Wednesday, February 19, 2020
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
FORMER PLP Member of Parliament Leslie Miller says he’s certain he can win the Tall Pines constituency by at least 500 votes in the 2022 general election.
Mr Miller told The Tribune he can do it whether or not the PLP allows him to run on its ticket. He said his prospects are just as good under party affiliation as they are being an independent candidate.
Representing the party is his first preference, but the 70-year-old politician said he has no issues with running as an independent if the party chooses someone else.
Mr Miller was contacted yesterday after photos circulated on social media of him visiting residents in Tall Pines. The former Bahamas Electricity Corporation executive chairman said constituents have been calling and asking him when they could receive another visit.
Asked if he had the party’s assurances that he will be its pick to represent the area in the next election, Mr Miller said: “I’m back. I don’t need any discussion with the PLP. I am a PLP. My status is like any other PLP in good standing - like the leader, the deputy or everybody else.
“I don’t need no discussion. (But) nobody is sure they’ll be on the ticket until nomination night comes except those members of Parliament who are already there and you only got four so that’s all kinds of vacant seats.
“But, I intend to go in my area.”
Mr Miller said in his opinion there is no reason why the PLP should not have a strong presence in Tall Pines, an area he represented for several years until the party lost in a landslide defeat in 2017 to the governing Free National Movement.
“I don’t see no reason why we shouldn’t go there. The people want us there, we have a good team. We’ve done our job and they welcome me with open arms.
“Some was crying when I went back in the area.”
He also said: “(There are) no if, ands or buts. We will beat him (current MP Don Saunders) or whoever by at least 500 votes.
“He is done, toast, finished. We lost by 212 the last time. Over 600 people didn’t vote. There are another 300 to 400 people going to be voting for the first time. He is gone and they will tell you that.
“If we go independent we are going to win, but I expect to be on the ticket just like the rest.
“So if they don’t run me that will be their problem and not mine,” he quipped.
In the past it seems Mr Miller’s public confidence about a run in the area has caused some friction with the party.
Last August, after he made similar comments, PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper issued a warning to Mr Miller, telling him the PLP’s leadership team “will not be bullied”.
Mr Miller said at the time he was running in Tall Pines no matter what, even if it meant doing so as an independent candidate. He said he supported Obie Wilchcombe in the PLP chairmanship race because he believed the former tourism minister would better look out for candidates like himself who lost in the last election and want to run again. Mr Wilchcombe was not successful in that bid.
“We will not be bullied,” Mr Cooper told this newspaper in response last year.
“There is a process for candidate selection and vetting. Anyone interested in a PLP candidacy should acquaint themselves with it. Our party is fresh off a successful convention and is in a period of renewal. We will do what we must to regain the trust, confidence and vote of the Bahamian people and we will not be distracted. Our process allows us to field credible candidates representative of the demographics of our country.”
PLP officials want to run mostly new candidates in 2022, a desire that may collide with the ambitions of past candidates.