As we approach the electoral period, it is important that the major political parties vet, select and groom potential new candidates to offer on behalf of the respective entity. Hitherto, we have seen the spectacle of the actual nomination and election of assorted candidates over the years who were elected on the ticket for one party only to turn renegade and switch to another party after falling out with their original party.
A year or so before the 2012 general election, Renward Wells and Andre Rollins flirted with a political fringe group whose name I am unable to recall. They and their then-allies were all over the news media. They cussed out and lambasted all and sundry within the PLP and the FNM. They paid little attention to the DNA.
Later, Wells and Rollins abruptly abandoned their fringe group in the dead of night and joined forces with the Christie-led PLP. Indeed, few, if any of their colleagues were aware of ongoing negotiations and jockeying for relatively safe seats with both the then-ruling PLP and the opposition FNM.
I publicly advised Christie and the PLP NOT to embrace those two Johnny-come-lately characters. They did not listen and the rest is history.
Wells and Rollins were elected under the banner of the PLP and appointed to prestigious posts. Within a year or so, they both became fierce thorns in the flesh of the Christie leadership cadre. Eventually, they crossed the floor and were embraced by Dr. Hubert Minnis, who was himself under a vicious political assault by forces loyal to Loretta Butler-Turner.
Minnis survived as leader of the FNM and Wells was guaranteed, or so it seemed, under the FNM for the 2017 general election. Rollins has since faded from the political landscape.
In the sweeping victory of the FNM in 2017, Wells was re-elected for Bamboo Town and appointed leader of government business in the House of Assembly.
Reece Chipman (Centreville); Vaughn Miller (Golden Isles); Frederick McAlpine (Pineridge) and Travis Robinson (Bains and Grants Town) subsequently became problematic for the FNM regime.
Much precious time was lost keeping these MPs at bay. Now, we are about to witness, again, the naked jockeying for nominations and ratifications.
The National Republican Alliance (ARENA) will support the return to office of the new deal PLP led by Philip Brave Davis, QC, MP. It would take a miracle for Minnis and the FNM to secure re-election due to their bungling of responses to Dorian and now the ongoing pandemic. A large number of Bahamians no longer believe or trust the Minnis administration.
The PLP must not simply embrace any Tom, Dick or Harry willy-nilly as potential candidates. The party must ensure that applicants are real deal PLPs and are seeped in the basic tenets and philosophies of the iconic PLP. No carpet baggers. No suspected glad handlers. No wolves in sheep’s clothing and, for sure, no self-serviced wannabe members of Parliament.
ARENA will support attorney Jomo C. Campbell as the PLP standard bearer in Centerville. In Freetown, we will run with the incumbent, Dionisio D’Aguilar. In Southern Shores, we will support the re-election of Frankie Alfred Campbell. In Bains and Grants Town, ARENA will contest that constituency on a stand-alone basis.
Over in St. Barnabas, Shanendon Cartwright has our support.
We encourage McAlpine to join forces with the Davis-led new deal PLP.
Miller is already with the progressive forces so we will also support him.
All other seats must be contested by suitable candidates from the PLP.
ARENA seeks accountability, transparency, fiscal management and a diversified and robust economy — no more, no less.
— Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.