I’ve always wondered what went wrong with the NDP. This story by Cecil Newry sheds some light on the inner struggles the party experienced and the roles certain individuals played. I found it very enlightening. This is Part 2 of 3, Please Like, Share & Comment. Enjoy.
The NDP Popularity Grows & The First Defection
The small media coverage coupled with a massive social network presence highlighting the NDP’s constituency candidate primary/debate peeked persons interests; consequently national commentary about the party began.
Andre Rollins debated and won over Rashad Amahad to become the NDP’s standard bearer for the Elizabeth by-election.
Though the NDP was not successful at the Elizabeth polls, the public’s interest regarding the party grew. Talks about a united third party, an alternative to the PLP and FNM parties under the NDP banner circulated; and meetings with various third party factions began.
The NDP headquarters was flooded with interested young political upstarts, from the PLP and the FNM, all seeking change and empowerment.Former members of the BDM defected to join the party.
It was around then that the party’s chairman was summoned by the Prime Minister in supposed ‘secret meetings and negotiations’.
Later it was learnt that Rollins was also entertaining meetings with Dame Marguerite Pindling, the first lady of the PLP without the party’s knowledge.
After a number of heated exchanges between Rollins and NDP’s executive committee members, Rollins was asked to step down as Chairman of the party’s steering committee, as clearly his loyalty to the party was conflicted.
In February 2011, Rollins severed ties with the National Development Party, and later formally joined the PLP. Rollins defection from the NDP, resulted in a knee jerk reaction from the various third parties groupings, who did not believe a united third party movement was possible without the NDP’s former chairman.
New Leadership and New Alliances
In April 2010, the Executive Steering Committee elected Renward Wells to be the Party’s Chairman, with Rashad Amahad and Dexter Johnson being co-chairmen.
Under their leadership the party attempted to revitalize the public’s interest in the NDP and to improve the party’s now tarnish brand. The party again embraced its core philosophies of ‘deepening democracy and empowering the Bahamian people’.
By this time, sponsorship from the NDP’s various benefactors dwindled; and the party’s executives were encouraged to close shop and to rejoin the two major political parties.
Various media blitzes were done in order to showcase the party’s viability and the party adopted a ground movement concept as its avenue to grow the party.
In November 2010, the NDP signed an agreement with the Worker’s Party to form a national alliance. The two parties partnered in bringing attention to the need to modernize the bail act and demanded that stiffer penalties be enacted by the government for habitual criminal offenders.
The NDP held a number of street meetings and led the charge with various demonstrations regarding controversial national issues.
Renward Wells was elected leader of the NDP in November 2010, after a national debate and convention; Lindon Nairn was elected deputy leader of the party. The NDP again, seemingly began to build up political steam in spite of its challenges.
However, detractors from the major parties maintained that the party would not make it to the general election. In fact, executives in the party were tipped that the FNM and the PLP machinery planned to dismantle the party, for there can be only two political parties come the 2012 general election: the close results of Elizabeth by-election will not happen again, due to a third party presence.