STATEMENT BY I. CHESTER COOPER MP -Re. PLP CONVENTION
September 20, 2017
Let me firstly thank the wonderful people of Exuma, Exuma Cays & Ragged Island for giving me the opportunity to serve as their Member of Parliament. My continued thoughts and prayers go out to the people and descendants of Ragged Island who experienced the vicious ravages of Hurricane Irma.
After much thought, prayerful consideration and discussions with my family and those whose counsel I value, I have decided to offer myself for Deputy Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party at the upcoming October convention.
Given the challenges and opportunities facing the party at this time, I am confident that I can lend my talents to the leader and leadership of the party to help reform, rebrand, reenergize and reinvigorate the PLP as we seek to return to our core values, regain the confidence of the majority of the Bahamian people and return as the Government of the Bahamas in 2022 or whenever election is called.
As Deputy Leader, I can and will play a deliberate role in the rebuilding and transformation of the party, but I will also focus on the constituency I’ve pledged to help transform with my eVision 2030 plan. I’m very focused on making progress happen for the people of Exuma, Exuma Cays & Ragged Island.
We will need all hands on deck if we as a party and its leaders are to demonstrate to the nation that we are capable of rebounding from our recent loss and can become stronger, more efficient, and more effective.
The Bahamas is faced with a need for social mobility, education, moving poor people into the middle class and creating business opportunities to expand an upper class.
To even begin to do this, and to address many of the social ills that plague us like crime; we must get back to prioritizing education, properly resourcing it and making it the great equalizer that it can and should be.
We must get back to instilling a sense of pride in our people – as individuals, and a nation.
The Bahamas also has a pressing need to create and shore up institutions that protect the vulnerable and uplift them; these were the core values the PLP started with and we still hold sacred to this day.
The PLP championed a political transformation in The Bahamas. People now understand the power of their vote, the ability to use that vote to create change in government and national change generally, as we did with majority rule and independence.
The PLP led a social transformation in this great country, from creating a safety net like NIB to inspiring Bahamians to move up in the socio-economic strata, to own a nation, to believe in ourselves, and not cower in the face of opportunity for upward mobility.
With that back-drop, my desire to seek the deputy leadership of the PLP is also to help expand and implement the ideal of the economic transformation of our people and our nation. This would be the natural evolution from whence we came. A transformation where entrepreneurship thrives, our economy blossoms and our people are empowered.
As deputy leader, I commit to executing a plan to bring disaffected voters home to the PLP, attract new voters and expand our base with engagement and a commitment to swiftly confronting the woes that stifle our party and endanger our nation. A plan that embraces our millennials, values the wisdom of our elders and regains the trust of the Bahamian people.
The Progressive Liberal Party has come too far, has been propped up by the sacrifice, prayers and hard-work and resilience of our past and present leaders and our members too many to name, to fade into the annals of history now. We must be resurgent. We must not falter, we will not fail.
This convention will be a pivotal one, and I ask for the support and vote of all stalwart councilors and delegates to allow me to play a pivotal role in helping to implement the needed reforms and carry our party forward.
With much hard work, and God’s help, we can rise from the ashes of defeat and return to governance in 2022 or before, to continue the work the PLP was established to do: help those less fortunate, educate our populace, empower our people and raise the standard and quality of life for all those throughout our beloved Bahamaland.
May God bless you. May God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.