Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday that despite a crushing defeat in the race for chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), he is not discouraged from running in the next general election.
“[I’m] not discouraged about helping my party be the next government, and if it’s in that capacity, certainly I would run, but again that’s a phase you have to get to, and we’re not there yet,” he said.
Senator Fred Mitchell defeated Wilchcombe for the position on Friday at the party’s convention. Mitchell got 807 votes to Wilchcombe’s 341 votes.
Wilchcombe said he will now focus on helping the party’s leadership move the PLP forward.
“I’m a PLP,” he said.
“I have nowhere to go. I’m a Progressive Liberal Party supporter.
“I believe in our philosophy. We have to lift up the common man. There’s so much work to be done in this country, and what we do internally is not to take away from what we must do externally for the greatness of our country.
“…My job now is to help the party win the next election by whatever means and I intend to play an incredible role moving around the country and building and helping the party to win.
“You see at the end of it all, we are brought together by the party’s philosophy, what we believe in. That’s what brings us together. [We must have an] appreciation that we are fighting for the betterment of our nation.
“I believe that the PLP has the right formula. I think the PLP’s philosophy is still correct. I think the PLP must ensure it preaches the philosophy. It must ensure that we put on the table a plan for tomorrow. We must begin to script that new economic plan for this country, because Bahamians are asking, ‘Where are we going? We want to know.’
“And we must ensure that the Bahamian people are again satisfied that the PLP can lead, but to do so, it’s imperative that we think about the fact that our country needs a new paradigm, and the paradigm shift must occur now.
“So we have to take that message on the road, take that message to the Bahamian people, and I’m hoping that I will be able to assist in doing so. I’m going to work with the leader. I’m going to work with the deputy leader and I’m going to work with the chairman all to ensure that we get that message out.”
However, Wilchcombe said the party has to present a new plan to the public if it wants to regain its base and combat the issue of voter apathy in The Bahamas.
“…If we’re going to be successful, we have to craft a message, and we have to present a new paradigm that the Bahamian people are going to accept,” he said.
“We have to get our base back. We lost our base, so how do we get the base back?
“What are they asking for? What about the millennials? They are thinking about their future.
“The question is have we shown them that we have the capacity or we have put in place a policy or written any documents so far to show that we are going to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, where they are a part of ensuring their successes for tomorrow? What about job creation? What about culture?”
He added, “Right now there’s a lot of voter apathy in the country. You have a tremendous amount of Bahamians who are saying they aren’t interested in any of the parties.
“Well, we have to capture their interest. We have to go out there and capture their interest, and we have to find a way to do that. And to do that, I think it’s going to come with a new message. The message has to be correct.”