SO much for a new-look Progressive Liberal Party.
The first list of candidates for the next election is out – and despite party leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis promising “a new slate of candidates”, there are a lot of familiar names to be seen.
A list of names have been revealed. Five of those are incumbent MPs – including Vaughn Miller who switched from the FNM and it seems likely was promised the chance to run in his seat again.
Then come the old hands – party chairman Fred Mitchell gets to run again in Fox Hill, Alfred Sears runs in Fort Charlotte, Keith Bell in Carmichael and Michael Halkitis in St Barnabas.
So out of 18 names revealed, half are incumbents or old, familiar names.
Another promise by Mr Davis was to encourage more women to join frontline politics. Philip Galanis said after Mr Davis won the leadership of his party that “more and more women need to be encouraged to participate at various level, and I think that’s going to happen increasingly and remarkably with Mr Davis at the helm”.
Nothing remarkable to see in the list of names so far in that regard, with incumbent Glenys Hanna-Martin joined on the list by just two women – Jobeth Coleby-Davis contesting Elizabeth, and Leslia Brice in Seabreeze.
Young members of the PLP find themselves feeling left out too – with older members finding their way to the candidacy instead.
One young member said recently: “The electorate told the PLP to become a more youthful party, but the message being sent is it doesn’t make sense joining the party and working your way up because young people who did that aren’t being considered for candidacies.”
If the intention was to present a new face for the PLP, something distinctly different from the Christie administration voted out in a landslide in 2017, this doesn’t look like it so far.
Granted, there are more names to come – but this looks far from a revolution.
As for Mr Davis, he hinted at what is likely to become an election theme when he talked about the “terrible suffering” he has seen in the Family Islands, adding that “we need to rebuild our economy so that it is more fair and inclusive”.
We shall see how inclusive his final election line-up will be soon enough – then it will be time to show us policies, not catch phrases, that will help to restore an economy battered by a hurricane and a pandemic.
Whoever wins the next election, that will be no easy task.
The spectre of Peter Nygard continues to loom over The Bahamas.
In a new Canadian television programme, former Prime Minister Perry Christie says he has “no fear of any investigation” into Peter Nygard, even as clips of Mr Nygard with Mr Christie appeared – including at the wedding of one of Mr Nygard’s daughters during which Mr Christie hailed the entrepreneur as “a contributor to those who are in need”.
Such links between Mr Nygard and the PLP come as no surprise to readers of The Tribune – but Mr Nygard made no secret of it himself, saying on video “We won, we won, we won” and describing Christie’s election victory as “one of the best nights of my life. I never thought I’d get so involved in politics, let alone be the key instrument in making it happen”.
The PLP of today may seek to play down Nygard’s connection to the party in the past, but it would do better to confront its connections and do all it can to provide all information it can about his involvement.
Investigations are still going on into Mr Nygard’s behaviour – he is charged with sex trafficking and racketeering in the US – while allegations of bribery have been made here in The Bahamas involving politicians and police officers.
A police investigation drags on here – with National Security Minister Marvin Dames expressing confidence in the police force’s ability to investigate complaints despite there being little sign of progress.
The crucial part of all this is that there are Bahamians who have made accusations against Peter Nygard, including a number of women who have made allegations of rape. The longer this investigation continues without a resolution, the longer justice is denied.
Are we really content to let such accusations against a foreign investor go unanswered? Are we happy to let Bahamian women suffer injustice?
Nygard’s legacy should be a determination to do better – and not simply allow such claims to be swept under the table.