In a voice note announcing his bid for Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) chairman, former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe proffered several initiatives he would implement if elected, noting that the former and present PLP members of Parliament should have a say in the party’s work.
“I have been humbled by PLPs everywhere who hold to the ideals and philosophy of our great party, to lift up the common man, who have asked me to run for chairman of our party,” Wilchcombe said.
“I have listened and I do accept the challenge that you have outlined to re-inspire, rejuvenate and reignite that mighty and powerful PLP machine that led the political and social revolutions in our nation.
“The economic revolution awaits our vision, our wisdom and our political muscle. We must lead this new era for the masses.
“If the party intends to win the next general election, whenever it is called, the party must be in a state of readiness. Our apparatus must be modernized. We must know the demographics, the new voters including the youth and the new citizens.
“We must deploy the minds and hands of Bahamians on a daily basis to battle ready the troops.”
Wilchcombe said in order to do this, the party must rekindle its relationship with its traditional base.
He suggested activating an intense voter reclamation campaign to reclaim former PLP supporters and initiating a political communications program to disseminate relevant political information throughout the islands of The Bahamas.
He further noted that the party must reach out and strengthen its relationship with other groups and forecast a new economy, “paving the way to raise minimum wage”.
Wilchcombe insisted that they must mine the wealth of knowledge available within the party.
“Each voice counts,” he said.
“Former as well as present members of Parliament must have a say and be fully involved in the party’s work. Our voices are stronger when we sing together.”
Additionally, he proposed that the party’s National Progressive Institute (NPI) push a more aggressive legislative education campaign.
“The NPI should lead the way in the preparation of documents that will comprise a new agenda,” Wilchcombe said.
“They should be asked to assist in working with the PLP leadership on each island, developing a paradigm for self-sustainability in a new PLP administration.
“We will utilize our branches throughout The Bahamas to stage debates and discussions on relevant issues and more importantly legislation passed in The Parliament.
“Too often our people do not understand the legislation or the impact such legislation will have on our communities and on our lives. We must take the PLP position to the people.”
Wilchcombe also suggested reactivating the Grand Bahama Council and establishing island councils that would bring all branches together to discuss matters to be forwarded to the National General Council.
He spoke of the need to waive fees and dues for the party’s stalwart councilors, expand the party’s headquarters to establish wings in honor of its former leaders and turn those areas into resource centers and public attractions to assist with party funding.
“Unity in any organization is that led by its leadership,” he added.
“We cannot and should not assail our leaders or those who we lead. If we believe in the philosophy of the PLP, harmony and love must prevail. The political enemy is not internal. In 1974, Sir Lynden [Pindling] encouraged the PLP to engage in internal democracy. We must work together, we must fight for our people, we must give them hope and we must inspire. Let us together press on toward the mark.”
Wilchcombe previously served as party chairman. He ran again for the position during the party’s October 2017 convention but was defeated by Senator Fred Mitchell.
The PLP’s convention starts today at Melia Nassau Beach.
In a statement yesterday, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said while he feels good about the current leadership team’s “forward momentum”, if Wilchcombe 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,” Davis said. “But if he sees things differently, no one is standing in his way.”