EDITOR, The Tribune
I recently saw a collage of Facebook photos of high ranking Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) officials and prominent media personalities frolicking comfortably at what looked like a lavish social event at a high-end residence. Among those in attendance were PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis; Deputy Leader Chester Cooper and Chair Fred Mitchell. Among the media personalities in attendance were Nassau Guardian Editor Candia Dames and Clint Watson of EyeWitness News and Beyond The Headlines -- arguably two of the most prominent figures in journalism. The outspoken Rodney Moncur, of Freedom March on ILTV Studious, was also in attendance. The former Democratic National Alliance candidate and former Free National Movement (FNM) senator appears to now be a PLP.
Previously rumoured to have been an FNM supporter, Watson appears to currently hold no brief for the party. He is more anti-FNM than pro-PLP, however.
Dames’ presence at the event is what is most shocking to this writer, in light of her National Review assessments of the previous PLP government between 2012 - 2017 that were, quite frankly, downright damning (forgive my French). PLPs who were disheartened by the devastating results of the 2017 general election usually fault National Review as being one of the main reasons for the election loss. Dames being invited to the event is probably a sign that the PLP hierarchy has buried the hatchet with her, and are probably hoping for her and fellow Nassau Guardian columnist Sharon Turner to continue bludgeoning the FNM administration of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis. Interestingly, Turner was employed at Bahamas Information Services under the last Ingraham administration. Not being engaged by the current FNM administration, rabid FNMs believe that Turner is not demonstrating any objectivity towards their party in her Perspective column due to her possibly feeling slighted by the party. Her disgruntlement may be the motivating factor behind her incessant criticisms, some FNMs believe.
Minnis’ elevation to the leadership post of the FNM in 2012 has introduced a dynamic with the media and the FNM that never existed when former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham led the party. Indeed, it was Ingraham who deepened the Bahamian democracy by throwing off the shackles that the late Sir Lynden O Pindling had placed on the media, in a strategic move to muffle dissent. This can explain why the media usually held a favourable estimation of Ingraham, while his successor has had a bumpy relationship with the media fraternity. Like former PLP leader and prime minister, Perry Christie, Minnis has the unfortunate task of being in the journalistic crosshairs of the media. I challenge anyone to locate an article by either Dames or Turner that was critical of Ingraham.
As a seasoned, smart and savvy political veteran, Brave Davis understands quite well that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. By wining and dining the media fraternity, Davis has given the appearance that he is attempting to woo over the media to his side a little over two years before the next general election. By courting media personalities, Davis is shrewdly covering his bases. He can then focus his political resources on fighting the FNM, while not having the headache of dealing with a pesky media.
Whatever the case may be, the PLP and the media makes for strange bedfellows.
February 10, 2020.