By TANEKA THOMPSON
Tribune News Editor
FORMER Attorney General Alfred Sears said if given one, he will refuse a nomination for a leadership post at the Progressive Liberal Party’s convention, noting unless the opposition party undertakes a radical, “fundamental internal transformation” it is “unlikely” it will regain the trust of disaffected members or the voting public.
Mr Sears lost his bid to unseat former Prime Minister Perry Christie as PLP leader at the party’s last convention in January.
Ahead of and during that convention, he spoke about the shortcomings in the party’s internal process and provided a platform of proposed changes to bring about transparency and a modern approach.
In a statement released yesterday, the former Ft Charlotte MP said he hoped these ideas and constitutional reforms would be adopted by the PLP to show the public that change is on the way and ensure a general election victory in 2022.
“I thank those stalwart councillors and delegates in the Progressive Liberal Party in Nassau and throughout the Family Islands who have contacted me to inquire whether I will be contesting for a leadership position in the Progressive Liberal Party at the party’s convention this week and who have pledged their support for me in the event that I am a candidate,” Mr Sears said.
“I am grateful for these expressions of confidence in my leadership. It was my privilege to serve the Progressive Liberal Party and represent the people of Fort Charlotte for two consecutive terms in the House of Assembly and to contest for the position for leader in the convention in January 2017.
“My experience as a candidate for leader at the January 2017 convention, as confirmed by the results of the general elections in May 2017, convinced me of the urgent necessity for the Progressive Liberal Party to reconnect to its core values and institute radical internal governance reforms to create a more democratic, transparent and accountable party.
“Unless the party undertakes this fundamental internal transformation, it is unlikely, I believe, that the party will regain anytime soon the loyalty of its disaffected members and win the trust of the wider Bahamian electorate.”
Mr Sears acknowledged that this convention marks the second time in about eight years that the party has held a national convention, even though its constitution mandates such an event be held every year.
He said this event comes after the party suffered one of its worst election losses since 1972.
“In convention, we should review why the party lost and begin to reform the party in order to regain the trust of the Bahamian electorate.”
Mr Sears said in January he submitted a leadership platform that had detailed proposals to grow the economy, strengthen local government and establish the Commonwealth Republic of the Bahamas with “checks and balances to ensure accountable, transparent and honest government as well as proposed necessary reforms within the party.”
He also submitted proposed amendments to the PLP’s constitution to reform the party.
“I invite stalwart councillors and delegates to support the resolutions to bring about these constitutional reforms this week at the convention. I believe that these constitutional reforms will strengthen the party, signal to the Bahamian electorate that the reform process is underway and prepare the party for victory in 2022.
“Under the current electoral process within the Progressive Liberal Party, I will not accept a nomination to contest for any leadership position at this convention.”
However, Mr Sears said, he is willing to help the party as a stalwart councillor and member of the Ft Charlotte Branch to reform its constitution and internal governance processes.
“In a reformed Progressive Liberal Party, with an open, fair and accountable internal governance and electoral processes, I would be pleased to offer my candidacy and be elected to serve the party in a leadership position.”