election

Thursday, October 28, 2021

election

Minnis Sworn in as Opposition Leader

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was officially sworn in on Friday as Leader of the Opposition.

When Parliament meets, Minnis will be joined by other opposition members including St. Anne’s MP Adrian White, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson, East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson and Marco City MP Michael Pintard, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, and St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright.

Following swearing-in ceremony, Minnis said he hopes the government continue with plans to recruit young Bahamians for further education abroad for leadership positions in government entities. Minnis said he will hold the government accountable.

The big picture

Following last week’s General Election, the Minnis led adminstration lost, only winning 7 out of the 39 seats, after battling the fallouts of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Progressive Liberal Party led by former opposition leader, Philip Davis won the 32 seats.

Why it matters

Since the defeat of the Free National Movement, council members met to determine the future leadership of the party. After a vote, the party decided to keep Minnis as leader until November when a convention is held. A new leader will be picked to lead the party forward. Minnis said he will not contest the leadership post.

 

Minnis Stays Until…November

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis will lead the official opposition when Parliament meets again, following a vote to consider a new leader for the Free National Movement after a crushing defeat at the electoral poll.

Party Chairman Carl Culmer said Minnis will stay on as leader until November when the party holds a convention. Minnis will not contest the leadership post at the convention.

The big picture

Nearly 300 members of the council met on Wednesday evening to decide whether or not Minnis will stay on as leader when the House of Assembly meets.

This meeting follows a 17-12 vote by the executive board for Minnis to remain leader of the party until November.

Minnis won his Killarney seat, but his party lost, only retaining 7 seats.

Minnis’ fate has become the topic of discussion since the party’s loss. In 2012, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham resigned his position as FNM leader and as parliamentarian after his party lost the election.

Who are the possible contenders?

Former Cabinet Minister and MP for Marco City Michael Pintard, Former Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson and MP for St Barnabas Shandendon Cartwright all of whom have won their seats, are the favourites to succeed Minnis.

Davis’ Pick for National Security is Worrisome

Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe is among the newly appointed members in Prime Minister Philip Davis’ cabinet and that’s troubling.

His appointment has raised eyebrows since Munroe is a criminal defense lawyer who has gained a reputation for protecting society’s worst.

His career has complicated matters for the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

Munroe and his partner, Jomo Campbell, the new Minister of State for Legal Affairs have defended notorious gang leaders and murderers who terrorize the Bahamian society.

Criminals often obtain the services of Munroe and Campbell while being investigated by police for killings. The outcome is usually an acquittal and they are released to commit other killings. And the pattern continues.

Munroe’s name has become synonymous with the representation of hardened criminals.

He has publicly criticized the police force and its duty to carry out law and order.

However, Davis lauded Munroe at the swearing-in ceremony, saying he will “bring balance and fairness to the way the state interacts with the people.”

Munroe said he will waste no time to push for inquests into police shootings.

“A speedy system benefits not only the families who say something went wrong but officers whose careers may be languished and held up while these matters drag on and that will be a matter I will be discussing,” he told reporters after the ceremony.

Reports are that Munroe’s relationship with the Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle is quite frosty due to his prior stands and criticisms levied at the organization.

In a social media post, some members of the public have expressed concerns regarding the appointment of Munroe as National Security Minister.

Cherneka Brown said, “He helps criminals out of jail and now the minister of national security…?

Brent Gibson said, “Gangsterism, who makes a criminal lawyer, a national security minister?”

Liz Jones said, “He will bring strife and turmoil to the police force and other security forces.”

It will be interesting to see how Munroe carries out his duty as the minister with responsibility for national security, his answers for the plaguing crime problem, and whether or not he can balance his relationship and defense of criminals with the rules and laws that govern the country.

Meet Davis’ Cabinet Members

Eight members of the Cabinet were sworn in on Monday afternoon to serve as ministers in the Davis-led administration.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said they will “deliver the party’s promise of a new day.”

  1. Fred Mitchell–Minister of Foreign Affairs. He is an outspoken member of the PLP and was party chairman. He served in the Perry Christie administration in the same position in 2012. When the PLP lost in 2017, he lost his seat but was appointed PLP senator.
  2. Glennys Hanna-Martin–Minister of Education and Vocational Training. She has been a longtime member of the PLP, having served in the Christie administration in 2012 as Minister of Transport and Aviation. The party lost in 2017, but she retained her seat and was one of four PLPs who returned to the Parliament as the opposition.
  3. Michael Darville–Minister of Health. He was the MP for Pineridge and Minister of Grand Bahama in 2012 in the Christie administration. When his party lost, he became a PLP senator.
  4. Michael Halkitis–Minister of Economic Affairs and Leader of Government Business in the Senate. He lost to the FNM in the 2021 election. He served in the Christie administration as the Minister of State for Finance in 2012.
  5. Clay Sweeting–Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs. He ran against FNM MP Ricky Martin in 2017 and lost. The fisherman was then appointed a PLP senator in the Upper Chamber.
  6. Alfred Sears–Minister of Works and Utilities. He was the Member of Parliament for Fort Charlotte from 2000 to 2012 and served in the Christie administration. He lost his seat to the FNM in 2017. He once served as Minister of Education and as Attorney General in the Christie administration.
  7. Wayne Munroe–Minister of National Security. He is a prominent lawyer. He ran in 2017 for the PLP but lost to the FNM. He was also a former DNA member.
  8. Jomo Campbell–Minister of State for Legal Affairs. He is new to politics and is believed to be a lawyer in Wayne Munroe’s office.

