During a service of thanksgiving after his recovery from COVID-19, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis last night formally welcomed Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller “home” and insisted the MP was ostracized by the Free National Movement (FNM) because he stood against abuse and actions that were harmful to the Bahamian people’s interests.
“At the beginning of the current administration, when they went against their campaign promises and introduced that shock increase in VAT (value-added tax), Mr. Miller voted against his former party,” said Davis at the event at Adelaide Primary School.
“The retaliation against him was savage and swift, and he was immediately fired from his job (as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development). And yet, he stood strong in the face of enormous pressure, and he put first what he felt to be the best interests of his constituents.”
Davis added that when the parliamentary vote came up on a resolution to rent space in Town Centre Mall (owned partly by then-Cabinet minister Brent Symonette) for the relocation of the General Post Office, Miller again stood up and said no.
“He stood up for what was right,” Davis insisted.
“Let us remember that although he was a member of the other party, when it was time to do the right thing, he stood with us.”
Davis added, “That is why he is here tonight. He is here because when it counted, he did the right thing.”
Since then, Davis said, “His journey towards our Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has been steady and deliberate. He has witnessed the empty promises, the incompetence and the failed leadership of the present administration. He has seen, heard and now embraces the principles, values and policies of our party.”
The opposition leader claimed, “Mr. Miller’s political journey is one that is now being made by so many in our country. Many thousands were taken in by the empty campaign promises of change and national development, only to have the brutal realities of incompetence, lack of compassion and political favoritism flung in their faces.
“And now that we are just over halfway through this administration, the whole country now suffers because the present leadership has failed the trials and tests wrought by Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
His declaration came on the same day The Bahamas’ total COVID-19 case count surpassed 4,000.
Praising Miller further for his actions in national life, Davis also said, “I wish to announce that Mr. Miller has been able, through the support of a benefactor, to provide some additional support through his constituency office assistance for the neediest of cases. This will go some way, we hope, to assist suffering in the constituency. The PLP wants to show that we do not just talk but we act to help those in need.”
Miller’s entrance to the PLP pushed the opposition party’s total seats in the 39-seat legislature to five. It came nine months after he left the Free National Movement and became an independent.
Davis said, “Mr. Miller has seen who we are. Mr. Miller has shown us who he [is]. Please join me in embracing Vaughn Miller, MP, as we welcome him back home to the Progressive Liberal Party.”
Miller’s move to the PLP threatens the nomination of Michael Halkitis, the former Golden Isles MP, and former PLP minister, who lost against Miller in 2017.
Halkitis was hoping to make a comeback in the next election.