Subsequent to the 2017 general election, the talk within the official opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was the goal of rebranding its image — a public relations exercise to regain the trust of the Bahamian people.
With many of the old guards, such as former Prime Minister Perry G. Christie, Obie Wilchcombe, Jerome Fitzgerald, Shane Gibson, V. Alfred Gray and Michael Halkitis losing their seats in 2017, it was suggested publicly that the rebranding process would entail selecting new faces ahead of the 2022 general election.
With the re-emergence of former Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, that plan threatens to be derailed, at least in the Tall Pines constituency. Miller has told The Tribune that he expects to receive the nomination in Tall Pines.
Miller was bested by the Free National Movement’s Donald L. Saunders.
PLP Leader Philip Davis has a dilemma on his hands. Miller will be 73 in March. He will be 74 next election day, assuming it will be in May 2022.
Regarding his age, the Miller camp will argue that Davis will be 70 in June — making him just three years younger than Miller.
The point is this: Miller’s age cannot be used as an excuse by the PLP hierarchy to deny him a nomination. If Miller cannot run due to his advanced age, then Davis should not run as well.
As a political commentator watching this spectacle unfold, I really see no issue with 70-year-old men running, unless there’s a youth movement afoot within the PLP.
The American people just voted in 78-year-old Joe Biden as their 46th president. He is the oldest president to ever be sworn in at inauguration.
Outgoing President Donald Trump is 74.
The liberal Irish playwright Oscar Wilde once said that with age comes wisdom.
You cannot tell Miller “no” to his nomination bid solely on the basis of his age while you are preparing to field 70-year-old Davis. The PLP’s youth message has to be shelved.
Moreover, Miller, for all intents and purposes, is scandal-free. His loss in Tall Pines had more to do with the entire PLP organization than with him as an individual MP.
As a populist, grassroots politician and a people’s person, Miller is very popular with ordinary Bahamians.
His candor and down-to-earth demeanor are a breath of fresh air in a political system few Bahamians now trust.
Consequently, any move to deny him a nomination would backfire. As an independent, Miller will inevitably split the PLP votes in Tall Pines, which would, in all likelihood, pave the way for a Saunders re-election victory.
Whether or not he gets the PLP nod in Tall Pines, it will be Miller time again in 2022.
Miller is a man of his word. His threat of running as an independent, in the event he is rejected, should not be taken as a bluff by the PLP hierarchy.
— Kevin Evans