Sears: Best Chance Of Plp Victory Is With Me As Leader

FORMER Attorney General and Progressive Liberal Party candidate for Fort Charlotte Alfred Sears, QC, said the PLP’s greatest chance at winning the next election is with him as leader.

In an interview on Hot 91.7 FM’s “Morning Madhouse” with host “C-Note”, Mr Sears said it is time to for the PLP to “bench” Prime Minister Perry Christie and put him “in the game”.

Mr Sears said he still remains confident, after meeting with stalwarts and branch executives, that he will be the next leader of the PLP and the country’s next prime minister despite the odds being stacked against him at the party’s upcoming convention.

“A party’s primary objective is to win the election and the party will have to make a determination during convention: ‘Is the PLP best able to win the next general election under the incumbent or under myself of some other person?’ Well, the chances of the PLP being re-elected are far better with me than with Mr Christie,” Mr Sears said on Monday.

“If your star player is not making the shots, do you let the star player stay on the court with the almost certainty that they will lose the game or do you put the star player on the bench and bring in the back up? I’m that back up player coming in at the clutch time. We are all a part of a team and the stalwarts, I have no doubt that they love the party and the country more than any one individual and they have to make an honest assessment.”

The PLP’s convention will be held at the end of this month.

So far, only Mr Sears has announced his intention to challenge Mr Christie for the party’s top post.

Last year, the prime minister said he is “not at all” concerned about Mr Sears’ bid to challenge him for the leadership.

In fact, Mr Christie said “his record” and his “value” would ensure his re-election at the party’s convention.

Last year, Mr Christie laughed off speculation that he may be ousted as leader of the PLP by the Fort Charlotte candidate because of voter frustration with the current administration.

“No, I am not concerned,” Mr Christie said previously. “What I have done for the people of The Bahamas and what I have done for the Progressive Liberal Party and its supporters, will enable them to see the value, my value as prime minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

The convention will be the first the PLP has held since 2009, although the party’s constitution mandates that such an event be held every year.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

Sears calls for fair PLP election

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has no guidelines, rules and regulations governing elections within the party, according to a communication sent to PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts by leadership candidate Alfred Sears, who is proposing a set of guidelines that would ensure a fair and transparent leadership election later this month.

Sears, the PLP’s candidate for Fort Charlotte, is the only person who has so far declared an intention to challenge Prime Minister Perry Christie for the party’s leadership.

In his letter to Roberts, dated January 6, Sears said Valentine Grimes, the party’s trustee responsible for elections, confirmed that there are no rules governing elections.

As a result, Sears is asking for the appointment of an agreed independent observer to observe the party’s elections.

He is also proposing that no further appointment of stalwarts be made until after the elections in order to ensure a stable list of eligible voters.

He is asking that an official list of qualified delegates be provided to all declared candidates for leadership by January 13, inclusive of their contacts.

Sears also wants the party to disclose the arrangements made for the transport and accommodations for eligible voters from the Family Islands to ensure equal participation of all voters in the convention.

As a part of the process, he says that all candidates should agree to refrain from making any offensive, abusive or insulting statements against each other, and should refrain from imputations of improper motives or to the character or conduct of any person except in his official or public capacity.

Sears also wants the party to ensure that each of the leadership candidates has equal access to the national televised media during the convention, and equal access of each candidate for leader to display, post and distribute paraphernalia in and around the convention site.

Sears wrote: “I respectfully request that you (Roberts) indicate your written acceptance of the aforesaid election guidelines to ensure that we safeguard the reputation and goodwill of the Progressive Liberal Party, as we engage in the robust democratic process to elect the leadership of the party, as required by our constitution.

“The integrity, maturity and dignity of our democratic process should inspire the Bahamian electorate to re­elect the Progressive Liberal Party to govern the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for the next five years.”

When contacted yesterday, Grimes told The Nassau Guardian there is nothing in the party’s constitution or regulations that governs elections, but he assured there will be rules and guidelines in place prior to the convention to ensure the election of party officers is fair.

“We will have in place fair rules that all parties will be fully aware of prior to the convention, and these rules will govern the elections of all officers of the party,” he said.

“There will not be any peculiar rules for the leadership other than the existing provision, which is that the leader has to get 50 plus one percent to be elected, but other than that the rules will govern the election of officers similarly.”

Grimes added, “We have done this over the last several decades. We will have properly organized elections. We will have a predetermined list of delegates.

