By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Attorney General and Progressive Liberal Party candidate for Fort Charlotte Alfred Sears, QC, said he is “more than confident” he will defeat Prime Minister Perry Christie and emerge leader of the PLP at the party’s November convention.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Sears said after meeting with stalwarts and branch executives his support has grown exponentially and he has been assured that he will be the next leader of the PLP and the country’s next prime minister.
His comments came after he ended his “listening” tour in Abaco over the weekend. Mr Sears said the people he met there were “excited” about his vision and welcomed him warmly, while embracing his change agenda and assuring him of their support.
He said the stalwarts expressed a concern about a lack of sustained engagement by the PLP other than at election time and the need to ensure that the constitutional structure of the party is operational.
“I was very, very well received, without a doubt my support is growing. I am more confident that I will win, there is no question,” Mr Sears said.
“I am more encouraged and inspired after speaking with those on the ground. There is a concern among the stalwarts that the party needs new vision and there needs to be more respect shown to them and the democratic structures of the party. They feel as though there is no formal mechanism to keep the leadership accountable and make any input in the direction of the party. So I assured them that I will engage them regularly and put the structure in place that is needed.”
Last week, two senior Progressive PLP Cabinet ministers told The Tribune they were certain that Mr Christie will emerge undefeated at the convention.
Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister V Alfred Gray insisted that the prime minister was “entrenched” in the party’s top post and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said while it is good for people to see democracy at work during the convention where all posts will be open for challenge, she was “quite sure” and “firm” that Mr Christie will win hands down.
In response to those who doubt his ability to win, Mr Sears said: “It is not what they say, it is what I will do. I am not concerned about the noise in the market. I will win.
“It is not what people say, it is what the constitution requires. Every position is vacant at the convention and so anyone who wants to vie for leadership, the constitution gives them that right. If those people want to put their ideas forward and let the councillors weigh in then that is also their right.”
So far, only Mr Sears has announced his intent to challenge Mr Christie.
The upcoming convention will be the first the PLP has held since 2009, although the party’s constitution mandates that such an event be held every year.