By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has postponed its highly anticipated November convention to next year out of respect for the expected constitutional referendum.
PLP chairman Bradley Roberts told The Big T yesterday that the convention will take place after the referendum on gender equality has been held and denied rumours that the postponement has anything to do with public opinion about the PLP.
It is expected that the position of leader, deputy leader, national chairman and PLP trustees may be contested when the convention is held.
During a meeting on Wednesday of high-ranking PLP members, including Parliamentarians, the party elected to postpone its convention in order to focus its attention and resources squarely on guaranteeing the success of the constitutional referendum, Mr Roberts said.
“Conventions are usually divisive and we feel we want to put that aside until after we have the referendum,” he added.
As rumours of the convention’s postponement spread on social media recently, some have suggested that it reflects a lack of confidence among PLP leaders over the security of their positions as the Christie administration faces frequent criticism over a variety of issues.
There have been suggestions that top PLP officials are particularly worried about the impact recent BEC outages, high electricity bills and critical comments from Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins on the government’s performance since taking office would have on a convention held this year.
Mr Roberts forcefully rejected this notion, however, emphasising that the party has taken all the important steps needed to host the convention next month but ultimately chose not to do so because of the constitutional referendum.
“Let me make it clear and knock that down right now,” he said, “our convention committee was in full form. We had secured the hotel, the branches were energised, ready for the convention and bank deposits were made. The postponement of it had nothing to do with anything other than the referendum.”
Since Mr Roberts announced in February that a convention would be held in November, mini PLP conventions have been held in the Family Islands. These will continue until the main convention is held next year, Mr Roberts said.
“The mini conventions have took place and will continue to take place,” he said. “We are going to Exuma in November to deal with party members and focus attention on the island concerned.”
He added that the ritual “prayer breakfast” which proceeds conventions will still take place next month as planned in order to “pray for the success of the party.”
Mr Roberts suggested that there is widespread agreement within the upper ranks of the party that the convention should be postponed.
“Given the reason for the postponement, I don’t think any female counterparts would take any umbrage with the postponement. As for the men, I can’t see them not being supportive of the women. We urge all the men to stand up and do this necessary thing, not only for the party, but for all members of society.”