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‘Obie can’t win and won’t win’

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe “can’t win and won’t win” in his bid to become PLP chairman.

“As a member of the party, who has a view on what should be happening, my view is he should not do it,” Davis told ZNS Grand Bahama on Tuesday night following a party event on that island.

“But he is not prohibited from doing it and no one is going to stop him from doing it.

“And at the end of the day, I don’t think he could win and he would not win. It’s not good to have a string of losses in the organization.”

Wilchcombe unsuccessfully ran for PLP deputy leader during the party’s 2009 convention and unsuccessfully ran for chairman during the party’s 2017 convention.

Wilchcombe formally announced that he will be challenging PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell for the post during the party’s convention, which starts today at the Melia Nassau Beach.

The matter escalated this week after Mitchell issued a voice note seemingly criticizing Wilchcombe for contesting the post.

Following his remarks on Grand Bahama, Davis issued a statement yesterday.

“There have been questions about the race for chairman of the party,” Davis said.

“I say here what I have been saying to fellow PLPs: whoever wants to run for any position should run.

“This is the time to sort these kinds of things out. I feel very good about the current team’s forward momentum.

“But if Obie wants to make an argument about why he should be chairman, he should do so.

“He came to ask me about running and I told him I don’t see that he has the support. But if he sees things differently, no one is standing in his way.”

Davis has called for a unified convention.

The Guardian also spoke to Davis outside Parliament yesterday.

“It’s not that I called for it to be uncontested,” he said.

“As a member of the party, I had a view as to what my team ought to look like as leader and going forward as how it should look.

“And I asked the convention to support that team. It’s not that no one should contest. I’ve continually said that.

“I’ve never ever discouraged ambition.”

Davis’ team includes Mitchell for chairman, Chester Cooper for deputy leader and Robyn Lynes for deputy chairman.

Many have raised concern over the call for an uncontested convention, calling the idea an undemocratic one. However, Davis insisted that is not the case.

“The party is democratic,” he said.

“Everyone has a choice.

“…Everyone is welcome to participate in the electoral process. There are some strong feelings as to who persons line up behind, and obviously sometimes when these strong feelings are expressed, things are said that irritate either side. That’s it, but it’s an internal matter and we will resolve it.”

As noted, over the weekend Mitchell sent out a message that a challenge to the chairmanship post would not be welcomed.

“No one expected, indeed, the party faithful were promised a unified convention and now it appears from various voice notes and video clips that there is a propaganda campaign which is going on which is distracting us from the central job, or has the potential to do so, because it appears there is going to be some contest,” said Mitchell in a voice note.

“Let me say this about the chairman of the party since this is the position they all seem to be targeting, I guess. The chairman of the party has to get along with the leader of the party, can’t be interested in getting the leader of the party’s job or working on behalf of someone else to get that job.

“The constitution of the party says that the chairman is responsible for the public image of the party. He’s the spokesman for the party in and out of government. So you can’t have somebody who is after the man’s job, aspiring to that office of chairman. That’s important to remember.”

In a statement yesterday, the PLP chairman issued “guidance” notes for candidates vying for office in the PLP.

“Candidates for office in the PLP should avoid making public comments which may have the effect of bringing the business of an internal party campaign into the public domain to the detriment of the PLP and bringing party members falsely into disrepute,” Mitchell said.

He added, “It is inappropriate to lead public attacks on other party members.”

Mitchell concluded, “There is a special responsibility where senior figures in the PLP are involved who should know better.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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