Parties in high gear as election season heats up
There is one thing the Progressive Liberal Party and the Free National Movement have in common heading into the campaign season: They each have crafted a message intended to counteract the misleading statements and lies they contend have continued to be told about them by the other side.
In Freeport, Grand Bahama, last night, the PLP took its message to supporters, many of whom continue to feel the rough effects of a weakened economic climate.
Before leaving for Freeport yesterday, PLP deputy leader Philip Brave Davis toldThe Nassau Guardianthat the party is geared up for whenever the prime minister calls the election.
“We are ready,”Davis said.
“If he calls it now we are ready. If he calls it later we would still be ready, even more ready then.”
The party has held several rallies in recent weeks to fire up its base.
The FNM will hold its first rally for the year tonight at Clifford Park.
“A lot of burning issues will be discussed, including the proposal to privatize BTC(Bahamas Telecommunications Company), but also the wonderful infrastructural[works]that are going on, job creation measures, plans for the future growth and development of the economy that are now beginning to take root, the development of the new straw market, the port, all of the social assistance that we have given during these tough times, all of these things will be discussed,”said FNM chairman Carl Bethel outside the party’s Mackey Street headquarters yesterday.
“Within the next year to year and a half the government will have to go back to the people, so it is important on the road towards that eventuality that the government begin the process of a more intense and personal dialogue with the broad masses of the people.
“At the present time this is more of a reporting to the nation and a consultative process for the government. MPs will be there. They will be accessible to the broad masses of the people who wish to speak to them and so we anticipate that it will be a wonderful to and fro.”
Yesterday, FNM supporters fanned out across New Providence handing out fliers promoting the rally and the party’s accomplishments between 1992 and 2002, and 2007 and 2011.
Among many other things, the party said the Ingraham administration increased scholarship grants to students by$6 million; established a National Insurance Unemployment Benefit program and increased the social services budget by$6 million.
But Davis said one concern many people have with the FNM government is that it does not focus on the well being of people
“These are trying times for the Bahamian people and the PLP has a proven record of ensuring that the Bahamian people’s lives are better,”he said.
“In walking in the streets, the ordinary Bahamians would tell you that whenever the PLP is in power the extent of misery is lessened. They are always a little better off when the PLP is in power. Whenever the FNM comes in power, hurt, pain[and]suffering seem to be visited upon the ordinary people. That’s just a fact of life.
“Why that is so, I think it’s because this administration cares more about things than people. They point to things. Things are necessary in the scheme of things but they point to it and put more dominance on doing things than looking after our people.”
In its mini report to the people handed out yesterday, the government pointed to a number of infrastructure projects, in addition to those programs designed to help people in need.
Bethel said that because of its accomplishments in office, the FNM’s base support remains firmly in place.
“The Free National Movement is an established political entity of enormous experience that can count on a significant wellspring of support. The party is well able to get its message out and begin the process toward building toward the next election,”Bethel said.
“The fact is that the Free National Movement’s base is fired up and ready to go…The fact is that the Free National Movement’s base is, if anything, expanding, growing, new persons are coming forward. Younger persons are coming forward and offering their services to the party…I want to assure the Bahamian people that the Free National Movement is strong and is growing stronger.
“We will weather the challenges just as we have weathered this most challenging and tough economy over these past three and a half years. We will rise to whatever challenges that are placed in front of us.”
Davis, meanwhile, indicated the PLP is confident that it will be the choice of a majority of voters whenever the general election is held.
Asked if he is confident the party is sufficiently organized heading into the campaign season, he said,”Don’t ever dismiss the Brave factor. That ensures organization.”