“That list cannot be finalized until convention. It will be finalized prior to the day of the election of the delegates. I’m duty bound to ensure that the elections are fair.”

The last leadership election was in 2009, which was also the last time the PLP held a convention.

Christie won more than 80 percent of the vote. He got 1,158 votes, compared to 204 votes received by Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage and the 23 votes received by attorney Paul Moss.

Grimes said the number of delegates will not be lower than last time.

“More than likely it will be higher,” he said.

The PLP convention is scheduled for January 24-­26.
CANDIA DAMES
Managing Editor
candia@nasguard.com

Sears: If I become leader, PLP could win 28 seats

FORMER Attorney General Alfred Sears took his confident public pronouncements on winning the Progressive Liberal Party’s leadership race a step further yesterday by predicting that with him at the helm of the political organisation, it would win the majority of the seats in the House of Assembly.

In stark contrast, he went on to estimate that if Prime Minister Perry Christie were to remain the party’s leader, there would be a fifty-fifty chance that the PLP could be re-elected to government.

More specifically, Mr Sears said a PLP under his direction could secure about 28 seats, whereas Mr Christie would most likely only be able to deliver 19 seats.

Explaining this position, while a guest on the Darold Miller Live show, Mr Sears said Mr Christie was sure to win this number of seats should the Free National Movement remain “fractured”.

“Under me I believe that the Progressive Liberal Party will win overwhelmingly,” he said in response to questions from Mr Miller. “Both in terms of the popular vote which it did not win the last time as well as I would say of the 38 seats…I think it would be about 28 (seats).”

Asked how well he thought the party could perform with Mr Christie as leader, Mr Sears said: “I think it would be very close. I think it depends on the opposition whether the parties are unified…”

“Provided the opposition is still fractured I would say it could be a fifty-fifty chance,” he said, when he was pressed further on the matter.

“The party will support whatever the outcome is and do our best. I am talking about as I talk to people in Fort Charlotte and now as I move throughout our country and having an opportunity to speak to party officers and stalwarts I am getting a sentiment within the country that, of course, there have been polls, there has been the most recent referendum where the base of our party would have voted against the four bills,” he added.

He also sought to again dispel a rumour that web shop bosses fund his campaign for PLP leader. Instead, Mr Sears said, he receives small contributions and joked that he would love to be given $50,000 to campaign. He had spoken about the matter on a previous appearance on the radio talk show.

If he wins the leadership race, Mr Sears said yesterday that he would allow Mr Christie to continue on as prime minister and complete the mammoth tasks the country now faces, as he pointed to the Baha Mar situation.

In an interview with The Tribune earlier this week, Mr Sears said after meeting with stalwarts and branch executives his support has grown exponentially and he has been assured that he will be the next leader of the PLP and the country’s next prime minister.

His comments came after he ended his “listening” tour in Abaco over the weekend. Mr Sears said the people he met there were “excited” about his vision and welcomed him warmly, while embracing his change agenda and assuring him of their support.

He said the stalwarts expressed a concern about a lack of sustained engagement by the PLP other than at election time and the need to ensure that the constitutional structure of the party is operational.

Last week, Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister V Alfred Gray insisted that the prime minister was “entrenched” in the party’s top post and Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said while it is good for people to see democracy at work during the convention where all posts will be open for challenge, she was “quite sure” and “firm” that Mr Christie will win hands down.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

Bahamas Elections 2017

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and our commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. But my personal story is not so unique. That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it.

Again and again, we’ve seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. I get it.

But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence.

More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq.

Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk.

We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.

Sears Bids For PLP Leadership

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Attorney General Alfred Sears yesterday announced his intention to challenge Prime Minister Perry Christie for leadership of the Progressive Liberal Party at the governing party’s national convention in November.

Mr Sears is the first to make such an intention known, ensuring that Mr Christie will face the first challenge to his leadership since the National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage and attorney Paul Moss faced him in 2009.

Mr Sears has been laying the groundwork for a leadership run for months, having released a list of proposals he intends to champion if he becomes leader of the PLP.

He spent recent months canvassing the country to make an assessment about whether it would be wise to run for leader. He pledged to run a “clean” race, one without personal attacks.

“The issues before us continue to be restoring our economy with specific focus on job creation, expanding entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians and ensuring economic diversification, instituting fiscal responsibility and prudence in governance, combatting crime within our borders and establishing a system of transparent and accountable governance among many other progressive reforms,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Sears told The Tribune he notified Mr Christie and PLP chairman Bradley Roberts about his decision to contest the leadership of the party. He met with members of his constituency branch yesterday evening to discuss the matter with them.

