By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
WHEN the history of Bahamian political leaders is written, former Prime Minister Perry Christie will be considered “the weakest” to have held office, according to former Progressive Liberal Party MP Philip Galanis.
During a presentation at the Rotary Club of Southeast Nassau at East Villa restaurant yesterday, the former Englerston MP insisted Mr Christie’s “intoxication with power and delusional sense of self-importance,” paired with his inability to address charges of corruption and conflicts of interest within his Cabinet, caused the PLP irreparable harm.
“I firmly believe that political historians will say Sir Lynden (Pindling) was of both substance and form; Mr (Hubert) Ingraham will be characterised as one who preferred substance over form, but Mr Christie however will be memorialised as one who opted for form over substance,” he said, referring to the country’s former prime ministers.
Mr Galanis went on to list a total of 15 reasons he believed the PLP was resoundingly rejected at the polls in May; all of which he tied directly to the failures of Mr Christie.
He also pointed to Mr Christie’s refusal to step down as leader mid-term and continued opposition to mandated conventions as further evidence of overt mismanagement by the former prime minister.
“Mr Christie did not demonstrate democratic principles because he refused to hold a party convention for eight years between 2009 and 2017.
“He tried to stack the decks by appointing over 2,000 stalwart councillors over his 20-year leadership of the PLP, most recently to ensure his grasp of power at the convention of January 2017,” he claimed.
“And, he marginalised and ostracised all who opposed him or who he perceived to be a threat to his leadership including (then) Deputy Prime Minister (Philip Davis) and others,” Mr Galanis stated, prompting gasps from some in the room.
Mr Galanis, who would later say his comments had more to do with a need for major reform within the PLP, contended that Mr Christie would be remembered as the “prime minister with big ideas, but as one who could not close the deal.”
He said until and unless the party admits to its shortcomings and asks the public’s forgiveness, its many mistakes and missteps will continue to stand as its biggest impediments.
He added the pandering political minions, hangers-on and sycophants paid to Mr Christie along with the blind faith that they placed in him, greatly contributed to the party’s performance.
“There is no question about it; very many Bahamians were incensed and infuriated by the former Christie administration,” Mr Galanis said.
He added: “The 2017 election results were instructive. Of the 181,543 registered voters, 160,409 or 88.3 per cent went to the polls. Therefore, 11.7 per cent of registered voters did not vote.
“The FNM won 57 per cent of the popular vote, garnering 91,137 votes, compared to 37 per cent or 59,164 votes that were cast for the PLP. The difference between the two major parties was 31,973 votes - of the 175 candidates who contested the 2017 elections, 97 lost their deposits.”
Ultimately, Mr Galanis urged the PLP to make public the report it commissioned following its 2017 election loss. He suggested that those findings will, if accepted and acted upon, place the PLP in the best position to return to the people.
Moreover, he recommended the PLP’s new leadership team return the party to its core values and revise its constitution to guard against many of the loopholes, he said, Mr Christie took advantage of.
“The road to reform must be decisive, considered and introspective,” he said. “The road to reform must be travelled with an attitude of humility and a complete appreciation that, for the past five years, there was a failure of leadership.
“It is indisputable that the electorate felt that those in who they reposed their trust absolutely and completely failed to live up to that trust and to carry out the wishes of the people,” Mr Galanis, head of chartered accounting firm HLB Galanis, concluded.
Mr Galanis endorsed Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip “Brave” Davis for party leader and Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper for deputy leader.
However, he refused to back anyone for party chairman, saying that the candidates challenging for the post were rejected by the general voting public in the 2017 general election.