Address By
Philip “Brave” Davis
Deputy Leader Elect
51st National General Convention of the Progressive Liberal Party
23 October 2009

Wyndham Hotel Cable Beach Nassau Bahamas

PLP, all the way!
PLP, all the way!
PLP, all the way!
Y’all look good tonight!  Y’all sure you is the PLP?  I thought we were supposed to be dead!  Where is all the fighting that was supposed to going on?  Where is the disunity and animosity that they said would tear us apart?
They don’t know us!
They don’t know who we are?
They don’t know where God has brought us from; and for certain they don’t know what God is taking us to!
For all those that don’t know, let me tell you loud and clear; WE ARE THE PLP!
We are the Party that NEVER loses hope!  We are the Party that will NEVER die because our cause rings true!  We are the Party of the people!
We are the Party that fights for the little fellas through McCullough Corner and the single mother in Pinewood…the single-parent anywhere in the Bahamas!
We are the Party that fights for the family trying to put food on their table, trying to pay their light bills and trying to keep their kids to school!
We are the Party that fights for the young Bahamian professional that strives for a better life and standard of living for themselves and their children.
We are the Party that fights relentlessly to create opportunities for Bahamian entrepreneurship, so that soon and VERY soon, Bahamians can grasp-a-hold of this economy.
We are the Party that fights for the rights of EVERY Bahamian, irrespective of colour, class or creed.  We are the Party for ALL Bahamians!
The very essence of who we are and the purpose for which we were created is the upliftment and advancement of ALL of the Bahamian people.  The PLP was engineered to be the vehicle through which our children and then their children could pursue lives that were laden with more opportunity and happiness.
Session Chairperson, Party Leader Mr. Christie and Mrs. Christie, Deputy Leader, Cynthia “Mother” Pratt National Party Chair Glenys Hanna-Martin and National Chair-elect, stalwarts, convention delegates, my fellow Bahamians, good evening.
I am proud of this Party and I love what it stands for and seeks to represent.  If it were not for this Progressive Liberal Party, I, a poor black boy from Old Bight, Cat Island, whose grand-father, a farmer that could not read or write and whose father left formal education at age 13, could not now stand before you and humbly accept the Deputy Leadership position of this PLP.  I am thankful for the PLP and thank you stalwarts and delegates for the confidence that you have reposed in me.
The fact that I stand here before you as Deputy Leader Elect of the PLP is no accident.  I owe much to my talented and energetic campaign team of young, tenacious Bahamians.  A special thank you goes out to my campaign manager, Andrew Edwards and the dynamic team of Philip McKenzie, Philip Smith, Kelé Isaacs, Sen. Michael Darville, Mabel Gibson, my daughter Philice Albury, my son-in-law Kyle Albury, Tanya Mackey, Karen Johnson, Harry Collie, Phylicia Woods, Ricardo Moncur, Felecia Russell, my coordinators in the various islands and the countless of other persons who volunteered and played their part.   Thank you for your confidence in me.
Despite what you may hear in the market, my campaign consisted primarily of young Bahamians, assisted by seasoned politicians with wise counsel from PLP giants such as Charles Carter and Loftus Roker. Indeed, my team is a model that I am certain will ensure that the Progressive Liberal Party is the Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
It is here that I would like to say to young Bahamians, I am here for you.  I have heard the complaints and please know that I want you to be a part of the PLP.  The Bahamas needs you to get involved in order to change it for the better and I am willing to work with you!

Bahamas, I am a boy that was born in Old Bight.  My parents, though they loved me were not members of the societal elite.  My father worked hard to provide for his family, but my beginnings were humble.  Over the years I have worked tirelessly to provide for my family and advance my country and through such work have achieved a level of success.  This is my story, this is who I am.  To the vendors stationed on the street corners and on the traffic lights, I understand the hustle and know your motivation because I was there.  I have moved to the frontline to make sure that you can achieve all that you wish to achieve, just as I did.  I will do whatever it takes to make sure that all of the opportunities that I have had are there for you and more, this is the story of the PLP!

I would also like to thank the Member of Parliament for West End & Bimini, Mr. Obie Wilchombe and Senator Jerome Fitzgerald for the spirited contest and for most importantly keeping the contest CLEAN.  As I have said over and over again, when the confetti settles, the chorus of the crowd fades and the lights dim, giving way to this convention’s close, we are ALL PLPs.

Finally, I would also like to thank and acknowledge my predecessor, the Honorable Cynthia “Mother” Pratt.  “Mother” Pratt, you have served us with unquestioned distinction.  You have demonstrated a consistent and abiding service and love to your constituents and people.  Pay no attention to your detractors, your place in our Party’s and country’s history is unchallenged, as you are the first female Deputy Prime Minister of the Bahamas.  Your sincerity of heart and purpose is forged unforgettably upon the Bahamian consciousness.  I thank you for your unwavering friendship and support; I will not let you or our Party down.

