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PLP on track to be in opposition for some time


Published: Jun 19, 2017

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The last time a government was re-elected in The Bahamas was in March 1997. By the next general election, assuming this government lasts a full term, it would be 25 years since a party was invited back. This 25-year period will match the 25 years we kept electing and re-electing Lynden Pindling. Bahamians have changed.

The current in-and-out pattern gives some members of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) hope. To them this is just bad luck. In five years they will be back.

These PLPs are in denial. Bahamians on May 10 tried to vote the entire governing party out of the elected assembly of Parliament. Four PLPs survived, just barely.

The Bahamian people think the PLP spent five years taking their money. They think hundreds of millions of dollars were taken by the PLP and given to PLPs. What makes it worse is that the money they believe was taken was raised through the largest tax increase in Bahamian history — that is, value-added tax (VAT).

The revelations of waste, corruption and cronyism that have been revealed in the budget debate sicken Bahamians. Honest PLPs who were not in on the game are stunned too.

The PLP’s parliamentary team has adopted a bizarre strategy. Whenever an allegation of impropriety is made, they become defensive. Rather than apologize and acknowledge the wrongs, they argue for the PLP way.

Those PLPs should know that nearly two thirds of voters voted against what the Christie administration did. The now governing Free National Movement (FNM) beat the PLP by 20 percentage points. The PLP lost inner city seats it held for decades. The party fell beneath the 40 percent threshold, indicating that members of the base went against the party.

It is clear the PLP has not gotten the message. It will stay in opposition until it does.

The party needs new faces unconnected with the scandals and mismanagement of the past. It needs a new message for these times. It needs to acknowledge the wrongs of the Christie and Pindling administrations. It needs to commit to honest government. What it currently is, is a business for the party elite. PLPism is: Win the government in order for the PLP inner circle to do business and get rich.

The party is different than what Henry Taylor envisioned. It is so different than what the majority rule generation fought for.

Bahamians saw that the Christie administration was leading The Bahamas to ruin. They were not sure about Dr. Hubert Minnis, but knew with clarity that to save The Bahamas Christie and his crew had to go.

We need two parties capable of leading the country. The PLP is not in such a position now. We hope the members of the party who genuinely care about The Bahamas wrestle it away from the old guard who led it into disrepute.

Bahamians will listen to the party again when it reinvents itself and its message is brought forward by the next generation of PLPs who have clean hands. Until then, the people will keep our oldest party in opposition. They want no more of what they voted out on May 10.

 


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