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Cooper Says Plp Should Apologise And Learn From Errors That Led To Defeat

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Chester Cooper

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

BY contrast to prominent Progressive Liberal Party politicians who have continuously defended the party’s recent record, Exuma MP Chester Cooper promoted a plan for the party yesterday that includes apologising to Bahamians and acknowledging that internal errors, including ignoring scandals, led to its recent general election defeat.

Mr Cooper said another misstep of the former administration was the protection of the party’s interests over those of the country, adding that the PLP was not accountable or transparent enough.

His striking critique came during a speech at the National Progressive Institute (NPI) last night. The NPI is a policy advisory group for the PLP.

Mr Cooper’s statements on why the PLP lost the recent election contrasts with the publicly expressed view of the PLP’s leader, former Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.

Mr Davis said during his contribution to the budget debate last week that the FNM won the election by perpetuating false narratives about his party. Highlighting the FNM’s criticisms about value added tax and the Christie administration’s dealings with China, Mr Davis said such “falsehoods” formed the foundational premise upon which the Free National Movement (FNM) won.

“It worked very well for the FNM,” he said.

By contrast, Mr Cooper said last night that the PLP lost the May 10 general election because, among other things, it ignored scandals by protecting the interests of offending people and it condoned actions it should not have.

“We were not accountable enough and not transparent enough,” he said, according to his prepared remarks released to the media. “And we ignored scandals––protecting the interest of offending individuals and condoned things we should not have by our silence. I can give you examples of the last few weeks (of the campaign), but suffice it to say, this was one moment when my campaign team reportedly felt a momentum change. We protected the interest of the party over the interests of the nation, thinking, wrongly, that the Bahamian people would somehow understand without being told that those two things were actually the same.

“While trying to fix the nation’s major problems, we often forgot to sweat the small stuff and left too many people behind,” he said. “In short, even our base felt ignored, oftentimes at the expense of others who didn’t support us or persons who hopped on the bandwagon at the 11th hour.

“We went into communities asking support from the very people we raised taxes on to improve their lives and when we did so, we found them in the same circumstances we met them in when we promised to improve their circumstance five years ago.”

He continued: “We hid behind a message of Majority Rule, without updating it for new generations who feel little connection to it but rather seek economic empowerment. The millennials told us that they were over all that and we ignored the youth to our peril.”

While he says he does not expect much from the new FNM government, Mr Cooper said it’s presumptuous for the PLP to assume Bahamians will embrace the party again in 2022.

“We cannot just wait for the FNM to screw up, though I suspect it won’t be very long,” he said. “In the case of France, none of the major parties in that (recent) historic democracy holds sway over the majority any longer.”

Choosing to defend the PLP’s actions from the past five years will anger the electorate, Mr Cooper said.

Reform

“We have to show the Bahamas we have learned from our mistakes. We must show the Bahamas that we are ready and able to serve. We must show them that we are willing to listen to them more than we are willing to talk about ourselves. We must reform. We must transform. Or we risk an extended stay in the wilderness, watching those with bad ideas and half-baked schemes flounder while our people suffer.”

Mr Cooper said the first test of the PLP’s willingness to undergo a transformation will come at its next convention.

He did not say if he will seek a leadership post at that convention as some in his party have quietly expressed a desire for. However, he said the lead up and result of that convention will show if the PLP is “ready to get up and fight again” or “continue to lay down and bleed a while longer.”

Mr Cooper listed ten points the PLP should embrace ahead of 2022.

Among these is offering a “sincere and humble apology and repentance” to PLP supporters and the nation. He also called for a “reconnection tour,” a tour of all constituencies in the country so supporters could vent and share their disappointments with the party.

“We must move immediately towards the reform, rebranding and re-energising of our party, inclusive of a thoughtful analysis and updating of the party’s constitution and governance including the structure and protocols of appointing stalwart councillors as well as the election of a new slate of party officers that signals that the party is ready to regain the trust to be repositioned into a lean, mean winning machine,” he said.

Candidates nominated by the party in 2022 should include a significant number of new candidates, young candidates and female candidates, he said.

Mr Cooper said not all is lost for the PLP. Contrary to the portrayal of the party in the “mainstream press and social media,” he said the PLP is not a bad organisation and its core principles “are best suited for the Bahamas.”

He said when removed from the heat of the recent political campaign, some contributions of the Christie administration will be appreciated.

“The truth is that––despite our shortcomings, history will judge us fairly…we helped many, we tackled issues, we left the Bahamas as a whole better than it was in 2012,” he said.

Comments

birdiestrachan 3 years ago

I really do like Mr. Cooper. It is a good to look one's self in the mirror and acknowledge ones mistakes. As you are a member of the PLP you make me very proud. and it enforces my belief that the PLP is a great Party. God speed

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ohdrap4 3 years ago

hey birdie, you rented your home yet? i saw the ad in the classified.

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sheeprunner12 3 years ago

Chester Cooper may have good intentions ......... but the PLP brand is irreparable ...... His only chance of becoming a viable national leader is to run on this "reform platform" at the PLP convention and challenge the Old Guard ...... Then if he loses, he can break away and create a new party because it would mean an obvious end to the Pingdomite PLP ......... Cooper wants to restore credibility ......... but the entrenched PLP elite may be beyond institutional reform

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Gotoutintime 3 years ago

Words of a sensible man---He could go far!

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realfreethinker 3 years ago

“The truth is that––despite our shortcomings, history will judge us fairly…we helped many, we tackled issues, we left the Bahamas as a whole better than it was in 2012,” . He was doing okay until this sentence. "0" economic growth,four downgrades,$2billon added to the debt,double digit unemployment,all in the past five years,but the plp left the country better than they met it in 2012. He just lost whatever credibility he had.

