By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday could not say whether Prime Minister Perry Christie would offer himself for re-election as leader of the Progressive Liberal Party at the party’s convention in November.
That answer, Mr Roberts said, will “evolve in due course”.
Mr Roberts also said he personally has not determined whether he would be run again as chairman of the party.
Mr Robert’s statements came at a press conference at PLP headquarters yesterday morning to
announce plans for the party’s upcoming national general convention. The PLP’s leadership and other positions will be contested at the time.
Although it was expected to be held in the last week of October, PLP Convention Chairman and Labour Minister Shane Gibson yesterday announced that the event is now scheduled for November 1-7 at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort.
Mr Christie, who is currently serving his second, non-consecutive term as prime minister, has not given any clear indication of his political future.
Mr Roberts has previously said that there would be widespread support for Mr Christie remaining leader of the PLP, especially if former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham returns to the political fray as some speculate.
Others, meanwhile, have insisted that the 72-year-old will step aside as leader but will delay declaring a definite position on his future for as long as possible to ensure party stability ahead of a leadership race that is expected to be robust.
When questioned by The Tribune on this, Mr Roberts replied: “That will evolve in due course. All positions in the party will be declared vacant and those persons who are desirous of nominating for offices in our party will be invited to do so.”
When asked if he would be offering himself to be re-elected as party chairman, Mr Roberts said: “I haven’t made up my mind as yet.”
While in opposition, Mr Christie indicated that he would consider stepping down as party leader mid-term and name a successor. However, he later said he intended to serve a full term if elected as prime minister in 2012.
In January, during a televised interview with State of Affairs on ZNS, Mr Christie said it would take a “compelling, tangible” reason for him to lead his party into the next general election. He revealed that he told his family in the lead-up to the last general election that the 2012 campaign would be his last.
Nonetheless, he said that people across the country continually urge him to remain leader of the party.
So far, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell and Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald have all been named by party insiders as possible successors to Mr Christie.
Mr Davis and Mr Wilchcombe have made their leadership aspirations public but have both said that they would not challenge Mr Christie for his position. They have both said that their plans depend on whether Mr Christie offers himself for re-election.
This upcoming convention will be the PLP’s first convention since 2009, despite the party being mandated to hold one annually.
Under the theme “Transforming the Nation for The Next Generation,” Mr Gibson said this year’s convention will give “thousands of delegates, party supporters, and observers from across the country” an opportunity to hear from party leaders on their vision for our country’s future.
According to Mr Gibson, convention activities will start on November 1 with a special prayer breakfast. Convention sessions, he said, will run from November 4 to 6 and the week will end with an Installation Ball on November 7.
The closed day sessions, he said will focus on critical issues facing the nation, a review of the PLP’s current term in office, plans for the remainder of its term, transformative plans for the future development of the Bahamas, reports and administrative matters related to the PLP, election of party officers, amendments to the party’s constitution and resolutions for the consideration of the party.
The night sessions, which are open, will be used to “examine policy issues and the government’s agenda, while striking the perfect balance between new faces of the PLP and experienced leadership,” he said.
The convention also will be broadcast live and include live streaming and interactive communication.