PLP Leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis pivoted last night from rhetoric discouraging a challenge to his leadership team at the upcoming PLP convention.
He directly acknowledged the looming challenge of Obie Wilchcombe for the first time and said the former West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP should run if he believes he could offer what the current team cannot.
The Tribune reported last week that Mr Davis told nearly 200 stalwart councillors in Grand Bahama last month that he wanted no challenges to his team, which includes Chester Cooper as deputy leader, Fred Mitchell as chairman and Robyn Lynes as deputy chairman. His remark was a signal to Mr Wilchcombe who has been eying another run for party chairman.
Critics, nonetheless, blasted his plea as undemocratic.
The Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP returned last night to Grand Bahama, the bedrock of Mr Wilchcombe’s support in the party, with a different message.
“I want everyone who is here,” he said, “those who may be supporting Obie, those who may be supporting anyone else, just let me say it clear and loud, whoever wants to run for any position should run. This is the time, at convention, to sort these things out. This team, Brave’s team, we are feeling really good about the party’s progress with the Deputy Leader Chester Cooper, with the chairman, Senator Fred Mitchell and with our Deputy Chairperson Robyn Lynes. We feel good about the party’s progress. These are exciting times. We rather not interrupt the momentum of a party that is growing and is on the move but if Obie wants to make an argument about why that interruption is necessary and worthwhile, he should do so.”
He continued: “(Obie) asked me about running and I told him I don’t see that he has the support and that continues to be the case. I rather spare him another loss but no one is gonna stand in his way of ambition. I just want every PLP and stalwart councillor to realise that the party is progressing, the party is moving and the party is on the way to victory. It is my view, you may have a different view but it is my view, that it is not time to interrupt that progress, it is not time to interrupt that growth, it is not time to change mates on the SS PLP and that is my view and I wish to persuade you that that is the view that you too should take.”
Mr Wilchcombe’s potential challenge has caused tension in the PLP. The former tourism minister received 208 fewer votes than Mr Mitchell when he ran for chairman in 2017 and some believe he poses a greater challenge this time. In response, Mr Davis and his allies have sought to make the chairmanship race a test of loyalty to Mr Davis, often reminding people that the chairman must be someone the leader is comfortable working with.
“The question,” Mr Davis said last night, “is at this time, are the team members each working well with each other, and the answer is yes, that is happening. As your leader I say to you the team is working and I am satisfied with that team, and that’s all I come to tell ya.”
The PLP convention will be held July 25 - 26.