The Beachway Drive Headquarters of the Progressive Liberal Party in Grand Bahama, was packed on Tuesday past, as the leadership led in paying tributes to the late stalwart Bradley Roberts, who died last week.
It was the highest level of solidarity demonstrated by the party in opposition, in Grand Bahama, since the campaign trail leading up to the general elections of 2017. Praises were poured on Roberts by those who knew and had interacted with him politically.
Indeed, the focus was on the fallen warrior.
However, it was clear that PLPs in Grand Bahama are yearning for a sense of direction and someone to spearhead them. Pleasant Bridgewater, a former Member of Parliament for Marco City during her tribute remarks, voiced the question: “Who will fill the shoes of Bradley Roberts?”
The resounding reply was “Obie Wilchcombe.”
It was a heavy hint for Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis.
In opposition in Grand Bahama, the PLP has been low key at best. It is only on very infrequent occasions, one can see activity at the headquarters. Little is heard about PLP initiatives throughout the island. It’s as if the party went to sleep in Grand Bahama after elections day, May 10, 2017.
Perhaps Wilchcombe is indeed the best option to revitalize the PLP in Grand Bahama. He is a Grand Bahamian and is known very much from east to west in the island. A veteran politician, with a great deal of past success, Wilchcombe is a tried and tested product of the national political arena.
The big wave of dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister Perry Christie-led PLP Government washed away all but four candidates and Wilchcombe was one of those, losing his West Grand Bahama and Bimini seat to Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe of the Free National Movement, today’s governing party.
There were lessons for Wilchcombe and the rest of the losing candidates to learn.
Wilchcombe, based on the reaction on Tuesday evening, is still very popular among PLPs in Grand Bahama.
He looks to be a good fit for the PLP when it comes to leading the charge towards election year 2022. Wilchcombe would be wise though, to come to grips with the fact that he had turned off quite a bit of those who once supported him.
Did Wilchcombe learn his lesson?
His task will be to bring back to the fold the many PLPs who were disillusioned by the party on the whole, and greatly annoyed with the leadership in Grand Bahama, in particular. Sources, informed on many occasions during the run-up to the elections of 2017, that PLPs in Grand Bahama felt disenfranchised, not embraced by those who called the shots for the governing party at the time.
This was borne out in the results of the polling in Grand Bahama.
The PLP did not win a seat.
This is the backdrop that Wilchcombe or whoever else is asked to step to the front in Grand Bahama for the PLP, will be operating from.