The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) national convention with the slogan “Call to Action” is over.
The leader, Philip Brave Davis, called on PLPs to stay the course. PLPs are very disciplined; they take instructions well; they always follow the leader — so the same leadership was returned to office.
Davis was pleased with the result. In his (victory) speech he threw an olive branch to the former leader, Perry Christie, a “good man” who went down in a blaze of glory in the 2017 general election, as the “one leader” who refused to accept that his “sell by” date had passed.
And then Davis, Christie’s deputy, distinguished himself from his former leader. He said that the two shared goals but didn’t necessarily always agree on how to get there.
In office there was no daylight between Christie and Davis.
The dust of the PLP’s misdeeds won’t be that easily shaken from Davis’ shoes.
Davis accepted credit for BAMSI, Baha Mar, National Training Agency (NTA) and an increase in the minimum wage.
He conveniently forgot the untendered BAMSI contracts, the burned unfinished dormitory in North Andros and his misleading statement in Parliament on the contractor’s lack of insurance on the dormitory.
He also forgot his government’s less than transparent behavior during the development of Baha Mar, the secret lease contract with the father and brother of a Cabinet minister to house the NTA, the self-dealing of some members and supporters of his party’s government, the negative economic growth and the persistent high unemployment that typified the Bahamian economy on their watch.
And clearly, he forgot that minimum wage was introduced by a former FNM administration after the PLP, during 25 years as government, neglected to do so.
And certainly, he does not recall the BIG LIE that the national debt would be paid down with funds raised from VAT. Instead much of the money was squandered, the national debt increased and there was little evidence left of where the VAT money was spent.
In his speech, Davis announced that his party is renewed and reformed by changing “who gets to vote” in party elections, the strengthened role of females and changed rules on how electoral candidates are selected. In his next breath he congratulated his team for their great success in ensuring that there was no change in the leadership team. The more things change the more they stay the same.
And he took the obligatory potshots at the governing Free National Movement (FNM) government; an effort made easy by the government’s many missteps and unforced errors.
Davis left it to his deputy, Chester Cooper, the member of Parliament for Exumas and Ragged Island, to voice a challenge to Bahamians to leap into a brave new world in which they will lead the country into:
• becoming a Republic;
• introducing a youth service – (mandatory national service?);
• sharing Crown Land among the people – (land now held on behalf of all the people, not the select few);
• legalizing the production and use of marijuana;
• developing environmentally sustainable blue and green economies; and
• creating hundreds of new millionaires (understood by many to mean “all for me baby” — another of the legacies of PLP administrations of yore).
In his exuberance at listing the establishment of national institutions after independence, Cooper failed to cost any of the new programs.
Their last government championed a national health insurance scheme that they admitted they had not costed.
Yes, this is déjà vu.