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PM announces election moves

The prime minister has announced that he will move to end the current voters’register sometime after June, meaning that only those registered on the new voters’list being compiled will be eligible to vote at the next general election.

Ingraham told the media yesterday at a news conference at the Churchill Building that he intends to give 90 days notice before the old register is closed.

“I’m now thinking of giving that notice sometime during the month of April so that sometime towards the end of June and/or July, I intend to bring the current register to an end,”said Ingraham.”The boundaries commission will be appointed after that.”

Ingraham’s announcement provides further indication that a general election will soon occur.

When asked if the election will be called this year, Ingraham replied,”No man knoweth the hour but one or the date. And he ain’t talking.”

The prime minister has more than a year to call the next election. However, there are indications that election season has already begun.

The Free National Movement(FNM)and the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)have both started holding political rallies. Ingraham has also started making the customary policy announcements by a prime minister, appealing to voters in the public service.

He announced Thursday in the House of Assembly that the National Insurance Board(NIB)prescription drug plan would be expanded to public servants.

The electorate has thus far, however, been slow to register.

Last week, Parliamentary Registrar Errol Bethel toldThe Nassau Guardianthat nearly 10,000 more people were registered in the first five months of the registration process in the run-up to the 2007 general election than registered over the same period in the run-up to the next general election.

Ingraham addressed the media yesterday before he departed to Canada for the annual meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank(IDB)and on a trade mission.

Ingraham will be accompanied by Attorney General John Delaney, Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace and Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing. He will also be accompanied by members of the Bahamas Financial Services Board, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, other government officers and privates sector partners. PLP MP for Elizabeth Ryan Pinder will also be a part of the Bahamian delegation.

Ingraham also told the media that he expects the handover at the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC)to occur sometime on or after April 4.

The House of Assembly Thursday approved two resolutions facilitating the sale of 51 percent of BTC to CWC. The House also passed several bills Monday in connection with the deal.

The Bahamas Investment Authority was to issue the necessary permits yesterday to facilitate the BTC sale, according to Ingraham.

The Senate is scheduled next week to debate the BTC bills and one of the resolutions passed by the House.

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