Tuesday, 7th June, 2011
STATEMENT: There has been much wild speculation and sensational comment in the media about my involvement with the Constituency of South Andros and the vocal and spirited public support my assumed candidacy for the nomination of the Progressive Liberal Party in the next General Election is generating.
Some of the comments, if left unanswered, may lead to wrongful interpretations or worst still, foster disingenuous and uninformed comments and observations.
As I was actively engaged of recent in working with the South Andros Regatta Committee to co-sponsor during the Labour Day weekend, what is now deemed by many to have been the most successful South Andros Regatta to-date, I decided to leave political comment alone so as not to impeach the integrity and zeal of the Regatta. I wanted the fullest possible economic boon to accrue to the good people of South Andros during the Regatta and I am happy to report that it did.
I wish to now set the record straight on the political front.
I have in no way, shape or form impugned, maligned or negatively sought to displace or discredit the current PLP Incumbent Member of Parliament, Mr. Picewell Forbes, who is my colleague and friend.
Indeed, I should point out that it was Mr. Forbes who endorsed my interest in coming into the Constituency as he was of the view that the Boundaries Commission might create a third seat on the Island of Andros with portions of the South Andros Constituency being allotted to this presumptive third seat.
I wish to remind all that in 2002 I ran the for the then Official Opposition PLP which, in addition to having lost the two consecutive General Elections immediately prior to 2002, saw the death of its icon, National Hero and Father of the Nation, Sir Lynden Pindling.
It was during this time that the PLP watched whilst Hubert Ingraham and the FNM moved on all fronts to further relegate Bahamians to second class citizens in our country by blatantly and shamelessly proposing to cede the historically significant Clifton Estate (The Whylly Plantation) to an international developer for luxury home residential subdivision.
I considered these things to be a call to arms. Not only did I take on the fight to save Clifton, I felt led to join the team assembled by The Right Honourable Perry G. Christie to contest the 2002 General Elections and do my part to ensure that such debauchery was eliminated from our political consciousness forever.
I recall that in 2002, Mr. Forbes was vigourously courted by the PLP to contest the South Andros seat in the General Election for the PLP. He declined the offer for reasons best known to him, choosing instead to enter front-line politics for the Governing PLP in the 2007 General Elections.
In 2002, I ran in the Mount Moriah Constituency against Mr. O.A.T. “Tommy” Turnquest who was at that time, the Leader of the Governing FNM and Prime Minister-in-waiting. Against all odds and wagers, my Candidacy prevailed and for first time in Bahamian political history since the introduction of Party politics in 1953, the Leader of the governing party lost his Parliamentary Seat.
My victory over Mr. Turnquest also marked only the fifth time in Bahamian political history that the Leader of a political party lost his Parliamentary Seat.
The first, HENRY MILTON TAYLOR (Later Sir Henry, former Governor General), then Leader of the PLP who lost his Long Island seat in the 1958 General Elections.
The second was PAUL ADDERLEY, then Leader of the NDP who lost his seat in the 1967 General Elections.
The third was CECIL WALLACE-WHITFIELD (Later Sir Cecil), then Leader of the FNM who lost his seat in the 1972 General Elections.
The fourth was RANDOL FAWKES (later Sir Randol), Leader of the Labour Party who lost his seat in the 1972 General Elections.
There are some in the PLP who quite wrongly feel that a sitting Incumbent has an automatic right to the Candidacy for a subsequent nomination. Not only is this view deeply harmful to any nomination process, it is also anti-democratic and peculiarly, NON-PLP.
The late Great Sir Lynden, in his political wisdom, caused an amendment of the Party’s Constitution in the 1970s which gave effect to a new policy position that made ALL Incumbents subject to review before going forward again as Candidates.
To this end, history tells me that powerful and colourful PLP Parliamentarians and Statesmen were denied nominations in favour of other new PLP Applicants. These included:
- CADWELL ARMBRISTER (replaced by Paul L. Adderley),
- HENRY BOWEN (replaced by Moses Hall),
- SIMEON BROWN (replaced George Weech),
- RUBY ANNE COOPER-DARLING (replaced by George Smith),
- LIONEL DAVIS (replaced by Frank Edgecombe),
- CARLTON ELISHA FRANCIS (replaced by Edward “Bobby” Glinton),
- OSCAR N. JOHNSON (replaced by Carl Smith),
- EDMUND MOXEY (replaced by Sinclair Outten), and
- FRANKLYN R. WILSON (replaced by Shadrach Morris).
Indeed, today there are at least three other Constituencies currently represented by Incumbent PLP MPs where there are vigourous challenges from other PLPs to replace them as Candidates in the upcoming General Elections. Therefore, I find it discourteous and suspicious that only my challenge in South Andros is being demonized. And I reject it.
As a former Vice Chairman of the PLP and a keen and avid supporter of the Leadership of The Rt. Honourable Perry G. Christie as our beloved Leader, having fought to secure his leadership at four National General Conventions, my credentials as a PLP committed to the Christie vision of transition and transformation are bona-fide and unassailable.
I will make no apology for accepting the call of the people of South Andros. I shall keep my name in the ring before the Candidate’s Committee of the PLP. God willing, I shall soon be determined to be their Candidate for the upcoming General Election.
I don’t expect any special favours. Indeed, I am not one of the so called “blue eyed boys” who get to cherry pick where they wish to run. Nor am I arrogant to the extent where some have declared they will be running for the PLP as a threat rather than as an entreaty. I am just an ordinary ‘fella’ raised in the Low Cost Government Housing Subdivision of Big Pond by an ordinary hard-working mother who was abandoned by her husband when I was a mere toddler.
I am humbled by my desire to serve.
It was Sir Lynden speaking from Kemps Bay, South Andros on that August 19th night in 1992 who reminds us again that the “voice of the people is the voice of God”. Today, the people of South Andros are speaking. If we truly “put people first”, let us listen to them and ensure that powerful forays into South Andros by special interest groups seeking to engineer democracy are rebuked and discontinued.