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BRADLEY B. ROBERTS
PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL PARTY
PYL GENERAL MEETING
LYNDEN PINDLING CENTER
20 NOVEMBER 2015
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (1Timothy 4:12 – KJV)
These words of admonition and wisdom by the Apostle Timothy will serve you well in your personal lives, your professional lives and in your public lives should you decide on a life of public service.
Mr. Party leader and Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie;
Officers and members of the Progressive Young Liberals;
Ladies and Gentlemen, a pleasant good evening
I have had the occasion to say this before and I say it again. Recruitment secures the temporary growth of an organization, but succession planning secures its continued viability, growth and development.
Leadership and Succession Planning
I say that to make the broader point that as members of the Progressive Young Liberals, you are the future leaders of the Progressive Liberal Party and by extension, the country. It is therefore important that you so deport yourself in your work, conversation, your spirit, your faith and in your purity that you become the obvious choice during the process of succession planning and execution.
Trust me when I tell you that patience is a virtue, just as David was patient when he sat at the feet of King Saul and learned all he could about leadership, governance and integrity. When Saul committed suicide, David became the obvious successor based purely on how he deported himself.
Whenever any organization – political or otherwise – recruit from without, the first thing you must ask yourself is, what is it that the leadership saw in the outsider that it did not see in me and use that to challenge yourself to become better leaders.
I also encourage you to be the aggressor and agitate for a mentorship program within the PLP instead of complaining about what does not exist. If you perceive yourself as an agent of change then you must become the change you wish to see and you begin that process through agitation.
Remember PYL, leadership is not a popularity contest, but is about having the courage and strength of character to do the right thing.
The FNM left the finance of the economy in a wheel chair as confirmed by Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis. Notwithstanding that the FNM government agreed with tax reform and executed some of the ground work for the introduction of Value Added Tax, the FNM and its supporters in the Press vigorously opposed VAT. I hasten to remind you that reform to our fiscal system was long overdue and badly needed. The government talked about this for decades but the PLP demonstrated leadership in introducing VAT. Today, of its strongest opponents who spent lots of monies to poison the public’s mind in the person of Rupert Roberts of Super Value has nothing but praises for VAT.
THE PLP IMPLEMENTED VAT BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO AND IT IS UNDER THOSE DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES THAT YOU DETERMINE WHO IS LEADER FROM WHO IS NOT. YOU DETERMINE WHO IS A MAN FROM WHO IS A MOUSE. AND WE ALL KNOW MICE LIKE TO RUN AND HIDE. WE ALSO KNOW THAT IN THE VALLEY OF DECISION, WHO STOOD TALL LIKE A MAN TO WHO HEADED FOR THE FIRST HOLE HE COULD FIND TO HIDE.
No political party has ever been elected to governance without a culture of strong social and political activism. The PLP aligned itself with the labour movement in the 1950’s and has always agitated for the common man and his and her needs.
Always ensure that the thrust of your activism is aligned with the founding and guiding principles of the party. The principles of social justice and economic justice and you must always demonstrate the compassion to do for those who cannot do for themselves. Always be true to your guiding principles.
Consider the opposition to National Health Insurance which will bring long overdue relief to the poor and indigent; human right is being is being vigorously opposed by special interest groups and the FNM. We must do the right thing and eliminate this culture of Bahamians dying because they can’t afford the cost of medical care. I am not in the business of predicting but I invite Young Liberals and the general public to stay tuned. I predict that NHI will be introduced in the Public interest and will be as successful as the introduction of National Insurance and Value Added Tax. The policy and principle of Universal health insurance is consistent with the founding and guiding principles of the PLP so we must implement it.
So I say again PYL, be true to your guiding principles for it is the only way to retain your integrity.
These principles must also guide and influence your narrative on public policy proposals. Your peers represent the largest demographic of what we call in politics the ‘swing vote’ because the youth are generally less politically committed than their parents and grandparents. Also, their narrative almost always reflects where they would want to see the country in the future. Your policy advice and proposal to the party’s leadership should therefore reflect this forward thinking.
There is no weapon in any people driven organization more potent than organization. Political parties are people driven organization. The Republicans scorned Barack Obama for being a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. As it turned out, that was the key to his success. The PLP was able to successfully bring about a social revolution through their community based organizations and that is why even today it has the reputation of being a grass roots organization. You must organize from the ground up, and focus your message at that level – one community at a time.
REMEMBER, USE THE PARTY’S CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE AND ORGANIZE AS THERE IS POWER IN NUMBERS!!
Remember, it is written that you are called because of your strength and you must use that strength to serve others and your time as a youth to perfect your craft through constructive engagement. You have as your keynote speaker, the man with the most parliamentary experience in The Bahamas at more than 40 years. He spent half of those years as an executive in the cabinet and headed the cabinet for over eight years.
So I commend you for having these public meetings that stimulate the exchange of ideas and strengthen the fraternal bonds necessary to withstand adversity from outside and from within. Always galvanize your efforts around your common interests and agreements as that will make for a more efficient use of your human capital and resources.
Remember as chairman, I have an open door policy and I am reachable through multiple media and I stand prepared to use my good office to render any assistance I can under the constitution of the party.
Thank you for your kind invitation, a heart welcome and a pleasant good night.