He said he will present comprehensive plans for the country in the upcoming months and enhancing government transparency and accountability is expected to be one major plank of his agenda.

It is a potential sore spot for the Christie Administration, which has made no apparent progress towards creating campaign finance laws or addressing concerns about the transparency of the country’s contract procurement process, two matters that have long been a priority to stakeholders.

Mr Sears is also expected to argue strongly for greater devolution of the Prime Minister’s powers and for an expansion in the scope of local government.

“This campaign will present a transformative vision for the Progressive Liberal Party and the Bahamas,” he said in his statement yesterday. “The campaign will not make any personal and negative attacks on anyone.”

It is often said that the PLP’s election process is stacked in favour of the party’s leader. There are many stalwart councillors in the party who are of advanced age and have the ability to vote in the convention.

They are more likely to have had relationships with Mr Christie, who has been a parliamentarian for more than 40 years, than they are with Mr Sears, who has served in government for ten years.

Asked if he has concerns about the fairness of the PLP’s election process, Mr Sears said: “I, as well as every other candidate who will step forward, will be provided a level playing field and a fair process. Our great party should have the confidence to ensure that any contest for its leadership is fair and democratic. I’m confident that the delegates of the PLP are patriots of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and when they hear the manner that I want to take the country in they will support me.”

Mr Sears is a respected figure in the PLP and within the legal community. He was encouraged by the PLP constituency branch of Fort Charlotte to return to frontline politics last year after members grew frustrated with their representative, Dr Andre Rollins, who has since left the PLP.

If not for the prodding of the party, it is unclear if Mr Sears would have returned to frontline politics in 2017 and therefore challenge Mr Christie.

Mr Sears was Attorney General from 2002 to 2006 and Minister of Education from 2002 to 2007. He also served as Chairman of the Council of the College of the Bahamas between 2012 and 2016.

In his statement yesterday he said: “During my tenure as member of parliament, attorney general and minister of education, I learned the complexities of governance in our society, the challenges in addressing the concerns of working class Bahamians. Further, I gained a deep appreciation of the urgent need to reform our governance process, better incentivise Bahamian entrepreneurship and extend private public partnerships.”

Mr Sears is currently the managing partner of Sears & Co, the law firm he established in 1992. He told The Tribune yesterday that he anticipates receiving notable endorsements in the upcoming months.

Nonetheless, the PLP has not held a convention since 2009, despite the party’s constitutional mandate to hold one every year.

The last convention held in 2009 showed how deep support for Mr Christie runs in the party. He won 1,158 votes in a landslide victory over Dr Nottage, who received 204 votes. Mr Moss, an attorney viewed as an outsider, won 23 votes and later left the party.

Mr Christie stirred controversy recently when he said he seeks to remain leader of the PLP to provide stability to the party and because young members in government have urged him to continue on.

While it is unknown if others will step forward to challenge Mr Christie, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis is often seen as another potential challenger.

COB Spring 2016 Commencement Ceremony

commencement_cermony1The COB Spring 2016 Commencement Ceremony was held 5:00 PM, Thursday, 26th May, 2016 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Thompson Blvd., Nassau, Bahamas. Theme: “Sharing the National Vision: Shaping the Future”
Photos captured by Michael Swann to include: Opening of Convocation (Mr. Alfred Sears, QC), President’s Address (Dr. Rodney Smith), Musical Selection-COB Concert Choir directed by Mrs. Audrey Wright, Introduction of Commemcement (Dr. Pandora Johnson), Commencement Address (H.E. A. Missouri Sherman-Peter, Ambassador, CARICOM), Musical Selection-COB Band directed by Mr. Christian Justilien, Presentation of Candidates for Certificates, Associate, Bachelor and Master Degrees, Presentation of Special Awards-The Stanley Wilson Award for Excellence in Research Awardee (received by Dr. Raymond Oenbring), The COB Alumni Society Leadership Award (received by Trevor O. Johnson, Jr.), The President’s Award (received by Trevor O. Johnson, Jr.), The GG Award (received by Trevor O. Johnson, Jr.), Commencement Class Speaker-Trevor O. Johnson, Jr., Presentation by the Class of 2016, Alumni Society Induction, Alma Mater, Closing-Chairman Alfred Michael Sears, Benediction by DrCarolyn Rolle, Recessional.