By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
CENTRAL and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election, a decision that reflects his belief that Progressive Liberal Party leaders did not support his potential candidacy robustly enough.
PLP supporters said Leon Lundy, a New Providence resident with a background in finance and ties to the island, now has the backing of many PLPs in the constituency.
Mr Forbes, who also represents Mangrove Cay, said his decision was a “very difficult” one.
“I was just in Mangrove Cay last week,” he told reporters at the House of Assembly after announcing his decision.
“...For every other house you go to the question to be asked, ‘Are you running? How many more persons the PLP gonna put on the ground against you? When is this issue going to be cleared up?’ And you continue to go back and forth on it and after all of the questions in Mangrove Cay last week...and all these questions still abound for all these years, after some discussion and prayers from my family, I said farewell.”
Asked what he needed from the party’s leadership to continue his pursuit of the nomination, Mr Forbes said: “Simple confidence, just to simply go on the ground in the community and say they support me and to simply give (me) the nomination, that’s all it is.
“We heard that the four incumbents were guaranteed (a nomination) but there’s still all this discussion about it and there were certain persons who were calling—prominent persons in our society who continue to call stalwart councilors and continue to dig into the matter and this became too much of a drag. As a proud Androsian, I decided it was best to walk away.”
Mr Forbes did not resign his seat. He told reporters he will “take some things under consideration” and make a decision about it.
Despite the expectation that the four PLP incumbents who won their seats on the party’s ticket in 2017 would be guaranteed a nomination, several people expressed interest in the Central and South Andros nomination.
One of those people, Monique Pindling, the daughter of the late Sir Lynden Pindling, stopped actively seeking the nomination last summer when the party made it clear that she would not receive it.
John Carey, a former PLP member of Parliament for Carmichael, is said to have shown interest in the seat.
Perez Rolle, a young man, has been canvassing the area.
However, it is Mr Lundy’s prospective candidacy that has attracted the most support.
An executive of the PLP association branch in the constituency said Mr Lundy has told people that Mr Davis sent him to get the nomination.
He accused the PLP’s leadership of leaving residents confused.
“Everybody here in South Andros is hurt,” he said.
“One of the reasons Picewell dropped out is he felt disrespected from the party perspective. There is no one canvassing in Cat Island, Exuma, Englerston, so why is there always mix up here?
“We invited the leader numerous occasions to come down (and show support for Mr Forbes) before this got out of hand but he chose to go elsewhere. We wrote him, pushing him numerous times and he never responded back to us, all he said was he coming soon.
“You can’t campaign when other people on the ground are campaigning. That’s confusing.”
Despite Mr Lundy’s role in complicating Mr Forbes’ quest for the nomination, support for him appears to be solid even among some of Mr Forbes’ supporters.
“Give us Leon Lundy,” the executive said. “Now that Picewell is out, if they don’t send Leon Lundy, we gon’ send a clear message to the Progressive Liberal Party.”
Joel Rahming, a former chairman of the PLP’s South Andros constituency association branch, also said Mr Lundy has strong support.
“He’s involved in schools, whatever and whenever he’s asked to do something he seems to be supportive,” he said. “You fall in love with persons over the years, you don’t fall in love with something that just showed up. That’s why he has an advantage over the others.”
Sixty-five-year-old PLP stalwart councilor Anthram Rolle said many residents felt Mr Forbes’ time in the community was up and there was a need to move on from him.
“I spoke to the party leadership and told them Mr Lundy is the man for the area,” he said. “I told them that he has at least 85 percent support of the PLP. He has a vision and we’ve put our support behind him wholeheartedly.”
One person who doesn’t support Mr Lundy is the former member of Parliament for the area, Whitney Bastian, who highlighted Mr Lundy’s past affiliation with the Democratic National Alliance while explaining that the PLP should choose someone with a strong history in the party.
“I don’t want nobody use the party as a stepping-stone, to use it for a political purpose and then move on,” he said. “That’s what happened with Renward Wells and Andre Rollins.”
Mr Bastian claimed support for Mr Lundy is loud but not deep.
But when asked who else has strong support in the constituency, he did not identify a name.
“There are a number of other persons who are showing interest in the seat,” he said.
PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell said in a statement last night that the party is saddened by Mr Forbes’ decision.
“We had hoped to see him serve in the Cabinet one day,” he said.