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The 2012 general election is fast approaching. The decisive factor in the outcome will be that of leadership. This will be a contest between the leadership of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Leader of the Opposition Perry Christie.
The role played by the fledgling Democratic National Alliance will not be fully known until the ballots are counted. Still, the likelihood of the party forming the next government and of its leader being sworn in as prime minister is next to nil.
This is likely to be the last general election contest for the current PLP and FNM leaders as head of their respective parties. The two men have a long history, both personally and in terms of their over three decades on the political stage.
Christie and Ingraham entered frontline politics around the same time. They are longstanding friends having shared a law partnership for a number of years. Both served in the Cabinet of Sir Lynden Pindling. And, both were fired by Sir Lynden because of their disgruntlement over allegations of high-level corruption related to the drug trade and the Pindling administration.
In the 1987 general election, the fired ministers ran as independents and each won his constituency. Their re-election was a rebuke to Sir Lynden and to the PLP machine which sought to crush them politically. Thereafter, their political journeys took them in separate directions.
Ingraham joined the FNM succeeding Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield as the party's Leader. In the 1992 general election he toppled Sir Lynden, his political mentor. In 1997 he again defeated the PLP in a crushing defeat after which Sir Lynden retired from frontline politics. That year, the FNM won every Family Island seat except that of Sir Lynden's in South Andros.
Perry Christie made a different choice. He returned to the PLP eventually succeeding Sir Lynden as leader. In the 2002 general election the PLP crushed the FNM winning every seat in New Providence except Montagu. Christie's PLP was given a huge majority in the House of Assembly.
In 2007, the former law partners met head on in an election contest which was close in terms of the popular vote and relatively close in the number of seats each secured in the lower house. Despite the relative closeness of the vote it was a significant swing away from the majority enjoyed by the Christie-led PLP.
When the erstwhile political allies battled in 2007 for what is considered the ultimate prize in elected politics, Ingraham bested Christie, who became the first one-term prime minister in an independent Bahamas.
Then as now, the paramount issue for voters is that of leadership. Elections are contests of contrast and comparison. In 2002 few voters knew how Christie might perform as prime minister. But an overwhelming majority was willing to give him a chance as the leader of what he described as a "new PLP".
Finally, nearly 60, Christie was given a significant mandate to put into effect his vision for the country, and to redeem a PLP voted out in disgrace a decade earlier. After a single term, a majority of voters rejected the leadership of Christie and his "new PLP" in favor of Ingraham, and the FNM that had been overwhelmingly defeated five years earlier.
In the head-to-head between the two men, most voters demonstrated a preference for the leadership of Hubert Ingraham.
In 2012, leadership will again be the dominant issue. To be sure, issues related to the economy and crime will be of great importance.
But when more independent voters go to the polls, the issues of the day are typically connected to which leader and party they believe will best tackle the issues of concern to them and their families.
The relative love, dislike or lukewarm feelings voters may have towards current leaders plays a role in electoral contests. But in the end, voters make a calculated bet on who they believe will govern best given the choices before them.
Voters will choose which leader and party they best believe can tackle the issues related to the economy and crime. The overwhelming majority of voters have watched the performance of Ingraham and Christie as prime minister.
They will decide which man they believe has the better judgment, who can best lead and discipline their Cabinet, and is best at crisis management. Judgments will be made on the quality of the leadership abilities and the quality of vision of the two men in terms of policies and programs, work ethic and the fulfillment of past manifesto promises.
Some voters will always be more enticed by future promises. But today, those who may decide the election will be looking at past performance as an indicator of how the next head of government will perform in office.
Sir Lynden's memory has been invoked in the lead-up to the general election. It is a mixed memory. There is great regard for his contributions to national development as well as distasteful memories left behind after his 25-year rule.
The two men vying to lead the country will likely be the last of the men who sat in Sir Lynden's Cabinet, the last of his protégées, who will serve as prime minister. While some may recall the memory of Sir Lynden, whether in a positive, negative or mixed manner, it is not his record or legacy that is primarily at stake. History will render that judgment.
But one of the final chapters in the political histories of Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham is soon to be written. The next general election will make an extraordinary difference in how those histories are ultimately judged and written.
