By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Attorney General Alfred Sears applauded Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper’s recent frank reflections on the Progressive Liberal Party’s loss yesterday while former State Minister for National Security Keith Bell said he disagreed with those remarks.
“Those represent his personal views to which he is entitled to make but they don’t represent my view and I disagree with his view,” Mr Bell said. “A combination of reasons (caused the PLP’s loss) but I reserve my views for the moment. No need to add to the confusion.”
Mr Cooper’s comments, taken alongside remarks from former PLP chairman Raynard Rigby which were reported in The Nassau Guardian yesterday, came amid a divide in the PLP concerning how the party should chart its future course.
Some senior officials do not want critical comments about the organisation expressed publicly and they were said to be upset yesterday by Mr Cooper’s comments.
Officials like Mr Cooper, Mr Rigby and Mr Sears, however, have broken from this mould to openly call for party reform.
PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis could not be reached to respond to Mr Cooper’s comments before press time yesterday; PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts declined to comment.
As for Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin, she said: “At the appropriate time I intend to discuss matters pertaining to the party and its future internally. That approach is commonly accepted as best practice.”
Mr Sears, who insiders expect to vie for a leadership post at the part’s next convention, applauded Mr Cooper.
“I applaud Chester Cooper for reminding the Progressive Liberal Party of its core values, its departure from those core values and to have the courage to admit any errors made and to begin the process of introspection, reengineering and rebranding,” he said. “I believe it is only in this manner that the Progressive Liberal Party will regain the trust and support of the majority of the Bahamian electorate. This process provides the PLP with an extraordinary opportunity to present the Bahamas with a progressive agenda to complete the quiet revolution and a more sustainable economy rooted in Bahamian ownership.”
Mr Cooper, in a speech before the National Progressive Institute on Monday night, said the PLP lost the recent election for many reasons.
He said the party ignored scandals and condoned behaviour it should not have.
He also said the party lost touch with the people it most sought to help. Although he said the PLP made contributions that the country will come to appreciate in the future, his speech was striking for its criticisms of the organisation of which he is a part.
When discussing the party’s recent defeat, Mr Davis and the PLP’s leader of government business in the Senate, Fred Mitchell, have struck a different tone in public from Mr Cooper.
For the most part, they and other senior officials in the PLP have refrained from criticising the party’s recent record and performance and have tended to emphasise the idea that “untruths” propagated by the FNM played a role in the party’s loss.
Not long after the PLP’s loss on May 10, Senator Mitchell said in a widely-circulated Facebook post that PLPs should not believe the FNM’s “propaganda” about themselves.
“The objective reality is that they simply have a mandate to govern for five years,” he said. “There is nothing revolutionary about their victory or far reaching. They were able to manipulate a population suffering from the ill effects of the economic recession which was never overcome and the turn of clever phrases plus the money of foreign interests to accomplish what they have and the failure of the PLP to correct the problem.”