Former Golden Isles MP Michael Halkitis has expressed disappointment that he will likely not run as the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) candidate for Golden Isles in the next general election given that the constituency’s current representative, Vaughn Miller, has joined the party.
Miller, who was elected on the Free National Movement’s (FNM) ticket, announced last week that he is now a PLP — increasing to five the opposition party’s seats in the House of Assembly.
Miller said he has spoken to PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis about being the party’s candidate for Golden Isles in the next election, but he said he has not been guaranteed the nomination.
But Halkitis, the former minister of state for finance who represented the area for two non-consecutive terms, expects that Miller will run for the PLP in Golden Isles.
“It’s always a level of disappointment,” the former MP told The Nassau Guardian.
He continued, “I first ran here in 2002. The next election would make 20 years. I lost two and won two, but I also live in the area…[and] made some connections. Some things happen. You lose an election and in politics, you have these different developments.
“So, now you have somebody joining the team and, as I said, indications are that he will be carrying the banner.
“There’s a bit of disappointment, but you understand that these things happen and what you do is you throw your support behind a new member of the team.”
Halkitis was elected to the House of Assembly in 2002 as Adelaide MP; he lost the seat in 2007 and won in 2012 as Golden Isles MP.
Miller defeated him in the 2017 general election, securing 56 percent of the votes. Halikitis secured 34 percent. Another nine percent went to Stephen Greenslade of the Democratic National Alliance.
Halkitis said that, prior to Miller’s announcement last week, he applied to run as the PLP’s candidate for the constituency.
“I had appeared before the candidates’ committee and expressed that interest,” he said.
“Then, we had these recent developments with Mr. Miller joining.”
He added, “So now what I have to do is look at a couple of other situations, and then sort of resubmit to the candidates’ committee my interest in those areas.”
Halkitis said he will do some “groundwork” in the upcoming weeks as he prepares to express interest in another constituency.
“At this point, it’s just a matter of looking around to see where there are some possibilities, where I may have connections in another area, where I can be effective,” he said.
“That should happen in the next couple of weeks, then I’ll have to go back before them (candidates’ committee) and interview.”
He noted the process is usually a lengthy one, with aspirant candidates having to write a letter to the party chairman and secretary general expressing interest in running for a particular constituency.
They are then invited to be interviewed before the candidates’ committee. The committee then makes a recommendation to the National General Council which decides the candidate.
“Given the fact that, currently, there appears to be an election in the air, that process might be accelerated,” Halikitis said.
“Meaning, you might write the letter and you might be called in a matter of days to be interviewed, so it depends. Normally, around this time, you’re about a year and a half out from when elections are scheduled, these processes will be happening.”
George Smith, a long-time member of the Candidates Committee, said no incumbent gets an automatic nomination.
“If I were Michael Halkitis, I wouldn’t be worried at all,” said Smith, adding that he was not speaking formally as a committee member. “Any organization that has him as a member is indeed very fortunate. It would be unconscionable to treat Michael Halkitis with disrespect. It would send the very worst message to our supporters across the country.”