The Bahamas is a nation founded and built upon Christian principles. It is therefore expected that this week and in particular during the weekend, a vast majority of Bahamians will commemorate and reflect upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The reality is that the Easter story is one that we can all relate to in our personal and professional lives. The suspension of all rallies and political activities by all political parties in observance of Holy week is welcome news as it suggests a certain level of reverence for religion and spirituality by our political leaders . However, one can't help but wonder whether the candidates for this year's general elections, leaders and aspiring leaders in general appreciate the true cost of leadership with all of its triumphs and trials.
The life of Jesus tells the story of a man who was so sure of his calling from a very early age that even the temptation of being afforded the world before the debut of his ministry could not deter him from His ultimate purpose to save the world. He performed miracles and preached a gospel of repentance during his three and a half year ministry. However, Jesus received mixed reviews during this period and was not always accepted by all, but what is clear is that he bore the mark of a great leader and left behind a legacy for many generations to come.
The triumphant entry
The triumphant entry witnessed Jesus riding into the town of Jerusalem on a colt being greeted to shouts of joy and gladness from the multitudes that were present singing Hosanna unto Him. Leaders and aspiring leaders can learn a thing or two from this event which was well attended by genuine followers, disciples and sycophants. The irony of the Triumphant Entry is that the same crowd that praised Him within a matter of days ridiculed Him and called for his death. However, Jesus was not deterred by this because He was always sure of His calling and denied himself in spite of opposition. Leaders must be mindful of the vast audience that so easily massage their egos and appear to loathe them for such crowds are fluid and allegiances or positions are unpredictable.
Rejected by the system
The system indicted and convicted Jesus for his non-conformity with the status quo and His desire to bring freedom to the human race. The nature of the system is one that is comfortable with business as usual and taking a stand contrary to popular belief(s) is often frowned upon. A leader should be prepared to stand for his beliefs regardless of its contradiction to the general held notion and obvious opposition within the system. True leaders must be willing to be blacklisted for their beliefs to achieve their dreams.
Betrayals and denials
The betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter as clearly documented in the Bible will probably be recited multiple times during the course of this week. It is my hope that leaders, aspiring leaders and Bahamians in general accept the fact that they will have their fair share of Judases and Peters as they journey through life seeking to fulfil their God-given assignments. In the end as is commonly stated, we must be true to ourselves and be willing to walk alone. The betrayal and denial as noted in the preamble to the Easter story speaks to the role of greed, the love of money, loyalty and fear in discipleship and the following of any leader.
As Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He asked His Father to "let this cup pass over me", speaking in relation to having to go to the cross to be crucified and all of the humiliation that came along with that. The thought of the burden of a mission and sacrifices attached to achievement of a vision can be so overwhelming on a leader that he/she tries to abort the dream. However, great leaders persevere; they push through the challenges with the ultimate goal in sight and declare like Jesus did - "Not my Will but Your Will Be Done".
The road to the Crucifixion is a painful, agonizing and lonely one. Jesus bore and carried His cross alone as He journeyed to Calvary to the jeers and insults of the crowd. One cannot help but reflect on the radical shift in the scenery of the Triumphant Entry compared to that of the Crucifixion. It is no news that the people that once applauded your great works are very seldom around to rescue you from going to the cross. In fact, it is not unusual for these persons to be on the other end of the spectrum demeaning your achievements and person. The actual death of Jesus which marks the climax of the tragedy may come in different forms to leaders ranging to character assassinations, persecutions and losses. However, this is inevitable at some points in the life of every leader or aspiring leader.
We celebrate Easter because Jesus rose from the dead. Indeed the darkest of nights must always give way to the rising of the sun. In spite of it all, one thing that we can always be assured of is the fact that if you are willing, there is a resurrection after the crucifixion. Your mindset is transformed in the resurrection and you will become a stronger and better person as a result. Jesus' ability to be true to His ministry and His calling gave birth to the Christian church as we know it today. Consequently, there are millions around the world that follow his teachings and practice. Hence, Jesus left behind a legacy that has spanned over centuries. Indeed, this was the crowning moment for the cross that He had to bear.
Triumphs and trials are a bittersweet mix in leadership. But one must always be mindful that the goals they are seeking to achieve and the eventual legacy that they will leave behind, ultimately supersedes any temporal challenge that one may face. After all no student is greater than his master/teacher and Jesus taught us all how to become great leaders.
Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the years, I've been perhaps the staunchest critic of local politicians because of their seemingly nonchalant approach to the national sports program. In this space, the cry has gone out often for the national sports program to be elevated into the top budget allocations.
Something interesting and, quite frankly, unexpected happened the other day. The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) made the decision to be the major sponsor to bring the performances of our track and field athletes home via radio and television, live, from the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda.
It was an innovative undertaking and a truly pleasant and well-received gesture. This is the height of the political campaign season as the official opposition PLP, the governing Free National Movement (FNM), the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and independents posture their positions.
It could be a great political ploy by the PLP.
Only the opposition leader, Perry Christie, and the rest of the PLP brass can ever speak honestly about that aspect.
What's the bottom line here though?
The truth be told, this sports interest of the PLP is an encouraging sign. It makes one begin to believe that finally the politicians seem to be getting the message.
The PLP joined forces with JCN Channel 14 and Sports Radio 103.5 FM to take Bahamian television watchers and radio listeners close up to the competition in Bermuda.
It was enjoyable.
Hopefully this is a trend that will continue in the future. The political entities focus on many national issues. Thus far, particularly during this campaign spell, they had ignored sports. A political party taking the initiative to boost the national sports picture gives hope that central administrations will take heed.
The political parties spend huge amounts of dollars in attempts to get their messages out to the electorate. The electorate includes a large percentage of voters who are based within the country's sports fraternity. Helping sports will always be a plus.
I've had the occasion to lambast Christie and his party when in governance for not making good on the grand sports infrastructure promise for the Family Islands. It is only fair to give credit when it is due.
Certainly, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), parents and guardians of the 2012 CARIFTA team, the athletes themselves, their supporters and Bahamians in general had a high level of appreciation to be able to see sons and daughters of the soil representing the country.
It's one of those feel-good stories that politicians are rarely deservedly associated with.
This time, though, there ought to be nods of appreciation to the PLP.
It's beyond politics. It's more so satisfaction that politicians have stepped up to the plate to financially aid sports in a special way.
Let's see if the future brings continuity.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
I have a question for the people in the newsroom at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas. Why is it every time the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) issues a press release or it holds a news conference you ensure that you solicit the response of the Free National Movement (FNM) to the press release or the news conference before you run the PLP's release? Normally if you did that it could be considered good journalism.
But pray tell why when the FNM issues a release or it holds a press conference there is never a PLP response issued at the same time? You cannot say it is because you could never get a response from the PLP right away, as I checked and was assured by the PLP that ZNS never calls to get an immediate response to a FNM press release.
People in the ZNS newsroom should be professional. They ought to follow the procedures required to be good journalists. They should never try to be politicians or react to what they think the politicians want.
ZNS be fair, be balanced and give all the parties equal air time when covering the political rallies. The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) should be monitoring; rest assured we are watching.
- Omar T.
The Bahamas is a nation founded and built upon Christian
principles. It is therefore expected that this week and in particular
during the weekend, a vast majority of Bahamians will commemorate and
reflect upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The reality
is that the Easter story is one that we can all relate to in our personal
and professional lives. The suspension of all rallies and political
activities by all political parties in observance of Holy week is welcome
news as it suggests a certain level of reverence for religion and spirituality
by our political leaders . However, one can't help but wonder whether
the candidates for this year's general elections, leaders and aspiring
leaders in general appreciate the true cost of leadership with all of
its triumphs and trials...
Nassau, Bahamas - A
message from The Royal Bahamas Police Force - "Working together for a
safer Bahamas"in light of Easter Weekend:
The Easter Monday Holiday for many residents is a day for family activities which
include picnics at the beach, parties, sailing or cruising around the island and visiting family and friends.
would like to encourage residents that are planning activities at the
beach or at other public areas to be extremely vigilant. Pay close
attention to your surroundings and be alert to suspicious people,
activities and vehicles.
The Free National Movement (FNM) and Democratic National Alliance (DNA) released their manifestos yesterday. The DNA's plan is called Vision 2012 and Beyond and the FNM's is Manifesto 2012.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has not yet released its manifesto.
"It was the DNA's intent from its inception to ensure that important issues facing our nation were brought forth to the Bahamian people and for the collective intelligence of Bahamian people to be given the opportunity to participate in the solutions to our many issues," said DNA Leader Branville McCartney last night at a party town hall meeting at British Colonial Hilton Hotel.
