The PLP squandered a public relations coup and a chance to demonstrate that they are turning over a new leaf. Going in to the next election the party should want to show that it is open to fresh faces, especially women.
The daughter of the revered leader of the party, the late Sir Lynden Pindling, offered them a golden opportunity to show that they had truly put out a clean welcome mat for newbies.
Monique Pindling has been telegraphing her interest in politics for some time. At the PLP convention last year, she warned the party about its tendency to associate itself with her father’s name, while doing nothing to preserve his legacy.
Then came her public smack-down as the party put out the no-vacancy sign telling her she need not apply for the Andros constituency her late father represented in Parliament for over 25 years, having decamped there after first winning in Over-the-Hill New Providence districts in 1956 and 1962.
Using the feeblest excuse possible, the party said they would remain loyal to the four MPs who didn’t get washed away in the FNM tsunami in the last general election.
While this may sound admirable and even loyal, it is actually a slap in the face to the people of the same Andros constituency now represented by Picewell Forbes.
It appears none of the big-wigs in the PLP bothered to ask the constituents whether they want to keep Forbes or if they wanted to let Pindling have a go at representing them in Parliament.
That same week one of the true dinosaurs of the party, Leslie Miller, brazenly predicted that he and a handful of “old boys”, who used to be standard bearers for the party, will definitely be returning to front-line politics.
Party Chairman Fred Mitchell didn’t wade into that pool, largely because he is one of those defeated 2017 candidates who harbors ambition to return to Parliament and to the Cabinet.
For the party to make significant inroads with the national electorate, they will have to do more than just criticize the government. They will have to put forward an army of new faces, including a lot more women, to prove that they have tamped down their blatant cronyism.
Pindling wants to continue the legacy. Good for her. She is entitled to chart her own course in politics by standing on her father’s shoulders. Both her parents have roots in Andros and so it is understandable that she wants to plant her political corn in fertile ground.
She has probably done what any aspiring politician does, canvassing the area, breaking bread, sipping tea and getting to know the residents by name.
Were the sitting MP on a solid footing in the Mangrove Cay and South Andros constituency, voters would have informed Pindling long ago and she likely would have packed her Georgie-bundle and looked elsewhere.
Instead, it is likely that she got a positive reception and lots of encouragement to run from a good slice of the 1,863 electors who voted in 2017.
Forbes won the constituency with just 46 percent of the votes, which means that between Zendal Forbes of the FNM (720 votes), Cyril Miller of the DNA (21 votes) and independent spoiler Sharmie Farrington Austin (273 votes), the majority voted against the PLP last time.
Perhaps Pindling could do well in the constituency in 2022. But instead of sliding the tsunami survivor Forbes into a safe constituency elsewhere, it was Pindling they told to take a hike.
And they didn’t say, “By the way, Ms. Pindling, we believe we could use your name power in a marginal constituency elsewhere”.
The smart bet is that it would be better to have Pindling and her posse tied down and busy in a single constituency on Andros than to have them roaming free around the Commonwealth doing as they please.
History has shown that family dynasties represent a high-return on political investment. The Pindling flame still burns in the PLP and no doubt there are some who will take offense at the perceived slight of Pindling.
Her sister tried and failed to get voted into Parliament. Her brothers have shied away from politics, and the sip-sip was that the family baton was likely to be passed on to Sir Lynden’s grandchildren.
It is just as likely that current PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis didn’t want the distraction of senior Pindlingites snapping at his heels.
Pindling has demonstrated an independent streak and God forbid Brave has to watch his rear flank for disgruntled Lynden Pindling acolytes, or perhaps a living parent, advocating for her at every turn.
— The Graduate