Davis said his Cabinet “will move with urgency, that this moment requires.”

Governor-General C.A Smith asked that the country “set aside differences until next five years.” He added, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Let’s unite and together make a better Bahamas.”

‘Growing Pains’ at the Advance Polls

As voters cast their ballots at the advance polls on Thursday, many news agencies have characterized the process as ‘not smooth.’

   

Voters turned out in large numbers at polling stations, standing in long lines and complaining of the wait time.

Sporadic crowds were seen at some stations as the COVID-19 Task Force sought to ensure order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Former PM Hubert Ingraham said he nor his wife’s name was on the list for the advance poll.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham left the polling station frustrated after he complained that his name was not listed at either of the two polling divisions he attended.

He later returned and was allowed to vote after an apology by Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson.

But Minister of National Security Marvin Dames with responsibility for the Parliamentary Registration Department said he is “not surprise” at the complaints and agitation by some voters due to the increased number of voters including the elderly, allowed to vote at the advance polls.

Senior citizens are allowed to vote early to prevent exposure to the virus and long waits on lines on Election Day.

Dames said, “We would have recently had amendments to the Act. In 2017, we had a central area where advance poll voters were allowed to come and vote. That was when we had some 3,000 voters.  This is like a mini election. We have 30,000 voters.

“You’re going to have your growing pains. This is the first time we are doing this. The growing pains are not significant to really impact people’s right to vote. People are being allowed to exercise their right to vote,” Dames said.

He said his team will “continue to forge forward” and debrief to ensure a smoother running on September 16.

Roberts Threatens to Reveal Damning Details on Bain if Pushed

Former Coalition of Independents member Wellington Roberts said he would reveal damning details about the party if members persist in criticizing his decision to leave and support the Progressive Liberal Party.

“I ain’t tell the full story. If I tell the full story, the wall of Jericho will come crumbling down,” Roberts warned.

When Roberts initially resigned from the COI, he cited health, safety, and financial concerns after receiving the nomination to run for the party in the North Andros and the Berry Island constituency.

However, on Monday, Roberts insisted there were other reasons why he left the party, “that I would not mention at this time.”

Since the move to leave the party, Roberts has received backlash on social media with many calling him a “traitor.”

Roberts said on Monday during a social media live, “I ain’t tell the full story yet. I am begging you and your organization to leave me alone. The slick jeers, the slick comments…you’ll leave me alone.”

He spoke directly to Bain, “Talk to them, because you’ll control them. They are you’ll ‘blackanites,’ ‘COInites,’ ‘Lincolnites.’ Talk to them. Leave me alone. Let sleeping dogs lie. I ain’t tell the full story.”

Why it matters

Roberts was considered an influential member of the third-party COI before his resignation. He garnered a large number of social media followings as he worked with Bain to expose “corruption” that they said are in the governing party and the PLP.

On the day of his resignation, he was seen dressed in a PLP shirt standing with Opposition Leader Philip Davis, while campaigning for the party.

Roberts said he now supports the PLP’s candidate for the North Andros and the Berry Islands Leonardo Lighbourne

No One Shows Up for Moultrie’s ‘Open Parliament’

After House Speaker Halson Moultrie planned another session of ‘open parliament’ ahead of the General Election, no one showed up in Parliament Square.

Moultrie planned a second ‘open parliament’ for Wednesday, after advertising on social media, despite the dissolution of the House of Assembly.

The flyer advertising the ‘open parliament.’

Controversial Moultrie told Eye Witness News yesterday that the intended event is “the opportunity for the common man to come forward, to demand accountability, transparency, good governance, minimize corruption and access information. That is what open Parliament is all about,” he said.

“This open Parliament would be all about allowing the people to put on the record publicly their displeasure with the way this election is being conducted.”

However, no one showed up and people were seen packing up the empty chairs. Moultrie and Independent Centerville MP Reece Chipman were seen waiting for the expected crowd, but to no avail.

