By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER leadership contender Alfred Sears, QC, yesterday said the Progressive Liberal Party’s culture of “constitutional non-compliance” has compromised the party’s “integrity, viability, resilience and nimbleness”.
“The lack of political education within the party and knowledge of the party’s Constitution has resulted in powerlessness of its members and increased dependence and patronage,” he said.
Mr Sears’ comments came on the eve of the party’s convention.
The PLP seeks to chart a new course following its disappointing performance in the May 10th general election.
The areas in which the party has failed to comply with the constitution include its heavy concentration of power in leadership, its failure to hold conventions every year and the inactivity of party branches outside elections and party conventions, Mr Sears said.
“Basic democratic structures to ensure widespread participation by members have never been established within the party or are nonfunctional,” he added.
Mr Sears said the party should use its convention to “reclaim the confidence of its disaffected members and begin to restore the trust of the wider Bahamian electorate by showing that” it is serious about “empowering the branches, make officers more accountable, institute fiscal and campaign finance reform and ensure fair elections.”
Mr Sears suggested that no less than 50 per cent of the party’s elected structures feature women in positions of power.
He said the power to increase the admission of stalwart councillors should be given back to the National General Convention, where it belonged prior to January 2017 when the constitution was amended to give this power to the party leader to exercise “as he deems necessary.”
The party should appoint a financial auditor, he said, and it should “submit an annual report of income, expenditure, campaign contributions and expenses and balance sheet to the National General Convention.”
Voting powers should be expanded to include all registered financial members of the party in good standing, not just delegates and stalwart councilors.
And the list of qualified voters should be provided to candidates ten weeks before convention, he said.
“The party should be the sole source of financial assistance of air travel, room and board and per diem for voters,” he added.