At this convention all of the candidates vying for the deputy leadership of the Party agreed on a message of change - a dismantling of the normal way of conducting our business and an acceptance of a progressive modus operandi.  Convention, we would do well to remember that there are aspects of our operation that must be revamped and modernized.

PLPs, our work has just begun, but there is nothing that we cannot achieve together.  Together, there is no obstacle too great, challenge too difficult or distance too far.  Together, we are an unstoppable force.
PLPs, remember who we are.  We are the Party that brought about the greatest transformation that this country has ever seen.  We moved the Bahamas from a colony – a farming and fishing village, no less - that was ignored and neglected to a country that is respected and admired.  We created the institutions that underpin the society that has produced so many successes and championed the cause for all!  It was us and we did it because we were supposed to do it.
When our Party was founded it 1953, its original platform stated for all the world to see:
“We reject the principle which is generally accepted that our government exists for the benefit of a privileged few; we pledge to serve the interest of ALL and not the few…
The platform also states:
“The PLP subscribes to the proposition that ALL men are born equal. It is therefore our belief that ALL Bahamians must have the right to live, the right to work, the right to vote, the right to worship as he sees fit, the right to take part in the administration of his government, and with full and equal protection under the existing laws
PLPs, this is who we are, this is what we represent.  We are NOT the Party of the privileged few but of the people and we must never forget it!  We must continuously fight against ALL forms of special interests and ALWAYS fight for Bahamians.
Convention, this is what I stand for and this is what I represent.
During my campaign, I produced a platform that has been widely distributed and given my electoral victory widely approved.  Tonight I accept your mandate.  Signed, sealed and delivered I, Philip Edward “Brave” Davis am yours and ready to serve.  I will move swiftly and work tirelessly with Perry Christie and Bradley Roberts to make sure that the mandate is carried out; hold us accountable.

I pledge to you that in the example lived-out by Arthur Hanna, I will do everything in my power to making sure that we are a government of action and not flowery speeches; it is time to work and it will not be business as usual!

Much has been said about my relationship with our Leader, Perry G. Christie; some think that is improper for former law partners to lead a political party.  To them I say I am uniquely qualified for the job.  I have known and worked with Mr. Christie for over 35 years over.  I know him and he knows and trusts me and because of that, I am able to speak to him frankly and honestly.  Bahamians and PLPs, you can count on me to hold him accountable to the overwhelming mandate that you have given him and I will do so.

I firmly believe that you have placed me in the post of Deputy Leader to ensure that we win the next election.  It is for the same reason that I offered myself.
PLPs, make no mistake about it!  The Bahamas…Bahamians needs us now more than ever!
The Bahamas is moving in the wrong direction!  Education is in crisis!  There is a serious lack of economic activity and the fear of crime is paralyzing our nation!

The problems of this country loom large on the horizon and so while the celebration that will invariably and deservedly follow in the next day or two have their place, we must remember that our mission is to Change the Bahamas!  There is much work to do, but together we can do it, because we have done it before.
My fellow Bahamians, I vow to do my part to ensure a better, more equitable Bahamas for all who are privileged to call these beautiful islands home!  It pains me that violent crime has gotten to the point where we as a people have become desensitized to the commission of heinous murders and crimes against the person in our country.  News reports of the friends of my children, mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers being killed on an almost daily basis are inexplicable.   As a society we must strengthen our resolve and demand that more is done to fight crime.  The reality is that we recorded almost 80 murders last year, a rate that is more 4 times greater than the United States!

We have become a people resigned to living in fear as many of us have lost faith in our Government and our collective ability to combat criminal elements in our society.  The reality is that we presently have a Minister of National Security in a public war of words with the Chairman of his Government’s crime commission and a demoralized police force where the Commissioner of Police and the Police Staff Association are at odds.  All of this infighting while crime is spiraling out of control.  Enough is enough!
My sole objective as the deputy leader of the greatest political force in the Bahamas is to change the Bahamas for the better in the tradition of the PLP!  I therefore offer the following solutions:

1. We ought to review, revise, update, strengthen and publicize the penal code in order to ensure that penalties act as a deterrent and aid in the rehabilitation of offenders.

2. We ought to reinstitute and increase resources to social programs such as Urban Renewal, which was touted by former Commissioner of Police Paul Farquaharson as positively contributing to a decrease in crime in many inner city areas during his tenure.  We ought not to play politics with the safety of our communities and our children.  We need look no further at the community of Bain and Grants Town to see the number of former participants who have died unnecessary violent deaths since the virtual cancellation of the program.

3. We need to establish more rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders as statistics show that many persons in Her Majesty’s Prison were young offenders who have spent their life time mire in our criminal justice system.  In times like these we need to be increasing funding to the National Youth Program as opposed to cutting back.  In a small country like ours every citizen counts and our policies ought to reflect that!

