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Parties craft messages as political season heats up

The major political parties will mount their election campaigns around three core messages they hope will resonate with voters.

Although its election message is still being fine-tuned, Free National Movement Chairman Carl Bethel said the government’s platform will be crafted around the idea that Bahamians can see, touch and feel what the party has done for the country over the last four and a half years.

“We have some ideas knocking,” said Bethel when asked about the FNM’s election slogan.

“I’m sure that our theme will represent the core message of the party, that the Bahamian people can trust the FNM to achieve things for them even in the worst of economic circumstances.”

Bethel was referring to the government’s completed and ongoing infrastructure projects as well as investments in social programs.

He added: “While the whole world seems to be losing its head, we’ve kept ours and positioned The Bahamas to recover from these economic woes that confront us.”

A spokesman for the Official Opposition said the Progressive Liberal Party’s message will center around the concept of putting Bahamians first, highlighting the PLP’s argument that the government cares more about foreign investment than its own citizens.

The PLP also hopes to capitalize on the government’s sale of 51 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to London-based Cable & Wireless Communications back in April of this year, a decision that was made despite criticism from some detractors who wanted the telecommunications company’s majority share holdings to remain in Bahamian hands.

“We are using ‘Believe in The Bahamas’.  That’s the slogan now,” said Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell.

“This government has put Bahamians second, and we have heard from the population that they want Bahamians first and they want us to reaffirm that The Bahamas is preeminent in the world and that we will not take second place to anyone as a nation, as a people.

“That resonates across the board when dealing with the issues of crime, immigration and BTC being the government’s most flagrant violation of the trust of the Bahamian people.”

Mitchell added that the next election will hinge on crime and the economy and scoffed at the idea that voters will be swayed by the notion that they can see and touch what the FNM has done for the country during its term in office.

“I know we can touch, see and feel the potholes on the road and we can touch, see and feel the chill in the air because [many Bahamians] have no electricity,” he said.

He believes that voters will lean towards the PLP because of high levels of crime and unemployment.

“This election turns on the economy and crime,” Mitchell said.  “On those issues, [Prime Minister Hubert] Ingraham has been a hopeless failure.”

Meanwhile, Branville McCartney, leader of the Democratic National Alliance, said his party will use the slogan “Real change for one Bahamas” and campaign on the government’s perceived failure to invest in human resources.

“Any government is supposed to develop infrastructure,” he said.  “That is what governments are put there for.  What we’re talking about is investing in people because [to] the DNA, our greatest resource is human capital.

“We want to invest in people. That helps to build your country. You can build roads and buildings but there is a vast difference when you can build people and empower [people] so they become owners in their country,” the Bamboo Town MP told The Nassau Guardian.

The next election must be called on or by May 2012.

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