Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said the time has come for former PLPs to return to the party and claimed that some Free National Movement (FNM) MPs who were once PLPs “want to come back home”.
Davis, who was speaking during an event in Freeport, Grand Bahama, on Saturday, said the PLP has to attract former members back to the party and work on its image ahead of the 2022 general election.
“You are all PLPs,” he told a crowd of Grand Bahamians.
“I have some PLPs who are MPs as FNMs now. Now they want to come back home. So, let me say all is forgiven. We are not here to hold any grudge for what you may have done.
“Just come home where you are. You will be surprised, just like the prodigal son, the fattest cow will be killed for you, and we will have a feast.”
There are at least two former PLP members serving as FNM MPs — Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine.
Davis said it is important for the PLP to be welcoming.
“PLPs, the time has come for us to be welcoming to all,” Davis said.
“Our tent is large. We could protect all from the rain. They can all come. A lot of us left, but the time has come for us to be back to where you are.
“At the end of the day it is all about us.”
Davis also noted that the public has a certain view of the party.
“People view the PLP in a particular way,” he said.
“The message that was sent to us on May 10, 2017, is that, ‘Look, what we see we don’t like.’
“What that means is we need to be seen in a light that people will like.
“That is what this is about. We need to imagine ourselves in the proper way that we are seen in a way they will all like.
“An example is how we conduct ourselves. If we are rowdy and we are cussing down the street, and they say, ‘that’s a PLP’, what does that do?”
The PLP’s post-election report found that it “ignored its base” and was “unattractive” to young Bahamians.
The party suffered one of its greatest defeats in the 2017 general election. It won only four of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly. The election also saw the defeat of former PLP Leader and Prime Minister Perry Christie, who had held his Centreville seat for 40 consecutive years.
The election report found that “there are those at the base who may remain committed to the PLP”, but will not support “undemocratic governance”.
“The PLP has moved from a 62.2 percent share of voters in 1968 to 37 percent over a period of nearly five decades,” the report said.
In the months since the defeat and Davis being voted leader of the party, the PLP’s leadership has toured the Family Islands and met regularly with its members.