Aspirant candidates vying to represent the five constituencies in Grand Bahama for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in the 2022 General Election, are being interviewed by the Candidates’ Committee.
Leader of the PLP, Philip Brave Davis led the nine-member committee delegation to Grand Bahama Monday (January 4), to begin the interviews at the PLP Headquarters on Beachway Dr., just off East Sunrise Boulevard.
Some 17 persons were interviewed Monday for West GB and Bimini, Central GB and Marco City seats. The remaining interviewees for Pineridge and East GB were to meet with the committee on Tuesday.
“I am very excited, because we interviewed about 17 persons today who are all qualified, enthusiastic, passionate residents of Grand Bahama; all who are very concerned about the direction of the country; and all of whom seem to want to make a contribution to a better way of life for our people,” Davis told this daily Monday evening, following the first round of interviews.
“Today, January 4, 2021, I brought the Candidates’ Committee of the PLP. Nine of us traveled from New Providence to interview potential aspirants, who desire to be the standard bearers as a candidate for our party in the next General Elections.
“And so, I was really inspired by the interest which is also a testament to the fact that the PLP is well on its way back,” Davis added.
He noted that it is generally accepted that nothing has happened in Grand Bahama for the last several years.
Davis said that even prior to Dorian (hurricane) and the COVD-19 pandemic, people in Grand Bahama were struggling.
“Families were concerned how they would pay their light bills, how they would put food on their tables and very concerned about the future of their children. And so, we know nothing is happening … Dorian and the COVID-19 has just exacerbated that. At this time there is no vision for Grand Bahama.”
The Opposition Leader maintained that the PLP left “a lot” of plans, initiatives in place that would have uplifted the people of Grand Bahama and taken them to the next level.
“We were well on the way, trying to get Grand Bahama back to where it ought to be. Of course, elections came and we were fired by the people. The FNM (Free National Movement) won, but where are we now today?
“And so, it is very interesting the mix of persons – females and males – who have stepped forward to offer themselves for frontline politics, to help us bring to Grand Bahama what has been promised for many, many years,” said Davis.
Noting that he is encouraged by what he has seen, Davis emphasized “the astuteness, the grasp of the issues that are facing Grand Bahama; their commitment to want to be the engine of change; to correct some of these inequities, and bring relief to the pain the Grand Bahamians have been suffering for far too long.”
Questioned as to how quickly a list of candidates will be released, Davis explained that the process may take another few weeks.
“The process is that the Candidates’ Committee conducts interviews, vet and then we deliberate, make recommendations to the National General Council, which will then decide to ratify a candidate.
“So that process will take another few weeks and then we can expect a list of candidates,” he said.
This daily can reveal that the following names are among the mix for selection: Mark Roberts, Curt Hollingsworth, Kirk Russell, Ernie Barr, Kevin Ferguson, Nevar Smith, Monique Smith, Obie Wilchcombe, Lloyd Rolle, Lewis Astwood, Harold Williams, Marsha Cooper, Keitron Meadows, Justin Palacious, Paco Deal and Leslie Lightbourne.
The PLP was defeated resoundingly in the 2017 General Election by the now governing Free National Movement. During that election, the then party leader and former Prime Minister Perry Christie, also lost his Centerville seat to Reece Chipman.
Christie had held the seat since 1977, and at the time had served as leader of the party since 1997.
Davis was returned as Member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador and was later named party leader. Then, political newcomer, Chester Cooper was named PLP Deputy.