’s propaganda machinery, aided and abetted by myself, was well oiled and solidly funded. Ingraham preached a beguiling message that resonated with the trusting electorate. His now patently bogus assertions that he was more compassionate and grandfatherly may have struck chords of empathy with the average voter.
Somewhere along his journey back to high office, the PM, seemingly, lost that common touch which he used to have. What went wrong only he and God knows. Conjecture is not my strong suit so I will not venture an opinion. Suffice it to say that the Hubert Alexander Ingraham I used to know exists no more, certainly not here in The Bahamas.
People and detractors like former Member of Parliament George Smith within the PLP must be expelled or silenced. As a former cabinet minister, Smith should understand that a party’s internal matters should never be debated in public or in such a fashion as to appear to criticize its leadership.
Smith was spoken of in a very negative fashion by a commission of inquiry. One would have thought that he would have ridden off into the sunset and eaten his lamb chops in peace. He would appear to have a ‘personal’ issue with Perry Gladstone Christie (PLP-Farm Road). Why did he not challenge Christie at the last PLP convention?
In any event, Philip Brave Davis is the future of the resurgent PLP and he must convince the independent voters that he has what it takes to move The Bahamas forward. Yes, he must always pay proper respect to the current leader, at all times, but he must also stake out his position for the way forward. The PLP is capable of bouncing back based on the mistakes and omissions of the FNM but it must also layout its vision for the future.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.
ORTLAND H. BODIE Jr.