PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
WITH no specific date for the next election announced, Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis accused Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis of “trying to ambush the opposition”.
Dr Minnis has said previously the next election is due in May 2022, but the Free National Movement and other political parties have ratified candidates and held walkabouts in some constituencies, which some say is sending a different message to the electorate.
The PLP and other political observers have predicted an early election.
Speaking to the media yesterday, Mr Davis said Dr Minnis is campaigning yet the PLP leader assured his party is ready “for an ambush”.
He said: “One would’ve expected by now we would’ve had legislation that would have fixed dates for election, that’s what he promised. It’s not here and if there is one thing he could’ve done without legislation he could’ve said ‘Well I didn’t have the time to or the legislative agenda (does) not permit me the time to bring legislation for the purpose of fixing the date but I will from an administrative point of view tell you what the date is.’
“But he’s not doing that. The reason for that is I think he’s looking for an ambush and that’s all we can say. He’s trying to ambush the opposition. Well, we are ready for an ambush and our flanks are fortified.”
Attorney General Carl Bethel said in May 2018 public consultation on bills establishing term limits for Prime Ministers and fixed dates for election would begin before the end of that year. At the time Mr Bethel said the Law Reform Commission would “finalise two draft constitutional bills” to address such matters. It is unclear what movement has occurred in this regard.
Yesterday, the PLP leader also called this “hypocrisy” and said he is watching what the Prime Minister does.
He added: “Suffice it to say again this is hypocrisy – say one thing and do another. I will not listen to what he’s saying. I’ll just watch what he’s doing. He’s campaigning. If the election is going to be next year, would his campaigning, his efforts be as intense as they appear to be at this time?”
Mr Davis said he was satisfied that the electorate would not want another five years of the Minnis administration. Moreover, he is encouraged by the response the party has been getting on the ground.
Last week, former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said politicians are damaging their credibility by campaigning and hosting political events with large gatherings while COVID-19 rules are still in place. Asked about this, Mr Davis insisted efforts are being made to social distance, but said it’s difficult to manage the crowds.
“Well, the difficulty with gatherings is that you don’t intend to have gatherings, but people are attracted to events and as much as you try to contain it it’s very difficult to contain crowds,” he explained.
“What we attempt always to do is anyone, any crowd that comes to an event we ensure that they all are wearing masks and ….we have a sort of a marshal in our groupings to ensure that they keep social distances. That’s what we are doing at this time.”