Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe has applied for the Progressive Liberal Party’s nomination in the West Grand Bahama constituency in the 2022 general election, according to PLP chairman Fred Mitchell.
Mr Mitchell revealed this during a PLP branch meeting in West End Grand Bahama on Friday.
The Tribune understands that party insiders are gearing up for a contentious nomination fight in that constituency. Mr Wilchcombe received 47 percent of the votes in the 2017 general election, 263 fewer than the winner, the Free National Movement’s Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe.
Mr Mitchell said during the branch meeting: “There is a process that was settled by the National General Council and the National Leadership Council last year. It’s a simple process and I add this caveat for Grand Bahama. I have a saying which I’ve adopted…we don’t cross the Hawksbill Creek. What you have to decide is who is the appropriate candidate that you want to run for your area. Obviously the decision is that of the Candidate’s Committee of the Progressive Liberal Party and the National General Council, but the first right of this process is the local branch and local constituency and it would be unfair to ask me or the leader at this point to get involved in that because if I get involved in that you’ll tell me mind my business, I’m not from Grand Bahama.
“The council made a decision that the only persons who have an automatic buy in to becoming candidates in the next general election are the four incumbents, that is Glenys Hanna Martin in Englerston, Chester Cooper in Exuma, Brave Davis in Cat Island and Picewell Forbes in South and Central Andros. Every place else, the slate is clean, starting from zero. There is a course, which each person who wants to be a candidate has to go through in order to run for a nomination…once you’ve gone through that course and you get your certificate, you have the right to apply for a nomination. Two people in this constituency have done that, one is Obie Wilchcombe who is the incumbent and the other is Lewis Astwood. They have written the party and said they wish to get a nomination for the West Grand Bahama and Bimini seat. The branch has been written and told that it is now your job for you to vet those individuals and make a decision as to who you will recommend.”
Mr Wilchcombe was elected MP for West Grand Bahama three times, in 2002, 2007 and 2012. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Former Cabinet minister George Smith, who sits on the PLP’s Candidates Committee, has said the committee desires to run a fresh slate of candidates in 2022. This desire is expected to run up against the ambitions of several candidates who lost in 2017 and wish to run again.