Whites in the PLP
The Royal Gazette deserves credit for running what's shaping up to be a fascinating series of articles on whites in the PLP. Today's introduction set the scene:
When the Progressive Labour Party was formed in 1963 it was as a party embracing all races. It gained six seats in the House of Assembly and of those, five members were black and one was white. More than 40 years later, all of the public faces of the party – its 22 MPs and five senators – are black. So does the PLP have a white membership? And if so, why is it not more visible and vocal?
It was particularly interesting to read Michael Markham’s experience of being a white member of the PLP.
“There is a faction within the PLP that I believe doesn’t want to have anything to do with white people. They only tolerate me. Within the party I’m accepted by a lot of people but there are some people that don’t accept me within the party because I’m white.”
“Racism in the PLP is a major issue,” he says. “Unless the PLP overcomes the race issue it won’t be able to govern properly in the country.”
One of the reasons Mr. Markham remains a member, however, is because he believes the party can change.
“When we first took government in 1998, one of the political strategies that I was pressing for was to reach out to the white community. One of the reasons that I’m still a member of the PLP is because I still believe there are people who made that promise who are still in that party.”
I’m looking forward to reading the other articles in the series over the coming days.