Constituents’ mixed views on Miller’s move to PLP

Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller’s decision to join the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) nine months after he severed ties with the Free National Movement (FNM) has been met with mixed reactions in his constituency, with some expressing a desire to see him gone off the political stage altogether and others praising him for his representation.

Mernafae Smith, an FNM supporter who has been confined to a wheelchair for six years, said Miller has not had much of a presence in the constituency.

Smith said the new PLP member needs to change the way he treats the people who elected him.

“So going on to wherever he going…he really got to change himself or he needs to go back into the field he was in,” she said.

“I enjoy him more on the radio, just hearing his voice. As an MP, [this] is not for him because even if you don’t have something to give to the people, do something for children; come around the neighborhood; let us see you trying.”

However, Cedric Roker and his wife, Chivan Roker-Butler, said they would support Miller on the PLP’s ticket.

“This house has always supported the PLP party and if it was to come down to it, that’s the way we would go,” Roker said.

“He was always a good MP. I never found [any] fault with him. He never [gave] me [any] problems.”

Roker-Butler added that she is in constant communication with Miller.

“I would have had one-on-one talks with him,” Roker-Butler said.

“As far as I know with this family, I know he has been there with us and showed some level of representation in the area.”

She said she has no doubt that he will gain the residents’ support in the next election.

“He has been vocal over the years and he is well known,” Roker-Butler added. “I do believe he is a man of integrity and that he can assist in the area as much as possible with the right level of support.”

She said she congratulated Miller on “crossing the fence”.

It is no secret that Miller — a veteran broadcaster and religious figure — has had an icy reception in FNM circles after he voted against increasing value-added tax (VAT) in 2018. That move led to the prime minister firing him as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.

Since then, Miller has been increasingly critical of the Minnis administration both in and outside Parliament.

Last December, he cut ties with the party, becoming an independent member of the House.

The decision to leave the FNM angered some constituents who voted for him because they supported the FNM.

While there were some constituents who still supported Miller, others expressed disappointment over his decision to become an independent.

The most recent move to the PLP did not appear to change the feelings some constituents already had of him. 

A Golden Isles resident who asked that he only be identified by his first name, Mario, had no praise for Miller’s representation when he spoke with The Nassau Guardian yesterday. 

“I have never seen Vaughn Miller,” the constituent said.

“In the time that Vaughn Miller has been in, I have never seen him. He never came and knocked on my door once… I will not be voting for him. That’s period. No matter which party he is with, he won’t get a vote.”

When asked if the new PLP member stands a chance of being elected, Mario responded, “No. He only takes care of one part of this community.

“He doesn’t even come down this way. We haven’t seen Vaughn Miller once since this pandemic started or anything. Now, [former MP Michael] Halkitis, you used to see him. If you go up there or call him he would send someone down here, but Vaughn Miller, [no].”

Garbriel Newton, who has lived in Excellence Estates for 15 years, claimed Miller made empty promises to her.

“I ain’t get my job yet [that] he [told] me he was going to get,” Newton said.

“He made me ride way down Adelaide. [He] said to do the community meeting and I never got it. I don’t want him back.”

The constituent claimed it has been three years since Miller made her that promise.

She said he did not do anything for his constituents.

“We ain’t see him from he come in,” Newton said.

“He [has] never been round here. He never came to our door.”

Miller said yesterday the PLP has not guaranteed him a nomination, but he has no intention to run as an independent if he is not nominated by the party.

Miller, who was new to politics, won 56 percent of the vote (3,374) in Golden Isles. The PLP’s Michael Halkitis won 34 percent (2,058). Another nine percent went to Stephen Greenslade of the Democratic National Alliance. 

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Italia Clarke

Italia Clarke joined the Nassau Guardian in August 2020. Clarke covers national, human interest and social issues. Education: University of The Bahamas, BA in Media Journalism

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