There is a lot of public chatter about the nature of a PLP nomination. It is interesting how so many in the press seem interested and the public at large in what is being done with PLP nominations. Interesting because at the same time, the folk who are so interested seek to dismiss the PLP as a spent public force.
What we also find interesting is the number of internal PLP campaigns for a nomination who encourage their followers in the mantra: so and so or nothing. Some will go up to leaders of the PLP and say something like this: if you don’t send so and so then we will stay home. One went so far as to say that their aspirant of choice would run as an independent if the aspirant was not chosen. In the background was the chant : so and so or nothing”.
These must be very valuable nominations indeed to argue for a zero sum game in that way. It is all or nothing. My way or the highway.
Then there are those who have been in the public domain arguing that the fact that the National General Council of the PLP has the ultimate say in who and who does not get a nomination is something new.
Political organizations in western democracies have certain features. They are democratic to some extent but not to a fault. At the end of the day, it is the Council, the Nominating Committee and the ultimately the leader of the party that has the say on who runs on the ticket and who does not. That was and is the system in the PLP, like other western liberal left of centre parties. It is not different in the United Kingdom or anywhere in the Caribbean.
One obvious example was that of Patrick Manning, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago at the time, who vetoed the choice of the local association to renominate his then Deputy Ken Varley. Mr. Varley was popular amongst the local party supporters and in the country at large but Mr. Manning insisted he could not agree and he was deselected. Mr. Manning never said why but history revealed that he was correct in this position.
In The Bahamas, Perry Christie as Head of the PLP, publicly staked out the ground when he said despite the local popularity of Whitney Bastian, he would not be accepted as a nominee for the PLP for South Andros. Mr. Christie famously said that he would rather lose doing the right thing than win doing the wrong thing. People of the PLP deferred to the Leader of the Party. Turns out he was correct.
That has been the system from H M Taylor, to L. O. Pindling to P G Christie in the PLP.
Now some want to argue the novel proposition that none of these review procedures that have served the party well in the past should apply because Philip Edward Brave Davis is the Leader of the PLP. You must ask yourself where does the logic of that position come from?
So when the PLP was in the ashes in 2017, and on three occasions at conventions since then, the supporters of the PLP turned to the man who now leads the party to reshape and reform the organization to prepare it for general elections. A line was drawn under the past that led the PLP to arguably worst defeat ever. So it must be logical that the fellow ought to be given the same, fair, clean shot to reorganize and reshape the organization that all of this predecessors had without legacy issues interfering.
So beat the drum, pray to the almighty, shout loudly, vote in the primaries, all is fair, but the process is still subject to the review and reshaping of the Candidates Committee, the National General Council and the views of the Leader of the Party.
The PLP is a franchise. It belongs to the body corporate and until the body corporate signs off on the use of the franchise, no one can use it or claim it. Those who say: so and so or nothing, we hope that they understand fully what that slogan actually means for them if decisions are not in their favour. The more mature one is, the more one ought to advise oneself not to say the well from which you will not drink.