PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis wants no challenges to his leadership team at the upcoming PLP convention, he has told party members.
At a closed-door meeting at the Pelican Bay Resort in Grant Bahama on June 15, he made his desire clear to a room of nearly 200 stalwart councillors, The Tribune understands.
Calling for absolute unity, he said he wants his team of Chester Cooper as deputy leader, Fred Mitchell as chairman and Robyn Lynes as deputy chairman to remain in place.
Not expecting to face a leadership challenge himself, his statement, sources close to him told The Tribune yesterday, was meant as a signal to former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe who has long been considering another run as party chairman. Mr Wilchcombe was seated in the audience.
A possible challenge by the former West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP has caused tension in the party and is seen by insiders as a test of Mr Davis’ strength and grip on the organisation.
When he ran for chairman in 2017, Mr Wilchcombe received 419 votes to Mr Mitchell’s 627 votes. It was by far the closest of the major ticket races; by contrast, Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin received 300 votes in her leadership quest while Mr Davis received 1,004 votes.
Former Cabinet minister George Smith, a prominent Davis ally, said yesterday he expects delegates to vote across the board for the candidates Mr Davis prefers.
“The next chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party,” he said, “will be the person that the leader and his supporters within the party will throw their support behind, the person that the leader is most comfortable working with, whoever that is.
“I think this because the people assembled at a convention two years waited daylong, late into the night. They came from far and near and they waited around to overwhelmingly vote for Philip Davis to be leader of the party. The leader won handily, the deputy won handily and considering that the chairmanship race was between two well-known personalities, a 200-vote majority is these days a comfortable majority in party politics in the Bahamas. Since then Mr Davis has gotten the party out of the doldrums that the party was in and the organisation now is on a very positive path to win the next general election.”
Mr Wilchcombe did not respond yesterday to a message seeking comment.