Did Pindling Swipe At Wilchcombe?

EDITOR, The Tribune.

For Monique Pindling, daughter of the late Sir Lynden Pindling, hitching her family’s prominent name to the Brave Wave bandwagon made good political sense. Politics is not entirely altruistic in The Bahamas. With Philip “Brave” Davis being fully entrenched as leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in a no contest election at the party’s convention, Pindling’s full endorsement would be interpreted as political expediency by those on the outside looking in, amid rumours of her harbouring political aspirations. I sincerely believe that Ms Pindling desires to follow in the footsteps of her legendary father.

Her ambiguous call for individuals to stop abusing her father’s name at the recent PLP convention is being seen by some political analysts as a subtle swipe at former West End and Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe, who had invoked Pindling’s name on several occasions leading up to the convention election for the chairmanship position against Fred Mitchell. If the assumption of these politicos is correct, it is difficult to see where Wilchcombe is guilty of abusing Pindling’s name. Obviously Wilchcombe had aimed on ushering in feelings of nostalgia among PLP delegates by mentioning the name of Pindling.

But with thousands of Bahamian millennials and generation Y’s who are obviously not sentimentally attached to the Pindling brand, Wilchcombe’s campaign strategy failed to gain traction with these two youthful demographics within the PLP, as evidenced by Mitchell’s 464 margin of victory over the former tourism minister. With the endorsements of Davis and the Pindling clan for Mitchell, it would’ve taken an act of God for Wilchcombe to gain the upset win. The cards were apparently stacked against him. It will be interesting to watch the race for the nominations in West End and Bimini and Fox Hill, with calls for losing candidates in 2017 to be rejected by the party in 2022. If PLP National Chair Fred Mitchell gets the nod in the latter constituency, while Wilchcombe is rejected in the former, it would then be another classic example of a double standard being unfairly applied to the former tourism minister, as Mitchell also suffered defeat in 2017.

For what it’s worth, Pindling’s mild rebuke at the convention must’ve been both disappointing and embarrassing to the Wilchcombe camp. It was an overkill, with an apparent aim at bolstering the Mitchell campaign while weakening Wilchcombe’s. Of all the subjects Pindling had at her disposal, she chose this particular one. One needn’t be a PhD in political science to figure out who Pindling was indirectly addressing. It must’ve been an awkward situation for the Wilchcombe camp.

It would appear that the Pindling clan and the Brave Wave camp went out of their way to make Wilchcombe feel like an outsider in a party he has been a member of for decades; and all because he exercised his democratic right in challenging Mitchell. Wilchcombe is one of the very few PLP MPs who managed to come out of the last Christie administration unscathed. Yet it would appear that he is being punished by the top brass of the organisation he has been devoted to for decades. What’s more, PLP operatives had taken the initiative to write several broadsides on Wilchcombe on social media and on a particular fake news site leading up to the convention. To the best of my knowledge, these operatives have not been reprimanded by the leadership of the party. This is vintage political cannibalism.

When Monique Pindling issued a scathing rebuke to the PLP in October 2017 at another convention, former Prime Minister Perry Christie suggested that Pindling should have reprimanded the party in a private setting. I disagree with Christie. However, with her latest scolding, it should have been done privately, as it gives the impression that Wilchcombe is being ruthlessly cannibalised by the party.



Grand Bahama,

July 29, 2019.


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