PLP Chairman Speaks at PLP NPI Banquet

Bradley Roberts, Chairman of the PLP

Remarks By
Bradley B. Roberts
National Chairman, PLP
NPI Installation Banquet
British Colonial Hilton
19th October 2012

Mr. Prime Minister and Party leader, the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Executive Officers of the National Progressive Institute
Party Officers, members and friends, a pleasant good evening.

Let me say how happy and optimistic I am to bring these brief remarks to such an august body that represents a significant portion of the next generation of leaders in the Progressive Liberal Party.

The National Progressive Institute has blossomed from a think tank and advisory committee to a fully constituted branch of the party with delegate and voting privileges at convention in addition to permanent representation and voting rights in the National General Council, the policy arm of the PLP. The same is true for the Progressive Young Liberals, but these structural and functional reforms within the PLP were made possible through bold and persistent advocacy by our young people who are our next generation of leaders.

I cannot overstate the importance of having a leader who listens and encourages intellectual independence; a leader who does not believe he knows it all and who consults and makes decisions based on broad based consensus and proven scientific principles. You have the good fortune of such a leader in the name of Perry Gladstone Christie with those moral attributes. In case you did not notice, he is the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and will bring these skills to bear in this office for the betterment of all Bahamians. This includes all Bahamians from all walks of life, with all hues and from every political persuasion.

When you couple your advocacy with the transformational leadership style of Prime Minister Christie, you have the formula for progressive change and advancement. If you take nothing else away from my remarks, please remember that governments stand firm or crumble as a result of effective and consistent advocacy or the lack thereof. Never underestimate the power of advocacy. You do so at your own peril.

Policies are implemented and laws are enacted because of strong advocacy. Revolutions take place because of advocacy. The struggle for Majority Rule and social justice caused an entire government to crumble and a country to be transformed on January 10th, 1967. Six years later on July 10th our nation was born and the rest as they say is history.

Today we are at the dawn of a new century and there are new calls for change in the form of constitutional reforms. You will have an opportunity to be heard on the issues of gambling, electoral reform, gender bias, oil drilling and judicial reform very, very soon.

Additionally, we are celebrating 40 years of nationhood on July 10th, 2013.

What role are you playing in the public education on these matters and their contextual significance? Are you driving the national dialogue on these issues? Are you involved at all?

Prime Minister Christie and I are at the twilight of our careers and there are very clear signs that the baton of leadership is being passed onto a new generation. You need only look at the bye-election in North Abaco. Two young vibrant men in their thirties contested that seat for the right and opportunity to navigate the future of Abaco, an island with the third largest economy in The Bahamas. More significantly, they were candidates of modest economic means – they were not wealthy nor were they the elites of society and that is a very positive and encouraging sign for our democracy. The expansion of the franchise of political leadership was and is part of the transformational vision of both Sir Lynden and Prime Minister Christie and I invite you to take full advantage of this opportunity our leader is presenting through his God given style of leadership.

In addition to getting involved and being heard on national issues to influence both public opinion and public policy, I invite you to become surrogates. I cannot overstate the importance of this in getting out the message of our government. Between 2002 and 2007, our surrogates had to be asleep because with all the good work the PLP government did on behalf of the Bahamian people, others were able to say we did nothing.

How many of you knew we built 1,500 homes?

How many knew we constructed 531 classrooms?

What about adding 22,000 good paying jobs to the workforce?

We were accused of having very bad public relations between 2002 and 2007, but a party’s surrogates are critically important to getting the message out.

In five short months there have been measurable progress in the area of tourism: The Cape Eleuthera project in well underway; The Blue Marlin Resort and Marina in West End is open; the Genting Berhad Resort and Casino in Bimini is just months away from opening and an agreement was just signed to reopen the 503-room Reef Village and the 192 room Lighthouse Point property creating over 1,000 jobs in Freeport. Additionally, the International departure lounge at the Lynden Pindling International Airport is open. How many of these accomplishments are you aware of? Are you sharing this good news with your colleagues and friends? If not, shame on you because that is what a good surrogate does for his or her party.

As I leave tonight, I want each of you to do me a favor. When you greet the Prime Minister and party leader, look him in the eyes and say, “Prime Minister, promise me that you will take a vacation with your beautiful wife for some much needed rest and recreation.”

Since January 2010, the Prime Minister has fought three grueling elections: 2 bye-elections and a general election and he transitioned into governance without taking a break. While this work ethic is impressive, you are only human Mr. Prime Minister and the body could only take so much.
I close by charging you again to get involved in the national affairs of your country; be a strong surrogate for the PLP and I congratulate the newest slate of Executive Officers of the National Progressive Institute. I am confident you will do well.

I am grateful for your invitation and may Almighty God continue to bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Thank you and good night.