Friday, May 19, 2017
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis has advised that as the country's newly installed Official Opposition, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) under his leadership will not allow the government to "misrepresent or distort" the party's legacy in governance.
Mr Davis made the declaration as he accepted his instruments of appointment to become the new leader of the official Opposition from Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling during a ceremony at Government House on Friday.
As he expressed varying levels of gratitude to those in attendance, the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP emphasised that his administration would not "acquiesce" to the new government if it pursues any policies or practices that could "hurt vulnerable Bahamians".
Mr Davis also noted that the Opposition, under his guidance, would not stand aside if the government in any way compromises on the nation's "sovereignty".
To applause, Mr Davis said: "You will find, I believe, that we are quite up to the challenges ahead. We will be few, but we will not be alone."
Mr Davis will lead a Parliamentary caucus of four - Englerston MP elect Glenys Hanna Martin, South Andros MP elect Picewell Forbes, Exuma and Ragged Island MP elect Chester Cooper and himself - into the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
Of the group's intentions Mr Davis said: "While we are doing this critical work of revitalising our party, we will also at the same time hold the new government to account. That is a primary function and duty of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition.
"I have every intention, as do my colleagues in the House, of proving ourselves equal to that duty from day one and throughout out time in Opposition.
"As citizens and devoted patriots, we sincerely hope the new government well. Where we can find common ground with them, they will have our full support.
"But, they should not look at our small numbers in Parliament and draw the wrong conclusions. Let me be clear: we will not allow the new government to misrepresent or distort our record of achievement in government.
"We will not acquiesce if they pursue policies or practices that hurt vulnerable Bahamians and we will not stand aside if they compromise our sovereignty as a nation.
"We will be sustained by the example of our party's founders; by the commitment of our representation; by the energy and optimism; by a new generation of supporters; and by the substructure of the good people of the Bahamas, who I believe will continue to hold all leaders of our great nation to the highest standards."
In the wake of last week’s stunning general election results, former Prime Minister Perry Christie announced on Monday night that his political season had come to an end, as he officially resigned as party leader.
His resignation has opened the door for what many within the party have called a chance to “right itself".
Singling out Mr Christie on Friday, Mr Davis thanked the former Prime Minister for his 40 years of service to the Bahamian people, adding that despite the ending of his journey, Mr Christie always attempted to do his best for the country.
"I accept that our former leader tried his best to do the best for the Bahamian people and despite the ending of his road as leader, we remember him as a patriot and one of the great, great builders of the modern Bahamas," Mr Davis said.
"I therefore take pride, speaking not only for myself, but also on behalf of the many thousands throughout our nation in expressing our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the tremendous service that he gave our nation for more than 40 years."
Mr Davis admitted that the PLP was in a "season of change", which he said would attract those interested in participating in the "critical work" of revitalising the party.
The former Works Minister went on to dismiss speculation that the party is in a state of despair, contending rather that a spirit of "determination and excitement about moving forward" had already began to resonate amongst officials and supporters.
"Today we find ourselves, the party that founded an independent and modern Bahamas, at a new beginning. It is a time for reflection, but it must be much more than that. It is a time for reform, a time for rebuilding, a time for renewal.
"Last week's results should prompt real and thorough self-examination; and indeed that process has already began. It is a process we intend to undertake unflinchingly with both humility and candour.
"We do so with a sense of urgency too, because we believe that the values and missions of the Progressive Liberal Party must remain essential and indispensable to our country.
"We are ready to renew the promise of our party for a new generation of activists, servants, supporters and fellow citizens. This process will begin on the ground and extend into every community throughout our country."
Mr Davis said the PLP intends to listen closely to those who subscribe to the ideals upon which the party was established and those that have their own ideas about how to work toward social and economic justice in these changing times.
The new Opposition Leader said communication between the party and those supporting its rebuilding efforts will be a "dialogue" and not a "monologue".
Of that dialogue, Mr Davis said communication and collaboration will be inclusive, adding that the party would leave no one out, embracing the entire Bahamian community.