( appeared originally in The Tribune)
EDITOR, The Tribune
Thank God for the drama that unfolded over the fight for chairman of the PLP, otherwise their just-concluded convention would have had the same effect as a handful of sleeping pills.
Nothing new came out of the convention except for the usual fluff about turning over a new leaf (to reveal the same old dross).
What’s news about the convention was all the stuff that happened behind the camera and out of view of the conventioneers.
Obie Wilchcombe surprised absolutely no-one when he decided to rain all over Philip “Brave” Davis’ coronation. Davis wanted to portray that he had the party on lock-down, but it became painfully obvious that not all regard him as the natural successor of Lynden Pindling and heir to the Pingdom.
Wilchcombe has long coveted that crown. He believed that Davis was malleable and so he reverted to his default position. He overplayed his hand. His platform was nothing more than bluster. The “people” told him to run, said he. Apparently, he has trouble with math because only 341 of “the people” showed up to vote for him. He got rolled out by Fred Mitchell, the incumbent who desperately wanted to be returned unopposed, as were the two sitting House members – Brave and Chester Cooper (leader and deputy respectively).
Mitchell has been trying to put his stamp on a party post that is still pretty much haunted by the ghost of Bradley Roberts, it’s larger-than-life verbose former chairman who is no longer of this earth.
Bradley was good largely because he was not afraid of Perry Christie, he could raise hell and he could raise money. No strategist was he.
Fred’s strength seems to be his loyalty to Brave (born more out of pragmatism than dogma), and his ability to articulate and execute a public relations platform that is heavy on propaganda and social media and glaringly light on policy or message.
Curiously, one would have expected a more central role for the lone female candidate on the PLP’s parliamentary team, Glenys Hanna Martin. Mrs Martin is a likeable rabble-rouser who should have featured on the poster for the “new” PLP. She is female and a Hanna.
Unfortunately for her, the sip-sip on the convention floor was that she is too closely aligned to Wilchombe’s rudderless political ambition to carve a lane for herself on the PLP’s highway to La La Land.
Right out of the box Brave says he will bring a motion of no-confidence in the Prime Minister over his handling of the Post Office relocation. He must realise that dog can’t hunt. The cabinet minister involved jumped (or was pushed) out the door. The workers were so sickened by the appalling conditions at the old post office that even a tent outside would have been an improvement, and the people (separate from Obie’s “people”) are not up in arms about having to visit the Town Centre Mall to transact their philatelic business.
Like Obie, Brave seems to have a problem with math. He controls four votes in the House. The target of his parliamentary fire controls the other 34 and a half (the other half belonging to the temperamental member from Pineridge).
Obie got bludgeoned on the convention floor, including with snide jabs from Pindling’s daughter who says the family is sick and tired of people washing out their mouths with her late father’s name. Ms Pindling could use a lesson on what luxuries public figures give up when they enter the political arena. Pindling’s name is synonymous with his policies and that is ours to dissect for the ages.
Obie now wants Brave to let him into the same tent that he spent the run-up to the convention micturating all over.
Politics makes for strange bedfellows but making nice with Obie serves no form of expediency for Brave. West Grand Bahama is probably unwinnable by the PLP in the next general election and so the PLP strategy must be to dig elsewhere for election gold.
They run the risk of looking like hypocrites when they use as a defense against sleeping with Obie in the same bed again, the dubious argument about not running has-beens.
That would immediately preclude Brave, Mitchell and a handful of other veterans of parliament and cabinet that any leader would be well served to take advise from.
At the end of the day, the role of chairman of any of our political parties is largely irrelevant. All of the action is with the leader, who, in case Obie needs to be reminded, heads the nomination committee.
Quick, there’s banknote with Pindling’s picture on it for anyone who can name the chairman of the FNM. And no, it’s not David Wallace. Good guess though.
31 July 2019