May 07, 2021
The Bahamas’ first national election debate with nationwide polling will be held on May 11th at University of The Bahamas (UB) where six young political aspirants will probe seminal issues by responding to a range of previously prepared questions as well as those generated from live focus groups.
This highly anticipated event will be co-moderated by Communications Professional and Bahamas at Sunrise host Anastarcia Palacious and UB adjunct professor Shelby McPhee at the university’s Performing Arts Centre.
The two-hour event will be held in strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols with on-site rapid antigen testing provided by Eden Well.
“Partnering with University of The Bahamas on this venture was of personal and national importance for Eden Well,” said Brianna Eccleston, co-founder and CEO.
“It is critical that we know our Covid-19 status, not only for our own peace of mind but also for the safety and well-being of those we love. Continuous testing helps decrease the spread of this virus. Let's all do our part so that one day soon we can all return to a sense of normalcy.”
The National Election Debate Series Planning Committee has the full support of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Those debate focus groups which are planned represent the efforts of national polling partners: Mobile Assist and Open Current.
“We wanted University of The Bahamas to benefit from the capabilities of our app,” said Donovan Moxey, CEO of Mobile Assist.
“While we are primarily known for our digital payment services, we have a robust polling platform. Our integrated polling feature allows entities such as UB to poll participants anonymously as they gather information that is critical for the development of our country.”
Moxey added: “Those taking the poll may also opt-in to redeem rewards. Our ultimate goal with this exercise is to provide statistical data that will allow all stakeholders to make informed decisions in the best interest of Bahamians.”
Joey Gaskins, senior partner at Open Current said: “At Open Current we pride ourselves on our ability to gather data and distill insights for our clients. This forms the very basis of any strategy or solution we propose because the best decisions are made when we have the facts.
“The partnership with Eyewitness News and University of The Bahamas on this series of national debates made sense for us as a form because we believe that this approach should apply to voting as well. When voters have the facts, they can make the best decisions for themselves, their families and communities.”
Given the groundbreaking nature of the debates, the planning committee welcomes both corporate and civic Bahamas to participate through consultative meetings, sponsorship and public statements of support. The committee is humbled by the support it has received from organizations like the Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG), and the Bahamas Press Club. Growing data firm Intel Cay, has also endorsed the effort and will be sharing its extensive polling database with the committee and support promotion efforts through the publication of existing data on themes presented in the debate series.
“We are proud to have had over 15,000 Bahamians participate in our political, economic and health surveys to date,” said Queswell Ferguson, co-founder of Intel Cay.
“This debate series helps to amplify the voice of the people, and ensure that the plans and policies created are driven by the needs and desires of the Bahamian people. We are proud to contribute to this momentous occasion in the history and evolution of The Bahamas.”
Kristoff Ayala-Strachan, co-founder and director of education and research at Spectrum Politics said: “Since its inception, Spectrum Politics' mission has been to make the political discourse accessible to a broader cross-section of Bahamians. In staying in line with our core values, we're elated to partner with Verizon Media Group and the University of The Bahamas for the first of a series of national debates.”
Spectrum will be providing analysis and act as a voice of the youth as a guest on the preand post- show for the first debate which will feature youth political aspirants: Willinique Wilson (Bahamas Democratic Movement); Cara Ellis (Coalition of Independents); Alexander Kemp (Kingdom Government Movement); Justin Smith (Progressive Liberal Party); Boykin Smith (Democratic National Alliance) and Shaquille Johnson (Bahamas Constitution Party). The national debate will premiere on ILTV Cable channel and BTC Flow 112 as well as live on Facebook at EyeWitnessNewsBahamas at 8pm on May 11.