Minister of Agriculture V. Alfred Gray yesterday said he supports Prime Minister Perry Christie staying on as leader of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) as Christie is holding the PLP together “because everyone respects his leadership”.
“It does not mean that everyone agrees with everything he says or does,” Gray said.
Gray also said the prime minister is the “best man for the job”, and there is no one in the PLP who could challenge Christie at “any convention and win”.
When asked about Christie’s statement that the PLP would become unstable if he stepped down, Gray said, “That is speculative to say the least.
“But, I do know that the prime minister has the support of the majority, if not all of the [PLP] MPs today.
“Those who are perhaps disgruntled or dissatisfied are such a minority that he could govern without a split.
“It is healthy to disagree you know.
“There are some people who disagree with him.
“There are some people who wish they could lead.
“You have a faction in every party who wish things were different.
“I [can] tell you without fear of intelligent contradiction that there is no one in the PLP who can challenge Christie’s leadership at any convention and win. None. Absolutely none.”
While as a guest of Kiss FM’s “Ed Fields Live” last Monday, Christie was asked why he wants to remain as leader.
He said there are young people who are a part of his government that have asked him to stay on and “every day of my life I recognize that I provide stability”.
“My leadership provides stability to my side,” he said.
“You see what instability means when you look at the opposition, and I daresay that this could happen when I demit office as well.”
Last Thursday, Speaker of the House of Assembly Dr. Kendal Major said he is not one of the young members of government who have asked Christie to remain as leader.
He said he has “strong views” about Christie’s recent statement on why he is going to stay.
PLP Senator Frank Smith and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson also said they are not among the PLPs who Christie said have asked him to stay on to lead the party into another election.
Johnson said Christie should transition off the scene within the next year.
“I believe in what he said, that he was a bridge,” Johnson said.
“I believe he has done such a good job at holding that bridge together, and now I want to see what comes over the bridge.”
But Gray said with a general election fewer than 10 months away it would be “foolish” for anyone to expect the prime minister to leave the party at this stage.
“Any reasonable observer can see and know Mr. Christie will lead the PLP into the next general election,” he said.
“…The PLP will win that election.
“If the prime minister decides he will go after that, a year after that, two years after that and allow for transition, certainly that is a discussion that could be had.
“But, I think it would be very foolish for anyone to expect the prime minister to leave the party at this stage with election less than a year away. I mean, it makes no political sense.”