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Honestman 3 years ago

Talk of re branding the PLP is pointless. The PLP brand merely reflects the attitude of its supporters. They are inextricably linked. Chester Cooper has some good intentions no doubt but he would be better off getting together with like minds and forming a new party with a new support base. PLP supporters have tolerated and perhaps even encouraged corrupt practices for so long now that they are incapable of changing their mindset. The PLP will forever be associated with corruption - it is too late to re brand.

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sheeprunner12 3 years ago

Sooooooo, Is Cooper saying that his THREE senior HOA and TWO Senate colleagues come to Rawson Square in sackcloth and ashes and publicly beg forgiveness of The People?????

Fat chance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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CatIslandBoy 3 years ago

No matter his rhetoric, Mr. Cooper ran, and won his seat, under the PLP's banner. He cannot now disassociate himself from the brand upon which he staked his political future.

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banker 3 years ago

So true. Chester is a smart man. He knew of the malfeasance of the PLP and chose to wear its stinking coat, fleas in all, and to roll in the same dirt of corruption as the rest of them.

Chester disappointed me deeply. Respect is won in inches and lost in yards. I no longer have a high opinion of Chester. He is an opportunist without a moral and ethical compass.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years ago

What was he saying before Election Day?

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ohdrap4 3 years ago

he did say, on a talk show, that fitzgerald 'appeared' to have breached cabinet rules , once the rules were read to him.

he seems to me to be a hybrid of chippie chipman and alfred sears.

he cannot handle the ruffians at the plp.

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JohnDoe 3 years ago

An apology, though a good start, may not be sufficient here. It seem to me that it is time for the government to appoint a special body with a specific scope to organize these investigations and consolidate these findings with a duty to recommend further criminal/civil action to be taken and also recommend the structural, institutional and legal reforms necessary and required to be implemented to ensure that such blatant self-interest pandering and corruption never happens again in our country without dire consequences. People often wonder why our GDP growth is so anemic, and in fairness there are a number of reasons, but I am convinced that one of the primary reason is that for too long political actors have pursued economic policy decisions and laws based on their personal incentives for self gain, self-interest and corrupt practices. This is a self-inflicted wound and is just not sustainable.

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Socrates 3 years ago

sensible talk from the PLP side for a change.. he needs to tread carefully though.. i dont think the 'old guard' will appreciate a 'political babe' giving them advice.. but then again, he's in and most of them are not....

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sealice 3 years ago

You lost because you're a bunch of lying tiefin crooks - saying anything other then that is more lys to cover up your pile (that's bigger then the nassau dump) of BULL SHITT!TTT!!!!!

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OMG 3 years ago

You are joking aren't you"mistakes"??????????? how about outright corruption. As for your waiting for the FNM to "screw up" they have to clean up the mess that the PLP left before moving forward. The electorate are well informed and getting back the trust of the people will require a huge effort and sacking of any ex minister associated with the old PLP guard.

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licks2 3 years ago

I started to listen to Mr. Cooper until he got to his "Brave lite" part. . .they left the country better than they met it in 2012? Then he went on to say that they made some mistakes? THIS MAN IS AS PLP AS BRAVE OR MITCHELL. . .SNAKES. . .ALL SNAKES THEY ARE. . .HE SOUNDED WORSE THAN DAVIS. . .AT LEAST DAVIS STILL DEFENDING THEY CRAP. . .BUT COOPER SAYING :"WEEN DO TOO BAD. . .BUT YA MUS SAY WE DID AN OUTSTANDING JOB FROM 2012 TO NAH". The PLP is hopelessly corrupted and incapable of any meaningful change to do the people's work and leave their own best personal interests out of government!! Mr Sear seem to be their best hope. . .but I would suggest that he starts a new party. . .possible taking his political skills and lead the DNA. . .get them ready for the next opposition come next election. Brand and that Mortimer man don't seem to have what it take to move that party forward with their same ole style of finding faults with everybody and don't see their own silliness. For example, Brand telling doc Minnis to do the right thing and resign as leader when LBT them jook him up in the HOA. . .BOTH LAME LEADERS SAID THE RIGHT THING TO DO WAS RESIGN. . .NOW THEY ARE SILENT ON THEIR OWN NEED TO FOLLOW THAT WESTMINSTER TRADITION THEY WERE ALL OVER THE PLACE RECOMMENDING THAT OTHERS FOLLOW!! Child please. . .them two jokers and now this lame duke dude talking foolishness!

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baldbeardedbahamian 3 years ago

the core value of the uBP was a paternalistic racism commonly acceptable in the world of the 1950's that the white races were somehow endowed with an inherent ability to govern people that was superior to that possessed by other races.This mind-set has of course now been discredited completely. However the core value of the PLP has always been to uplift the Afro-Bahamians and if this was to be at the expense of the Caucasian-Bahamians, then so be it because" it is our turn now.".The result is that the government finances are seen as a resource to be redistributed to PLP supporters as the Government finances were once controlled almost exclusively by the Caucasian-Bahamians. .Giving million dollar contracts to Afro-Bahamians is not seen as wrong by the likes of Perry Christie and his supporters but rather the righting of an historic wrong.. Decades after Black Majority rule, Coming up to two centuries after the British abolished slavery, it is time for the PLP to progress beyond it's original and outdated mandate. The tenure of Perry Christie was a disaster not only because of his own personal weaknesses but also because of the weakness of the political foundation on which he stood. Philip Davis might be making the same mistake of building his political career on a shaky foundation.

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sheeprunner12 3 years ago

Would Chester Cooper be saying the same words if Perry, DrD, Shame, Gray, Kendred, Fitzie and Obie would have won re-election??????? ....................... I think not .................. Rebrand my foot!!!!!!!!! ............... LMAO

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