Tuesday, January 5, 2010

PLP by-election win 'would be indicator of party's strength and support'

Tribune Staff Reporter

A PLP win in a likely by-election in the Elizabeth constituency would prove a good indicator of the party's strength and support with the voting public, it was claimed last night.

Attorney Philip Galanis, a former PLP senator, believes that in order to nab a possible by-election victory, the party must quickly determine the best possible candidate to outweigh the heavy resources the FNM will pour behind its prospective hopeful.

So far those who have expressed an interested for the Elizabeth nomination include attorneys Ryan Pinder, Craig Butler and Ken Dorsett.

Elizabeth MP Malcolm Adderley quit the PLP with effect from January 1, 2010, and is expected to resign from his seat in the House of Assembly when Parliament meets tomorrow.

It would set the stage for a hotly-contested by-election in Elizabeth, which PLP chairman Bradley Roberts estimates would cost the public purse upwards of $1 million.

"I think it would be a very good indicator of how strong the party is and would be a referendum, an indication by some, of what the people of the country feel about the performance of the Ingraham administration," Mr Galanis said.

"The party needs to really caucus with a view to determine who the best candidate is to contest the election, if one is called. It needs to impose some stringent policies to selecting its candidate and most importantly it needs to impress upon its stand bearers that that is all they are, any seat they might win in Parliament does not belong to them and their representation is a privilege, not a right."

However, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts said the party has not officially selected a replacement for Mr Adderley reasoning that he has yet to resign from the House, thus leaving a vacancy in the Elizabeth seat, an area with a long history of voting for the PLP.

"We only found out on the weekend that Malcolm was going to resign from the PLP. We still don't know whether Malcolm is going to resign from the House," he told The Tribune yesterday.

"Some people may be doing some solicitation (in the area) that's not unusual (but) the party doesn't have a mandate to fill any position yet."

In the statement released yesterday, the FNM said it respects Mr Adderley's "personal decision" to cut political ties with the PLP.

Although it is believed the Government wooed Mr Adderley to give up his seat with promises of a plum job as a judge, the Ingraham administration said it did not know the reasons behind the decision while taking a jab at the upper echelons of the Opposition.

"Such a decision is not lightly made and obviously must reflect a deeply thought-out personal determination on his part. The Free National Movement does not have the benefit of knowing the inmost reasons behind Mr Adderley's resignation from the PLP.

"However, one has only to read and consider the vilification and bile which was spewed in the hysterical PLP press response to venture a guess as to why Mr Adderley, and perhaps others, may no longer want to be associated with what that organisation has become under the leadership of Perry Christie and Bradley Roberts."

The statement also thanked Mr Adderley for continuing to serve as Chairman of the Gaming Board after his party lost the 2007 general election, a decision that infuriated members of his party.

Yesterday, the FNM alluded to Mr Adderley's reported interested in joining the judiciary but did not confirm whether he has been offered or accepted the job.

"We understand that Mr Adderley is willing to continue in the service of his country as a Justice of the Supreme Court, a position for which he is well qualified, especially at a time when there is urgent need for qualified Bahamian judges willing to serve. If that is so, we highly commend him.

"We note that he has previously served in this position in an acting capacity while his political persuasion was well known."

Mr Adderley's move came after months of speculation about his strained relations with the PLP and party leader Perry Christie. Mr Adderley has reportedly long been at odds with his party and has been inactive in the party's Parliamentary caucus.

Mr Christie's decision not to expel Mr Adderley from the PLP long ago has garnered harsh criticism from observers, even former PLP chairman Raynard Rigby who accused the party leader "of being asleep at the wheel."

January 05, 2010