4. It is evident in the decisions of recent hung juries and recent serious accusations against some police officers that many in our country have lost faith and confidence in the Police Force.  Indeed a few bad apples are casting a negative image on the hundreds of decent hardworking officers who take their duty seriously.  Now more than ever we must conduct an exercise to weed out the bad cops and a major public relations exercise to restore confidence in the Police Force.  When a people lose respect for its police force the fabric of law and order in the society is compromised.

5. With great urgency we need to introduce a more scientific approach to fighting crime.  We need to introduce new technologies and discuss innovative strategies.    Our police officers need to be properly equipped and constantly trained and retrained in the newest and best techniques.  Either we invest in the prevention of crime and creating a safe orderly society or we will continue to spend millions of dollars annually on our prisons.  As simple as it may sound, investing in prevention is necessary and we must make that sacrifice.
It is time that we get tough and innovative on crime in this country.  We cannot afford to lose another soul to senseless violence.  Convention, let me say it for you again, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE ANOTHER SOUL TO SENSELESS VIOLENCE.  As our leaders drive around in their government sponsored cars and are protected by their taxpayer-sponsored security detail, the peaceful, serene country that we once new and love is slipping away.

Bahamas, now is the time to march with the Progressive Liberal Party Towards a Secure Future!

The youth of our nation are calling out for the PLP to rescue them from the hands of this uncaring FNM Government.  The interest of my children, your children and the countless talented young Bahamians throughout our archipelago is not a priority of this Government.
Let us look at their priorities.

The FNM decided to spend 6 million dollars according to them, to host a pageant, borrowed 160 Million dollars to pave roads using only two companies.  One of these companies is from Argentina, we can all guess who the other one is!   And yet they can’t sign a piece of paper that would have made it possible for our children to go college!  Do you know how many thousands of college students had their plans in place to go to school and then could not?  This cannot be right!

They took police officers out of the schools and yet everyday there are reports of brutal attacks and serious criminality in our schools.  Our teachers are in fear of their lives and children who genuinely want to learn are being terrorized daily.  This Government is playing politics with the lives of our children!

Education in our country is in a crisis!  An average of D is not acceptable!  We need to come out of denial!  Education is the key to economic empowerment and a secure future!  Yet the present Minister, Carl Bethel and this Government are bankrupt of ideas and education is drowning in troubles.

Minister Bethel if you need help with answers to some of the challenges in Education, all you had to do is ask my brother.  Our children and our country should not be made to suffer another two years before the PLP is returned to Government!

I am serious about moving towards a secure future for our nation’s youth and I put forward the following solutions:

1. As the next Government we must implement an aggressive program to recruit the best and brightest to enter the noble teaching profession, and ensure that teachers are paid what they rightfully deserve.  It is they who lay the foundation for the advancement of this country and economic empowerment.

2. The best teachers must be kept in the classrooms where they are needed most with recognition of their seniority.  It makes no sense for the best teachers to be sitting behind desks pushing paper when our poor country is slipping away.

3. We must be brave enough to bring an end once and for all to Social Promotion which is retarding the education system and limiting the ability of other students to learn.

4. Education must be relevant to the needs of a dynamic and changing economy and workplace.  As such I propose the establishment of mentorship and teaching programs with private sector partners to bring professionals and experts into the classroom to teach and mentor.
5. There must be a rigorous focus on revision of the curriculum in conjunction with the private sector to ensure that our students are prepared to meet the challenges and needs of today.

These suggestions are an indication of the direction we ought to be going if we are serious about the people of this country!  Education is too important to be caught up in party politics!

It is through the tool of education that the PLP will again transform this country!  We owe it to the next generation!

Philip Brave Davis is not a man concerned about highlighting the ineffectiveness and failures of the FNM. Even a blind man can see that the FNM is clueless.  I am concerned about providing a blueprint for the future and in the words of my esteemed colleague Senator Jerome Fitzgerald, The Future is Now!

Bahamians today are starving for solutions, for politicians that care more about them than the trappings of office, that are more concerned about substance and less enamoured over form.  This is our time to step up.  This is our time to once again appeal to the best of our people…to the goodness that I know that is there.  The journey has not ended, the fight is not done, we must work to wipe every tear from every eye.
I am prepared to make the tough decisions and do what is necessary to rescue the Bahamian people from the hell they are catching everyday under this Government.
Bahamas, join us as we take the fight to the streets in every community!  This is time for work!

This is no time for backbiting, infighting, and tearing down what so many have worked so hard to build.  There is too much at stake.  We can ill-afford to lose sight of the fact that ours is a fight for our country. The PLP needs all hands on deck.

If we can come together as one body … as one voice – no one can stop us!

March with us towards a secure future for all Bahamians!  Together, we can change The Bahamas!

God bless you and good night!