Candidates: PLP has made mistakes, but still deserves power
Progressive Labour Party candidates last night called on their supporters to keep faith with their political family in spite of heavy criticism.
Devonshire North Central's Glenn Blakeney and Vance Campbell of Smith's West both conceded the PLP had made mistakes as they spoke at a town-hall meeting at Elliott Primary School in Devonshire.
But both said the party is committed to continue moving the Island forward and engaging with the general public.
At a meeting which attracted about 100 people, the theme of the PLP family was repeated throughout, with Mr Blakeney saying: “I'm thankful to my family, who are not a perfect family, but we are still a family.”
Meanwhile Devonshire South Central hopeful Anthony Richardson argued the PLP is the only party with true values — claiming the One Bermuda Alliance had only formed because the United Bermuda Party and Bermuda Democratic Alliance realised they couldn't win an election individually.
In a question-and-answer session, one audience member said he had supported the PLP since he was a young boy, but his belief had wavered in recent years.
He said he was sufficiently impressed with Mr Campbell to back him on December 17, but asked what the PLP was doing to secure votes from others who may be on the fence.
Mr Blakeney, the Families Minister, responded: “There's no political party anywhere on the planet that gets it right every time.
“But the PLP has been committed, notwithstanding making mistakes, to keep moving forward, and we keep engaging.”
Mr Campbell told the voter: “I was in your position not that long ago — disillusioned with the PLP.
“What's the PLP? Not Alaska Hall. The PLP is everyone here.
“Yes, we have made mistakes. Yes, those who oppose us have tried to exploit those mistakes.”
Noting the OBA has complained the PLP should have saved money for a rainy day, Mr Campbell argued the PLP “noticed it was already raining”.
He went on: “If I have to change something, I will change it from within.”
Mr Campbell said the PLP is taking its message directly to the young people, as it has learned they are not likely to attend events such as town hall meetings.
Mr Richardson made reference to the UBP's so-called secret plan, and said: “If you are going to vote for the OBA, understand that fundamentally it's a deception.”
He then referred to the 2010 Warwick South Central by-election, which the PLP won comfortably after the BDA and UBP split the Opposition vote.
Those two parties, according to Mr Richardson, had concluded: “We are going to get together now because we can't win otherwise.”
He added: “That's why you should vote for the PLP.”
Mr Richardson also said while the PLP has been criticised for spending large amounts of money, Bermuda has greatly benefited from its investment in infrastructure.
Economy Minister Patrice Minors, the Smith's North candidate, responded to an audience member's question about recruiting young supporters.
Mrs Minors walked into the crowd and picked out a young girl brought along by an adult, saying: “She will sit here playing her iPad, but she is listening, she is absorbing.
“We need to expose our young people. We are not saying brainwash them — expose them to what we stand for.
“So when they get older they have an understanding, they can have that conversation with their peers as to what the PLP stands for.”
Neville Tyrrell, the candidate for Devonshire East, complained party members have been dubbed Kool-Aid drinkers and sheep following blindly.
“Most recently I hear they say we are uncaring towards our people who need us the most,” he said.
“I guess they haven't come to grips with FutureCare, Child Care, rental geared to income, those sorts of things.
“I have come to the conclusion that all that name calling — call me a name, you are calling all of us a name.
“Let them make the noise. Don't get caught up in it.”
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