The Progressive Liberal Party’s 55th National Convention is now over and the hotly contested seat of Chairman has remained in the grip of the Hon. Frederick Audley Mitchell.
Although many thought the party was ready for a change, the voting masses decided to stick with who they know has worked hard for the PLP over the past six years in the capacity of chairman.
Mitchell, a proven soldier, walked away victorious after weeks of bearing the brunt of a slightly nasty campaign surrounding the seat of Chairman.
Fending off Robyn Lynes, his worthy opponent who served as his deputy chair since 2019, Mitchell won by some 845 (unofficial) votes while Lynes secured some 630 (unofficial) votes.
The good thing about this party is its resilience in uniting when it matters. That’s how the PLP operates. After Friday night, everyone will lick their wounds and move on to try to secure the win at the By-Election for West Grand Bahama and Bimini.
This is what is expected as this is the norm for the PLP, however Mitchell had some interesting things to say when he addressed the convention delegates after his win.
“First I would like to thank the Prime Minister,” Chairman Mitchell said. “In personal terms this victory, to me, is an affirmation of my humanity after a particularly obnoxious campaign.”
During an interview with members of the press, Prime Minister Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis, came out and endorsed Mitchell as chairman.
Mitchell continued, “I want to thank the Prime Minister for his affirmation of my humanity because the public statement which he made is unusual for a leader to do, but it came after a particularly nasty set of comments generated in the public, suggesting that I was less than human. It will take all of my Christian charity to forgive it.
“Secondly, I want to point out that had we not succeeded today, there was a consequence that would follow in our system. It means that there was a repudiation of the Prime Minister as head of the Cabinet in his decision and would have led to my resignation from the Cabinet. I wrote that resignation this morning just in case.”
Even though the party is known to pull together quickly after a bad smash up, it’s clear that the nastiness during the chairmanship campaign stung both candidates.
I’ve known Hon. Fred Mitchell for decades and I have never seen him show much emotion, but at the end of his speech on Friday night there was slight emotion … yes, slight emotion as he recited a well-known farewell adage.
There were front page reports of the infighting over the seat of chairman. Mitchell, in his convention address, gave advice to those seeking public life.
He said, “I hope that all those who are planning to go into public life, will look at what has happened over these past few days and see what it is to have grace under fire and to also understand that as public figures, you can’t be a cry baby in public. It’s a real, serious game. I said that to someone who I hope hears me tonight.”
Prior to the race for chairmanship, Minister Mitchell and former Cabinet Minister Shane Gibson seem to be having a war of words in the press over a nomination in the upcoming by-election. It’s in the party’s best interest that these two power houses hug and sing “Kum-Ba-Yah” in the immediate future so as to secure a win in Grand Bahama.
The storm is over now and as all officials who spoke on Friday night said, the focus is now on winning the West Grand Bahama and Bimini’s by-election which is next week Wednesday. Prime Minister Davis, in his address which closed out the convention, indicated it’s time to join hands and pull together.
As I assess this party’s issues starting with the Mitchell/Gibson row right down to the Mitchell/Lynes friction, I feel it was in the PLP’s best interest that Mitchell won that race.
His loss could have perhaps determined a negative outcome in the Grand Bahama by-election and ultimately the 2026 general elections. No one votes for a political party that seems to have been thrown into disarray. Well that’s how I see it, anyway.
“AS I SEE IT” DISCLAIMER – The views and opinions represented in this column, “As I See It” belong to the columnist and do not necessarily represent those of the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas. The views and opinions expressed in the column are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. This column is for informational purposes only.