September 28th, 2015.
A weekly political blog partial to the Progressive Liberal Party made two distinctive comments, amongst many. The first was, “We believe that the present Leader and Deputy Leader are great assets to the PLP and the country.” The second was “We do not agree with political subterfuge, assassination or murder”. I am in full agreement with both comments.
Perry G. Christie, Leader of the PLP and Prime Minister of The Bahamas, after much deliberation , publically and clearly announced his intention to re-offer for Leader of the PLP at the coming party convention in November. Whether this intention suggests that he will lead his party into contesting the 2017 General Elections will become more clear as time moves on. It is common knowledge that there are others from PM Christie’s Cabinet who have also expressed an interest in assuming the mantle of PLP leadership, the principal one being his Deputy Prime Minister, Philip Brave Davis.
President Obama on his African visit in July 2015, lectured African leaders by telling them “When Leaders (or supporters) say, I’m the only person who can hold the nation together. If that’s true, then that Leader has failed to truly build their nation” Or in the PLP’s case, their Party. It would be unfair and unreasonable to accuse Mr. Christie of such an egotistical view. I heard him enunciate at a recent meeting of the Women’s Branch of PLP, that he is only one leader amongst several in the PLP who can take the party forward. But, it was also crystal clear that Mr. Christie was encouraging the Women’s branch and by extension the broader family of PLP’s, to take one more step with him.
Long serving PLP supporter and activist, Mr. George Smith stated that “Mr. Christie is no bully”. Neither is he despotic, having subjected himself to the decisions of vibrant democracies inside and outside his party on so many occasions during his political life. Furthermore, as the Leader in his Cabinet, his management style has facilitated and encouraged Cabinet colleagues in exercising their own reasonable discretion in the performance of their duties. In fact, the PM has taken great personal criticism for his Cabinet colleagues, with the suggestion that they are allowed too much freedom in their public commentary and actions.
Why does PM Christie wish to serve again as PLP Leader? Why may he determine to lead the PLP into another election? Do PLP’s wish Mr. Christie to continue to lead them? I, a lifetime PLP speak for myself in blurting out that I fully support Mr. Christie 100% to continue to lead the PLP. Some institutions are so shaped by the extraordinary contributions of a single person, that it is difficult to imagine one without the other. That is the current feeling of a broad based assemblage of PLP Convention delegates. Prior to 2002, the PLP had been decimated in two consecutive elections. Mr. Christie, with his unbridled energy, enthusiasm and political acumen re-established the PLP in the minds and hearts of the electorate. He always celebrated the prowess of his PLP team in the great victories our party achieved under his guidance.
Political leadership requires vision, hard work, astuteness and boldness. PLP’s and the country have seen a Christie lead PLP tackle improvement in government finances via VAT implementation, regularization and generation of needed tax income from local gaming establishments that have historically, operated in the black market , start BAMSI to enhance aspects and perception of agricultural links to the economy, introduce the concept of Junkanoo Carnival to mitigate unemployment by creating an industry of artisans. Recent trends in unemployment numbers attest to the feasibility of strengthening the support for Junkanoo Carnival. PM Christie’s decision to challenge the developer of Bahamar’s legal maneuvers proved to be a bold controversial move, to achieve a better “public good”. Finally NHI to insure Bahamians against the financially crippling costs of proper health care, is an ideal objective of PM Christie that must be implemented.
These agenda items are no indication of someone who has lost the zeal to continue to drive the Bahamas forward for the benefit of all. The fact that PM Christie has stated that he will offer again can only mean that he will petition PLP’s to allow him more time to personally control the implementation and oversight of certain key matters. Those who desire his job should be embraced, but encouraged to continue to support PM Christie’s vision and his request to take one more step with him. There is no easy or pretty way to say it. While Mr. Christie has been challenged for leadership at previous conventions, he was never in the role of Prime Minister. For the Prime Ministers’s hand-picked, Deputy and Cabinet colleague to challenge him at Convention, sends the simple message that DPM Davis feels that Party Leader Christie is a “spent force” and should be gone in replace of him, as presumably he can connect with the Bahamian electorate more intimately that Christie can. In brief, that he Davis has the winning formula for the PLP and not Christie. Such a declaration can only be regarded as an extreme act of no confidence in Mr. Christie’s leadership.
Anyone bringing that anti-Christie tone into the PLP Convention will be in for the shock of their lives. I think PLP’s feel as I do. There are demeaning characterizations made of Stalwart Counselors as these “old geezers” who back PM Christie solidly. I personally know many of them. Their faculties are intact. They can feel who brings the passion to a political campaign. They can see and hear who creates the excitement. They can smell who can likely deliver the bacon. That is why they are in PM Christie’s corner. He, leading a team has taken them on victory marches before and they believe he still has what it takes to do so again.
For the record, I pray daily that my friend and DPM Davis does not challenge PM Christie in Convention. My respect and admiration for him is equally as strong as my feelings for my current Party Leader. I would hate to see him play a diminishing role in the PLP’s future. PLP’s will know when it’s time for new leadership and changing leaders has to be about more than, “it’s my time now”. PM Christie and DPM Davis were a very effective campaign force in the 2012 election. I believe they can continue to be a highly valued political team that can construct a platform for the PLP to win the 2017 elections. Put egos and personal ambitions on the shelf for now. Failure to do so will result in the opposite for PLP’s of the Flowers webshop slogan, – “everybody loses”.
September 24, 2015