Hours after opening up the party’s 54th convention, Philip Brave Davis and Chester Cooper were returned as leader and deputy leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) after running unopposed.
Davis was nominated for party leader at 11:04 a.m. yesterday at the Melia Nassau Beach resort. He ran unopposed and was returned as leader at 11:07 a.m.
Cooper was nominated at 11:10 a.m., ran unopposed and was returned as deputy leader at 11:13 a.m.
Robyn Lynes, who also ran unopposed, is now the party’s deputy chairman.
But incumbent Chairman Fred Mitchell will face off against former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe for the national chairman position in what has turned into a bitter contest.
Moments after nominations closed, Davis and scores of PLPs exited the Melia’s convention hall.
“I’m elated and I’m humbled by the confidence posed in me to lead this party to victory,” Davis told a gaggle of reporters.
He said he hopes delegates will stay true to his vision of the party’s leadership team.
Earlier this week, it was revealed in a voice note from Mitchell that Davis discouraged others from running against his team.
Amid criticism that his comments were undemocratic, Davis said he was only expressing his opinion.
“Democracy is that each one of us has a view that we’ve got to be able to express, and a view that we ought to be able to exercise, and I was only exercising my view, and that does not shut out anyone else,” he said.
“I welcome ambition.
“I won’t discourage it. But I had a view, just like every member of the party, and I just expressed it, and I just hope that they will follow my view.”
Cooper insisted that there are new things on the horizon for the party.
He said that the 2017 general election, which saw the PLP win only four seats, was a sign from the people that they want to be heard.
“There will be nothing old about our platform,” Cooper said as party delegates looked on.
“There will be everything new about all the ideas that we have, and leading the platform committee, responsible for developing our plan, it will be exciting. It will speak to the needs of all Bahamians. That’s what we are going to do.
“So, when we talk about the people, we won’t be talking about isolated people, we won’t be talking about the privileged, we will be talking about Bahamians from all walks of life, from Grand Bahama to MICAL and everywhere in between.”
Cooper added, “One of the things that we were profoundly sanctioned for in May 2017 was not listening to the people.
“You are going to see new listening. Everything is going to be fresh after this convention. It’s a time of renewal, and we’re going to get into action very quickly.”
We are ready
As supporters filled the halls of the Melia in a sea of blue and yellow, several said they believe Davis is the right leader to take the party forward.
“We’re ready. We’re going ahead. Most everyone is riding Brave and I’m looking forward to winning the next election,” said Dino Rolle, a party supporter.
“He has an open mind towards us as a people, and he also has a heart for the people going there for the betterment of tomorrow.
“Based on what’s going on in our country…a lot of us are disgruntled because of what’s going on. The majority of us are looking forward for the betterment of us, not just for some.”
Hilton McIntosh said the party has already made significant changes, and he is happy with the direction it’s headed in.
“The PLP is on a roll,” he said.
“The PLP has restructured itself.
“It is inviting the young people to come in.
“They are responding well and we appreciate them as they come. We receive them because they are the future of this country and we cannot deny them access to this party and the country as a whole. We need them to come in and we are embracing them at this convention.
“This convention now is the springboard to what will come later on.”
Voting will take place today between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., PLP Convention Chairman Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
He said 1,800 delegates had already registered.