The party said it would amend the constitution to limit the powers of the prime minister; enact legislation to limit the length of service of the prime minister to two terms and enact legislation to create a fixed date for elections.
The DNA also pledges to enact legislation to cause the recall of Members of Parliament if a majority of their constituents are dissatisfied with their performance, and establishing fixed constituencies which can only be changed according to defined criteria.
Additionally, the DNA said it would create and enforce a code of conduct for public officials and establish an office of ombudsman to serve as the watchdog of the government for the people.
On the issue of crime, the DNA pledges to carry out capital punishment and to ensure that bail is not granted to accused murderers. As it relates to the country's fiscal affairs, the party pledged to balance the national budget within five years.
The DNA hopes that its ideas and it being an alternative to the established parties will be enough to convince voters to come to its side.
In front of thousands of FNMs at R.M. Bailey Park, Prime Minister and FNM Leader Hubert Ingraham proudly directed Bahamians to his party's website to examine their manifesto.
"Just as we delivered the greatest overhaul in decades of our criminal justice system, and of our national infrastructure and social security systems, we will deliver more during our next term," he said.
An initial look at the manifesto indicates that, on the crime front, the FNM pledges to increase the strength of the Royal Bahamas Police Force by an additional 250 officers; require the police to spend as much time at nighttime on the streets as they do in the daytime; and to significantly expand Closed Circuit TV coverage as a tool of crime fighting.
The party also said it would continue to expedite the naturalization and/or registration of children born abroad to Bahamian women married to non-Bahamians; continue the regularization of the status of long-term residents and of persons born and raised in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents; and to ensure that work permits are issued only to fill posts that cannot be genuinely filled by suitably qualified Bahamians.
It also pledges to accelerate tax reforms to reduce dependence on border taxes and to broaden the tax base; to establish a Consumer Protection Agency; to continue to make Crown land available to Bahamians at concessionary rates; and to maximize opportunities for Bahamians to become shareholders in profitable businesses, particularly those resulting from the privatization of previously wholly government-owned enterprises.
These are only excerpts from the plans of the DNA and FNM. There is much more being proposed. While rallies and motorcades are fun, we all should familiarize ourselves with what the parties propose to do if elected over the next five years. With these documents being available via the Internet, Bahamians across the country have easy access to their thinking.
The PLP now has to catch up with the FNM and DNA. It does not look good for the official opposition to be last in this effort. The PLP has a large number of supporters and there are many swing voters who are curious about its plan for the next five years. We hope to see it soon.
The upcoming general election reminds me of the final showdown in C.S. Lewis' "The Last Battle" when Aslan assembles together the millions of creatures of Narnia for judgment after Father Time finally awoke from his sleep. What began in "The Magician's Nephew" finally ends in "The Last Battle". The creatures which were rejected by Aslan disappeared into the huge black shadow and were never seen again. The Bahamian electorate will have an opportunity to send to the political grave one of the leaders of the two major political parties. This election will determine this.
The announcement that the 2012 general election would be held on May 7 is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated news in recent times. Provost Marshal Ellison Greenslade announced on Tuesday, April 10 that the House of Assembly was dissolved and that Parliament will reconvene on May 23. Now that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and the governor general have dissolved the House and have set the election date for May 7, this means that the election will be held 27 days after its dissolution.
The prime minister is clearly within the boundary of the constitution. According to the constitution, had Ingraham allowed the House to automatically dissolve on May 22, he would have had 90 days in which to call an election. Ingraham has chosen not to take advantage of this extra time period. However, analysts have been fairly accurate in predicting that the prime minister would name the election date immediately after the Easter holidays.
The 38 candidates of the Free National Movement (FNM), the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and the official opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have sufficient time to get their messages across to the voters of their respective constituencies. Supporters of both opposition parties have been for months now agitating Ingraham to name the election date. Well, now they have gotten their wish.
