Although Mangrove Cay and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes told reporters that his decision not to run in the next election was due to uncertainty over his renomination and a lack of support on the ground from the leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that Forbes’ nomination was “never in doubt”.
“Insofar as the public is concerned, and what I had indicated to the public and to him, his nomination was never in doubt; that the incumbents would be renominated subject to the incumbents wishing to continue,” Davis said.
“So he is now deciding not to continue of his own.”
But Davis said after listening to Forbes in the House, he is “satisfied that he made the right choice, that he has decided to put an end to his political career”.
Asked about Forbes’ assertion that the leadership did not support him in the ground in South Andros, Davis said, “Well, first of all, it depends on what he means by the ground.
“I don’t want to get into the details of it. He knows that he had the support of the leadership and that ought to convert to the ground, but then he assessed the ground and that was his finding.”
On Monday, Forbes announced in Parliament that he would not be offering in the next general election.
The announcement caught many by surprise, including some members of the PLP.
Asked if he was blindsided by Forbes’ statement, Davis said, “It was just a question of timing.
“He decided that he wanted to make it public from the seat of Parliament. That’s the way he chose to do it. We have discussed it since then and I am satisfied that his choice of doing it was the way he wanted to do it.”
As he left the House, Forbes said his constituents began asking him why the PLP kept sending new prospective candidates to the community.
He told reporters, “…Every other house you go to the questions are being asked, ‘Are you running? How many more persons are the PLP going to put on the ground against you? When is this issue going to be cleared up?’
“After all the questions in Mangrove Cay last week, when you were giving it your best from meager resources, and all these questions are still abound after all these years, after some discussion and prayers with my family, I said farewell.”
When asked what he needed to see from the party leadership prior to his decision, Forbes said, “confidence”.
“Simply go on the ground in the community and [say] you support me,” he said.
“Simple. Simply give a nomination. That’s all it is. We would have heard that the four incumbents were guaranteed, but there is still all this discussion about it and there were certain persons calling, prominent persons in our society, who continued to call stalwart councilors and continued to dig into the matter and it just became somewhat of a drag.”
Forbes said he decided then that it would be best to walk away.
Forbes was first elected to the House in 2007 as the PLP’s candidate for Central and South Andros. He was successful once again in the 2012 election and served as The Bahamas high commissioner to CARICOM.
In the 2017 election, he secured 46 percent of the votes, winning by 129 votes.
When Forbes exited the House chamber yesterday, several MPs embraced him but Davis remained seated, showing no visible reaction.
“It’s never easy when one arrives at the position of ending a career and or coming to the end of anything,” Davis said when asked about his reaction.
“As we all should know, nothing lasts forever. Everything ends at some point in time and it is always difficult for that pulling of that final curtain. As I said, I was saddened by the fact that he had taken the position not to offer himself again.
“My response was as a consequence of my sadness.”
The PLP leader said he and Forbes remain cordial.
“Picewell Forbes and I, for the last year or so, have been discussing his future in politics and, in fact, he is a member of this firm,” Davis said referring to his law firm Davis and Co.
“He sits in this firm, of the law firm, as he is studying law as well.
“He has over the last year or two been discussing his future in politics. I was saddened that he made a decision not to offer as a Progressive Liberal Party candidate again. But having listened to him and what he had to say I’m satisfied that he made the right choice, that he has decided to put an end to his political career. But that does not mean he will not continue to contribute to the Progressive Liberal Party and to contribute to serving this country in any other capacity outside the political arena.”
Last year, as Monique Pindling, the youngest daughter of the former PLP leader the late Sir Lynden Pindling sought the nomination for South Andros, Davis said it would take an “egregious” act to prevent incumbent PLP MPs from being renominated for their constituencies in the next general election.
Pindling said yesterday that the party leadership told her in summer 2020 that they did not want a Pindling on the ticket.
Davis yesterday denied the assertion.
Asked about prospective candidates for South Andros, Davis said, “The candidates committee would be making a decision as to who would succeed him, with Picewell’s input.”
The Nassau Guardian understands that the names being called in consideration for a nomination in the area are John Carey and Leon Lundy.
The committee meets today.