EDITOR, The Tribune.
Pleasant Bridgewater had a promising career in politics and in law. In 1997 the late Sir Lynden Pindling, then leader of the Opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), decided to run the East Grand Bahama native in High Rock.
And while Bridgewater fared no better than 34 of her running mates in the PLP in that year’s general election, the top brass of the party saw some modicum of potential in her fledgling political career.
The same cannot be said of many of the other PLP candidates who were nothing more than a bunch of political retreads.
Pindling had an uncanny ability to discover raw talent that can be harnessed. Seeing that Free National Movement (FNM) female candidates had already broken through the political clutter, it made sense for the PLP to attempt erasing the stigma of being a male chauvinist party by allowing more women to play a bigger role in frontline politics.
That is why Bridgewater and a slew of female candidates were fielded in 2002 by the party.
I think Bridgewater’s political career plateaued that year, when she bested the FNM’s David Thompson in Marco City.
In that very same election, her fellow female PLP running mate on Grand Bahama in the person of Anne Percentie bested the FNM’s Cornelius Smith in Pineridge. I think Bridgewater’s performance as an MP was above average at best. This is not meant as an indictment on her, considering the sheer number of below average performing MPs who continue to grace the halls of Parliament.
It is unfortunate that such a brilliant woman was caught up in the Pegasus and John Travolta sagas. I am of the view that Bridgewater’s meddling in the Pegasus venture was the beginning of the end for her once promising political career.
I was not surprised when she narrowly lost her seat in 2007.
I heard from second hand sources that she was devastated after losing her seat. Even as an FNM voter, it brought me no small joy to see Bridgewater being hauled before the courts on the charge of trying to extort $25 million from John Travolta.
In all honesty, that tragic episode nearly brought tears to my eyes. It grieved me to see her being taunted by a rowdy mob of onlookers who had already presumed her guilt before she had even taken the stand to give her side of the story.
To her credit, Bridgewater was big enough to resign her senate seat without having to be coerced by her party leaders. There’s a saying that when it rains, it pours. I think Bridgewater can attest to those words as well as anybody, especially now that there is a report in the print media that says that she must appear before the Disciplinary Tribunal next month to respond to allegations of misappropriating the funds of her clients.
Bridgewater could very well be disbarred. After practising law for nearly 20 years, she would now have to find another way to earn a living. After learning of King Saul’s violent death on the battlefield, his estranged son-in-law and future king David exclaimed: “How have the mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished.”
I cannot think of a more fitting saying that sums up the tumultuous career of a woman who was once the darling of the PLP.
Freeport, Grand Bahama
February 26, 2014.