This election will be the most interesting in the history of the post-majority rule Bahamas, because two of the most interesting politicians will be going at it for the final time in their stellar political careers. Opposition Leader Perry Christie will be facing his former Cabinet and party colleague Ingraham for only the second time as party leader. Both men vied for the prime ministership in 2007. Interestingly, this was the first time Christie had faced off against his former law partner. Ingraham had to contend with the legendary Sir Lynden O. Pindling in 1992 and in 1997. The Delivery Boy, as Sir Lynden called him in 1992, is the only politician in this country that can boast of defeating the Father of the Nation in an election. Neither Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield or Sir Kendal Isaacs were able to do it; not even in a quarter of a century when Pindling ruled The Bahamas. When Christie defeated the FNM in 2002, Tommy Turnquest was the leader-elect of the then governing party heading into that year's electoral contest. There are many who are of the view that the PLP only won that election because Ingraham had taken a backseat to Turnquest and Dion Foulkes, the deputy leader-elect. Perhaps they are right.
Both men (Ingraham and Christie) were proteges of Sir Lynden. In fact both men entered Parliament the same year in 1977. I believe Christie served in the Senate for two years before he was elected representative for Centreville. Interestingly, Ingraham and Christie were fired from the Cabinet in 1984 after speaking out against the alleged corruption within the Pindling regime. In 1987, both ran as independent candidates in their respective constituencies and won. Ingraham was eventually expelled from the PLP. Christie, on the other hand, returned to the proverbial fold of the then governing party in 1990 and was appointed to a Cabinet post by Pindling. Ingraham joined the FNM in April of 1990 and became its leader soon after the death of Sir Cecil.
After leading the then official opposition FNM to a by-election victory in Marco City the same year after becoming its leader, Ingraham led the party to an impressive victory in the 1992 general election. As I mentioned already, Ingraham led the governing party to another election victory in 1997. After another crushing defeat at the hands of his erstwhile political son, Sir Lynden retired from frontline politics. Christie became the new leader of the PLP. That was a post Sir Lynden had held since 1956, after PLP Chairman and de facto Leader Sir Henry Taylor was defeated in that year's electoral contest. Ingraham will attempt to get his fourth non-consecutive term in high office; Christie his second. In any event, it should be their last election; their last political battle.
On May 7, thousands of Bahamians will go to the polls to elect the party they feel is best suited to manage the affairs of this country for the next five years. Will they choose Ingraham and his slate of candidates, or will they choose Christie and his slate of candidates? To be sure, Ingraham has done the best he could despite the Great Recession. In my opinion, no other leader could have fared any better. I believe Ingraham has done a decent job at keeping the country from totally collapsing. He should be given credit for that. What's more, I believe he should be given another term in high office.
However, Christie and his candidates have alleged that the economy has been grossly mismanaged by the prime minister. Will the swing voters buy this argument? The advent of cable TV and the Internet to New Providence and to several Family Islands have exposed Bahamians to the world. They can now watch what is happening on Wall Street and monitor the world economy on Bloomberg TV, CNN, BBC and MSNBC. They are not parochial and myopic as former generations of Bahamians were who lived in the Dark Ages. Informed Bahamians know that the situation in the U.S. has caused our economy to plunge, not the Ingraham administration. To argue that Ingraham has caused the recession would be an insult to the intelligence of these enlightened Bahamians.
In the final analysis, the political fate of both Ingraham and Christie is now in the hands of the Bahamian electorate. Like Aslan who made the decision on who he wanted to keep around in "The Last Battle", Bahamians will make a determination on which political leader they will want to keep around. It is widely speculated that the defeated leader will make his exit from the political stage immediately after the election. May 7 couldn't come soon enough.
- Kevin Evans
The three main political contestants have promised to hold a referendum on gambling for Bahamians in The Bahamas if elected to office.
Most recently, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) unveiled its Vision 2030: A Charter for Governance on Monday night at a mass rally at R.M. Bailey Park. In its plan was the promise to hold a referendum on gambling within its first 100 days in office if it wins the next general election.
The Free National Movement (FNM) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) outlined their intentions in Manifesto 2012 and Vision 2012 and Beyond, respectively. The FNM and DNA released their plans two weeks ago.
The topic of legalizing gambling is one of those hot-button issues that politicians must carefully craft their words around.
Many people feel that the laws on the books governing illegal lotteries cannot be enforced, and as a result it should be legalized.
Numbers houses are now open in their promotions. No longer do you have to go behind closed doors and speak in codes to play the lottery.
Today, the numerous numbers houses use large signs to draw customers. And some local radio and TV stations broadcast the results daily.
