Hanna-Martin concerned many stalwarts won’t be in town to vote
Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday expressed concern over the limited number of delegates who will participate in the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) convention this week.
Hanna-Martin and Interim Leader Philip Brave Davis are both vying for the leadership.
Just under 500 people had registered up to Friday, according to PLP convention chair Michael Halkitis.
Almost 1,500 delegates voted at the party’s January convention.
Speaking to the need to address the party’s constitution, Hanna-Martin said the PLP must find ways for its delegates nationwide to participate in the party’s important and historic events, such as the convention.
“The way our rules are now, if you are not able to come up, at high costs, and stay at a hotel, at high costs, you will not be able to participate,” Hanna-Martin noted.
“And so, we have to find a way to ensure that our delegates participate in their respective places, particularly at these types of elections.
“We understand the importance of convening, and we don’t want to discourage that, but when you are talking about choosing the next leader, that’s not a casual participation.
“And so, I think it’s a bit unfortunate this go round that we don’t have a much broader voice of the country as it relates to the leader of this party.
“So in the way forward, definitely we have to review our constitution.
“We have a good constitution, but there are some things I believe that have to happen, and it’s part of an evolutionary process and a growth and deepening of the democracy of our party.”
Alfred Sears, the former Fort Charlotte MP, has submitted a detailed package of proposed amendments to the constitution of the PLP.
Sears was unsuccessful in his leadership bid against then Prime Minister Perry Christie in January.
Ahead of the January convention, Sears expressed concern that Christie stacked the deck in his favor without a transparent process of selecting stalwart councilors.
In a formal complaint to the party’s trustees, Sears confirmed that more than 300 stalwart councilors were ratified days before the election, and suggested this and other developments called into question the integrity of the elections.
He has since recommended that the party remove provisions that allow the leader to increase the number of stalwart councilors as he deems necessary.
He also recommended that the total number of stalwart councilors be capped at 2,500, with the power to increase the number limited to the National General Council.
Hanna-Martin said yesterday she is heading into the convention very sober and very circumspect in her thoughts.
“I am trusting that the delegates will look at my track record, will see my intention to do all that I can to raise this party to the heights that it’s entitled to be to, or should be to or at, and we will begin to set out for the Bahamian people an agenda that is stunning and one in which they will be quite attracted to,” she said.
“… We believe very strongly that having regard to the results of the last election and the message the Bahamian people sent to us, that we have to show that we understand the meaning of the Bahamian voice in that election and that we are prepared as an organization to reposition the party in a way that makes us a highly viable alternative.”
Asked whether she believes the process will be fair, Hanna-Martin said, “I’m trusting that the delegates of this party, who’ve just come out of a general election, who are political personalities, that they will make the appropriate assessments nationally and that when they come to this convention, that they will make judgments that are based on sound reasonings, and if they do that then none of the candidates can complain.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications