Philip 'Brave' Davis, PLP Leader, speaking on Monday night. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis made his case for replacing Dr Hubert Minnis as prime minister during a campaign launch last night, two weeks after Dr Minnis launched his own re-election bid.
The Cat Island, San Salvador and Rum Cay MP peppered his speech with familiar attacks on the Minnis administration, mocking the party’s 2017 general election slogan, “It’s the People’s Time,” and bashing the administration for its handling of Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts, the controversial Oban Energies agreement and the leasing of the Town Centre Mall to host the General Post Office. The mall was part-owned by St Annes MP Brent Symonette, who was minister of financial services when the lease was signed.
Mr Davis weaved his backstory of growing up poor into a narrative of wanting to uplift others through policy. “My grandfather could not read or write,” he said. “He and my grandmother were subsistence farmers on Cat Island. And my father and mother left at the age of 13, barely literate. For most of my young life, I lived in Rolle Avenue. So when I talk about our Over-the-Hill communities, I know what I’m talking about. No ‘silver spoon’ for me. I have worked and lived among you my entire life. I know what it is to go to work, mixing mortar in the heat of the day, hoping and praying to get an honest pay at the end of the day. I know what it is like to have one good pants and busted shoes. When I see a child walking in the road because he doesn’t have any money for the bus, I’ve been that child. I know what he’s thinking. I know what his parents are dreaming about. And I know the barriers that are standing in his way - and I want to knock down those barriers, give him a chance that education afforded me. I want all Bahamians to live lives of dignity and purpose, not just the ones born to wealth or privilege.”
Other speakers last night included Deputy Leader Chester Cooper, Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes. The speeches were occasionally followed by musical performances and supporters rocked their party colours in overwhelming numbers.
With two years to go before the next election, officials said they used the event to test their organisational skills and assess the appetite of their supporters.
Barry Griffin, a national vice party chairman and chairman of the committee that planned the rally, said turnout exceeded expectations. “We’re still very far out from the heightened political season,” he said, “and so this really was a tester to feel out the country to see where they are politically and I think this blew our expectations out of the water. The crowd is enormous, more than we could’ve expected. We are happy with where we are. It shows people are not content with what’s happening now with the government and they are coming out and vocalising their support for the PLP.”