After noting that Prime Minister Perry Christie should begin the transition to new leadership over the next 10 to 12 months, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson yesterday backtracked in a statement issued on his behalf by Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts.
In an interview conducted by National Review last Wednesday and carried yesterday, Johnson said, “I have not been asking anyone to stay on.
“I believe in what he said, that he was a bridge. 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.”
That was Johnson’s response when asked if he is one of the young members of government who Christie said have been asking him to stay on.
Johnson also told National Review that he intends to push for the PLP to take a new direction and insisted now is the time for the new generation leaders to “stand up and speak out”.
Asked whether he thinks it is time for new political leadership in The Bahamas, the minister said, “When I say lead the transition, it is a timing issue and Moses has done his part. You’re looking for this Joshua generation. I think it is time across the board.”
Johnson was also asked in his interview with National Review whether he thinks his colleagues, the so-called new generation leaders, are prepared to show up and speak up as he is urging.
“Yes, we are. Yes, we are. We’re ready,” Johnson said.
He added, “I’m not the one who is going to lead, but I see a platform building for our new leadership. It’s coming. It’s fantastic. It’s coming. You can’t stop it. It’s coming, but it’s not Danny Johnson.”
But Johnson had a changed tone in the statement sent out by Roberts on his behalf.
The statement said, “Reiterating a long held position that the Progressive Liberal Party is the best team to lead and govern this country, Carmichael MP and Youth, Sports and Culture Minister [Dr. Daniel Johnson] denied that he wants Christie gone (as PLP leader and prime minister) as was reported in [the] Nassau Guardian on Monday 25, July 2016.”
“I never say Christie should go,” Johnson said in the statement. “I always say we have the best team to govern this country and he (Prime Minister Christie) is our head coach. A great team led by the best coach wins championships, and I stand by that position.”
The statement added, “On the issue [of] transition, Dr. Johnson confirmed that he stated to the media that the whole country is in transition; the PLP is still the best brand to lead this country in the midst of this transition, and Prime Minister Christie ‘must be calling the plays and leading the transition’.
“This is in no way a call for Mr. Christie to step down as leader but an endorsement of his leadership. To the contrary, said Dr. Johnson, the PLP’s parliamentary team takes its cue from the leader, Prime Minister Christie.
“We are a better party with a sound, politically relevant philosophy and together we must share our vision for the 21st century. Dr. Johnson credits this ‘best team’ to the leadership of Prime Minister Christie.”
In his interview with National Review, Johnson also indicated that he might eventually run for leader.
“If it comes to a situation where we have Minnis and the FNM going to run The Bahamas then Danny Johnson himself will stand up to lead,” he said.
In another statement Roberts sent a week ago, Johnson announced that he is not seeking the nomination again for Carmichael for “personal reasons”.
Johnson later told National Review while he will not run in Carmichael, he may seek the PLP nomination in another constituency.or him to go