Moultrie’s first ‘open parliament’ was held on the same day the House was dissolved and was attended by various third-party members.

It is not known why Moultrie was not able to attract the crowd he did a few weeks ago.

The big picture

Moultrie and Chipman have broken off from the governing party and both are running as independent candidates in the upcoming General Elections.

Since their departure from the Free National Movement, Moultrie and Chipman have become outspoken and protested the policies of the government.

It remains to be seen if voters will stick with them when they cast their ballots.

Ingraham Endorses Sands in Elizabeth and as Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reemerged, this time to endorse Elizabeth MP Duane Sands.

Ingraham appeared in the Elizabeth constituency saying he hopes Sands wins his seat in the upcoming election and possibly becomes prime minister of the Bahamas.

Ingraham said Sands is “a good man.”

A delighted Sands said he was humbled by Ingraham’s endorsement.

Ingraham has not publicly endorsed Prime Minister Hubert Minnis but questioned Minnis’ decision to hold an early election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent weeks, Ingraham and former Prime Minister Perry Christie spoke to the media about the elections after viewing the body of former Governor-General Arthur Hanna.

Both men who seemed to have become ‘best friends’, are not often seen in public, and are often hounded by the media for comments on public discourse when they do appear, differ with Minnis’s decision to hold elections now.

Today, Ingraham rehashed his disapproval.

“There is nothing that can I can say that can explain that better than reality. In the middle of this pandemic, we are having an election, that speaks for itself.”

The relationship between Ingraham and Minnis was believed to have soured after Minnis said in 2017 that “the Ingraham era is over.” The men are not known to have a relationship.

COI Candidate Charged with Inciting Riot and Disorderly Behaviour, Jumped on PLP Bandwagon

The North Andros candidate for the  Coalition of Independence Wellington Roberts dropped his bid for election and jumped ship to join the Progressive Liberal Party.

In a viral post, 36-year-old Roberts is seen dressed in PLP attire while campaigning with the opposition party.

Roberts is a self-proclaimed comedian and a known critic of the Free National Movement and the Progressive Liberal Party and has spoken publicly against the two major political parties.

He jumped to social media fame during a protest Down Town when furloughed Atlantis workers demonstrated for severance pay. Roberts was arrested for inciting unrest and disorderly behavior.

His decision to join forces with the PLP has provoked a response from the COI who confirmed the resignation of Roberts.

“Many people are weak and will sell out their nation for a bowl of porridge,” the party said.

The COI led by Lincoln Bain, is a newly formed party that has branded itself as an advocate of the country’s natural resources, and said, despite Roberts’ resignation, the party will “remain committed to standing with and for Bahamians who are dissatisfied with the state this country is in.”

However, Roberts has since released a short statement on social media claiming his decision was  made “in the best interest of myself, family and country.”

Roberts was in court on Tuesday for trial and maintained a not guilty plea to the charges levied against him. Magistrate Samuel McKinney is set to make a ruling on the matter next month.

(Roberts is seen on the right in featured photo)

FNM Promises to Introduce Legislation to Replace Emergency Order in ‘Bold’ Manifesto

The Free National Movement promises to replace the Emergency Order if the party is re-elected in the next General Election.

Among other promises in its 81-page plan for the country, the party said it will “pass and bring into effect legislation to replace the Emergency Orders.”

The party released its digital Manifesto on Wednesday which its leader Dr Hubert Minnis called “bold, ambitious and comprehensive.”

“It is a well-thought-out plan with policies to grow the economy to create more Bahamian businesses, to reduce crime to invest in youth and to build up family islands and upgrade critical infrastructure.”

The party says it will also establish a coordinating group in the Ministry of Health to oversee the acquisition of therapies and treatments for people suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19.

The pandemic has placed a strain on the country’s healthcare system but the party said it will construct a six-story, 96,000 square-foot tower at the Princess Margaret Hospital to increase capacity and enhance the medical service delivery system.

The party says the multi-story medical, surgical, maternal and child health facility will cost $55 million.

The tower will also provide easy access and flow of patients on the in-patient wards that accommodate primary users of the intensive care, neonatal intensive care units and operating theaters.

The FNM says it will complete the expansion and modernization of the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama by constructing a new four-story tower.

“When you compare our manifesto to what the PLP put out, you will see that what the PLP publish is seriously lacking. In the dead of the night, the PLP released a mere pamphlet they said was their plan.

Minnis said his party will take the Bahamas forward in the 21st century, as it builds on the works of former FNM governments.

“The PLP is bankrupt of ideas and also on so many other levels. Don’t mind the word ‘progressive.’ Don’t mind that word on the PLP’S name. It  is the FNM that is the party of social and economic justice and equality for all of our people.”

You can read more on FNM website.