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PLP prepares to adjust to boundary changes

Opposition Leader Perry Christie said yesterday the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is conducting an “intensive review” of its slate of candidates after it was revealed that the Boundaries Commission has proposed to eliminate three seats in the House of Assembly.

The Nassau Guardian revealed yesterday that at least four of the proposed 23 constituencies on New Providence will have new names, while at least five existing constituencies will be folded into the redrawn boundaries of constituencies with existing names — leaving 38 constituencies.

“The Boundaries Commission appears to have also mixed up — I call it jumbled up — a lot of constituencies, therefore causing the political parties to truly review… who would be best suited for a particular constituency,” Christie told The Nassau Guardian yesterday outside of the House of Assembly.

“There is a constant review going on, discussions going on with members because at the end of the day there may well be some members who we will say ‘you will have to serve in another role’.

“And we have not made that determination yet, but I can tell you that we have an intensive review gong on.

“It is a critical review because we want to ensure the people who we present to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as our candidates are people who will win the seats that they’re running in.”

The PLP has already ratified the majority of its candidates who will run in the upcoming general election.

But that was done based on how the constituencies are presently constituted.

As previously reported, it is proposed that the Clifton constituency will be no more, with the majority of its polling divisions being folded into Killarney (Constituency 12).

It is also proposed that Kennedy will be eliminated, with its six polling divisions being placed in what will become the newly drawn Bamboo Town constituency and the remainder of the polling divisions going to what will become the Nassau Village constituency.

It has also been proposed that the constituency of St. Thomas More will be no more, with 12 of its polling divisions being folded into what will become Montagu (Constituency 14), and its remaining four polling divisions being folded into what will be redrawn as Farm Road.

Christie said the Free National Movement (FNM) is trying to dismantle PLP strongholds.

Englerston will reportedly have 23 polling divisions.  Last election the maximum was 14 polling divisions, Christie noted.

“If you could think of having a seat that is constituted by an area that requires 23 polling divisions, then you know that there is something strange going on. They are motivated by the idea that they should compress as many PLP votes into the [four] areas of Farm Road, Bain and Grants Town, Englerston and St. Cecelia,” he said.

Christie noted that the work of the commission is still underway.

He said PLP Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis is still working to have some changes made to the current proposals.  Davis is the Official Opposition’s representative on the commission.

“It’s a work in progress.  He (Davis) still has before him the possibility of changes that may fall in line for whatever he is discussing with them,” Christie said.

In the meantime, Christie added that the PLP is preparing for any eventuality.

“I can tell you that when those who drafted the boundaries thought they were placing the PLPs in great trouble, I have seen great acts of courage where people have made a determination that they will win notwithstanding the changes and that is what has been characteristic about this.

“We are deeply motivated and we are driven by the understanding that we should prepare to be the next Government of The Bahamas.”

In 2002 when the Free National Movement administration drew the boundaries, Christie and the PLP won the general election with a strong mandate.

Davis said yesterday the commission hopes to have a report ready by the end of November.

Asked if he expects any further changes, Davis said he could not be sure.

“The one thing that has been communicated to me is that there will be 38 seats that the government of The Bahamas has vetted. [They are determined] to reduce the seats of Parliament to 38 and that’s entrenched. That is their position,” Davis said.

The Constitution of The Bahamas requires a minimum of 38 seats in the House of Assembly.

The commission will meet again tomorrow.

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