EDITOR, The Tribune.
AFTER listening and watching the PLP's election campaign as it moves through the various constituencies I am forced to ask the question: "Is Perry Christie the Leader of the PLP or is he leader in name only?"
In June of 2007, the PLP commissioned a report known as the Greenberg Quinlin Rosner report which was based on a post election survey and sought to provide the reasons for the PLP's loss. Two of the most notable points which this PLP report said that contributed to the PLP's loss at the polls included: "Cleansing of the party's reputation" and "Perry Christie's leadership qualities".
In regards to the PLP's reputation the report emphasised the fact that one of the main reasons that the Perry Christie-led PLP government lost the election was because it was seen as a scandal-ridden party and government "more focused on doing things that benefit its own politicians than for people".
And yet the PLP would now have us believe that they have changed and are now the party which puts Bahamians first?
It is my understanding that some of these scandals included the attempt to sell BTC in a backroom deal to unknown persons whose identities are yet to be confirmed; the Korean fishing boat scandal; the $10,000 US dollar bills which were found in the closet of a sitting Cabinet Minister and the Shane Gibson issue involving Anna Nicole.
To date, there has been no indication that the PLP has purged itself of the corruption from its ranks, as suggested it should do by the PLP report.
To the contrary, Perry Christie, for whatever reason, is in fact running some of the same scandal-ridden tainted candidates that he ran in 2007 and these same people who contributed to this perception are still major players in the party today and should the PLP win these same persons will most likely be Cabinet Ministers once again.
Can this be the same party that is now trying to convince the Bahamian public that it will put Bahamians first? To date, there is no evidence which suggests that the PLP has done anything to purge its ranks and to demonstrate that it is not a party that puts more emphasis on its own politicians rather than the Bahamian people.
In fact, recently it has been discovered that Perry Christie and Brave Davis were advisers to a major company that is seeking to drill for oil in the Bahamas.
Who do you think will benefit if the PLP wins the election and grants a license to this company?
Although Mr Christie says that he is no longer an adviser, will the beneficiaries be the Bahamian public or some of the PLP's own politicians. As they say a leopard never changes its spots.
The PLP's commissioned report also speaks to Perry Christie's leadership qualities or lack thereof and in fact states that voters do not see Mr Christie as a forceful or decisive leader like Hubert Ingraham.
Could this be the reason why the PLP seem to be ashamed of their leader and are in fact limiting his public appearances and utterances?
Has Perry Christie been displaced as leader of the PLP or is he just the face of the PLP while others are actually running the party?
As the election draws near these are questions which are pertinent to the electorate and must be answered.
Throughout the period leading up to the election Bahamians have been very vocal on the talk shows about the power which the Constitution of the Bahamas places on the Office of Prime Minister.
For this mere fact alone it is important that we focus on leadership and the leadership qualities of those persons vying for this high office during this election. Thus as we analyse the parties and their platforms we must also analyse closely the leaders of these parties and the qualities which each leader brings to the table.
To date, there is no evidence that Perry Christie has done anything to convey to the Bahamian public that he can be a strong and decisive leader.
In fact, all evidence points to the contrary. He was not decisive and forceful enough to convince Shane Gibson to step down as a candidate when in fact the PLP's report stated that Mr Gibson's issue with Anna Nicole accounted for 19 per cent of the PLP's loss in 2007.
Mr Christie was not decisive and forceful enough to purge his party of the corruption and scandals which, according to the PLP's commissioned report, accounted for 47 per cent of their loss at the polls.
He was not decisive and forceful enough to prevent Keod Smith from actively campaigning against a sitting candidate in South Andros.
He was not forceful and decisive enough to act on the advice given by senior members of his party, including George Smith, Philip Galanis and Raynard Rigby who advised their leader to get rid of certain tainted and ineffective candidates before the election.
He was not forceful and decisive enough to advise Dr BJ Nottage to avoid a confrontation in Bain Town which might have put the life of the Prime Minister at risk, and he was not forceful and decisive enough to condemn the violent actions of members of his party who created an effigy of an FNM and threw it under the wheels of Shane Gibson's motorcade, the Golden Gates PLP candidate.
And he definitely was not decisive and forceful enough to ensure that posters of himself were not banned by the real leaders of the PLP.
Given the information above and the fact that Perry Christie has done nothing to demonstrate to the Bahamian public that he can be an effective leader who is in control of his party, let alone the Government of the Bahamas one can truly understand why the PLP are so adamant to duck and dodge the question of leadership.
However, time will tell as the Bahaman public will not allow the PLP to hide Perry Christie for much longer.
April 24, 2012.