With increasing signs that an early election may be called, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday urged Bahamians not to be swayed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis and the “new” promises he is making as he seeks re-election, and declared that The Bahamas can not afford another five years of Free National Movement (FNM) governance.
“I think ‘it’s the people’s time’ is the biggest broken promise in Bahamian history,” said Davis while speaking at the opening of the PLP’s Elizabeth constituency office on Fox Hill Road.
“Remember ‘Campaign Minnis’? That’s the version of Minnis you see when all those red shirts come out.
“You know the Minnis I’m talking about, right? The Minnis who promises transparency and accountability? The Minnis who said he’d put in place a fixed election date? The Minnis who said he was for the poor?
“Remember him? Well, he’s back. Campaign Minnis, 2021 edition, has all kinds of new promises, even though he’s failed to keep his old ones. We can’t afford another five years of this, my friends.”
Despite ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and persistent calls by health authorities for social distancing and the adherence to other health protocols, the last several weeks have been characterized by sustained campaign events in an atmosphere punctuated by growing campaign rhetoric and pledges from political parties seeking to woo voters.
During a recent walkabout in Garden Hills, the prime minister explained to residents that his administration did not meet certain campaign commitments because it had to focus attention on responding to major hurricanes and the pandemic.
Minnis also said in the House of Assembly recently that in the next term, he wants to focus on the poor and on ensuring that more Bahamians have access to land.
But Davis sought to make a case yesterday for why Minnis and the FNM ought not be given another opportunity to govern The Bahamas after their performance this term.
“The middle class in our country is barely holding on. Let’s work together for change. Let’s work together for an economy that doesn’t leave people out. Let’s work for a level playing field. Let’s work for a Bahamas that can provide economic security for all of our children,” the PLP leader said.
Davis also declared that four years after his party won just four of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly, the PLP is reformed and ready to retake the government.
“May 10, 2017, was a horrible day when that ship we call the SS PLP, it ran aground when it was full steam ahead,” he said.
Davis continued, “We went aground on that reef and just like that old nursery rhyme that spoke about Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall and Humpty Dumpty having his great fall and all the king’s men came and put Humpty Dumpty together again – that’s what they thought about the SS PLP.
“They said we were so smashed that we would not come back. They wrote us off. They condemned the ship to the junkyard.”
He said, “Look where we are now. That ship is off that reef. The hull has been repaired and we are now seaworthy again. And guess what? We are on the sea.”
Davis added, “I can tell you because I am captain of that ship and I’m on that ship. You understand where I am at?”
He paused briefly while scanning the parking lot of the constituency office where the event was taking place.
Davis then said, “We have on that ship; I see Leslie Miller (former Tall Pines MP). Where is Leslie Miller? Potcake? Potcake was around. They’re all on board making sure that that ship reaches that port of victory.”
Yesterday’s opening of the constituency office mirrored a pre-pandemic PLP rally.
There were PLP-themed songs playing on a loud speaker at the start of the event. There were cases of beer on the back of a truck, which was decorated in PLP paraphernalia and there was pre-packaged food given out to attendees.
Scores of PLP supporters were present — most of whom were squished together as they listened to Davis.
When asked by The Nassau Guardian to respond to individuals who may classify the event as a rally, Davis replied, “This is not a rally. I came to open up the [office]. You notice that everybody is practicing the protocols and we intend to leave here now.”
Asked if he received permission from the competent authority for the event, he said, “I came just to open and I’m leaving.”