Numbers houses are almost as prevalent as churches and bar rooms in Nassau. Customers come and go as they please. And while there is the obligatory police raid, the numbers business flourishes in plain sight of authorities.
It is among the biggest open secrets in the country.
Those who run numbers houses have, for some time, been eager for their operations to be made legal.
Many believe that the people of The Bahamas can benefit greatly from legal gambling through the tax revenue it has the potential generate. It is estimated that anywhere from $30 million upwards can be collected in tax revenue.
Moreover, it may significantly increase the amount of funds made available by the lotteries, as corporate citizens, to a variety of cultural, youth and nonprofit programs.
However, Christian leaders who influence large numbers of congregants strongly oppose the move. This makes the issue a political hot potato that can seriously burn a leader or a party that moves too far out front on such a contentious issue.
Opponents of legal gambling argue that it will result in a range of social problems antithetical to certain Christian and social values.
The Parliament could simply pass a law to make gambling legal for Bahamians. However, the issue is significant enough to be put to a referendum where all voices can be heard. We do not believe that it would be helpful for either side in such a debate to assign poor motives to the other as this is, in a number of ways, a complex issue.
It is worth noting that just about every Caribbean country has a lottery.
The Bahamas has been talking about establishing a lottery for decades. It's high time the question is settled and putting it to the people for a decision to be made will do that. Whatever the outcome, for or against, life will continue.
Much will depend on the precise nature of the question or questions asked in the referendum.
It will also depend upon a fair, open and honest debate. One that is not dragged into unnecessary politics, and one that is not monopolized by any group or groups.
The issue of legalizing lotteries is not a constitutional one and does not have to be put to a referendum, but a properly conducted referendum will be a great lesson in political maturity for the nation.
Interestingly, not only are the main parties agreed on a referendum. We suspect they may also have a shared view on the outcome they would like to see from such a referendum.
By announcing the decision to hold a referendum on the legalization of lotteries, the parties have been transparent about a decision that should be decided in such a special vote.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced yesterday at his party's beach event that he will inform the country today of the election date.
Ingraham said he will first meet with his Cabinet this morning and a statement will be made by 1 p.m. regarding the next election. The prime minister also said he will make a national address at 8 p.m. about his party's term in office and the upcoming election.
"The real bell will ring tomorrow," Ingraham told thousands of Free National Movement (FNM) supporters yesterday at Montagu Beach.
Ingraham said he hopes voters will be satisfied with the performance of his party this term. The FNM led the country through the financial crisis of 2008, which led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. The effects of that recession are still being felt in The Bahamas. The country's unemployment rate remains above 15 percent.
"We did the best we could in very difficult circumstances and we believe that the population will accept that we did as much as was possible," Ingraham said.
In this election the FNM's main challenger is the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Its leader last night at his party's beach event told PLPs not to "slacken up" but to continue to push hard for a victory after Ingraham calls the next general election.
"For us to win, we must demonstrate that we are prepared to work and to work hard," said Christie at the Western Esplanade near Arawak Cay.
Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel said recently the number of registered voters has exceeded 170,000 - the largest voter register in Bahamian history.
In the weeks to come in the official campaign, Ingraham and Christie will push with all they have left to be declared winner on Election Day. The veteran leaders are likely in their last election campaign and neither wants to retire a loser.
Branville McCartney and his Democratic National Alliance (DNA) will do all they can to play spoiler. The DNA is seeking to create a third way in a country that has essentially only welcomed two parties at a time in its independent history.
What Bahamians must remember in the weeks to come is that this is the people's time. After five years of evaluating the government and the opposition, it is time to choose. No party has the right to be in power. They must earn our trust. No leader has the right to lead. He must prove he is good enough to be in charge and make tough decisions in tough times. The country needs strong decisive leadership to help resolve many of the problems that make The Bahamas dysfunctional at this time.
For those who did not get to register and who will not get to vote, it is clear that you never really wanted to. The politicians, public officials, the media and everybody else, urged you to register. Yet, you did not. The ability to vote is a privilege many fight and die for.
Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma has spent much of her life in jail fighting for democracy in her country. Yet we have people here who will not even register to vote. This is sad.
We must take seriously our democratic responsibilities and participate. For those who are registered, read a little more these next few weeks; have debates with friends and family; listen to the politicians. You must be the judge in this contest. Be informed so you can make an informed decision.