The mood of the electorate
On his popular Love 97.5 FM radio talk show Hard Copy on December 6, Steve McKinney held a mock election with his listening audience. The majority of his callers were evidently from New Providence. About two or three persons called in from Grand Bahama in order to vote. According to the final election results, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) should win the next general election with ease. Interestingly, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) did very well in the mock election exercise. Whereas the PLP polled 102 votes, the DNA came in second with 90 votes. What alarmed me, however, was the pathetic performance of the Free National Movement (FNM). The governing party came in third place with just three measly votes. Judging from the election results, it would appear as if the people of Nassau can’t wait to run the FNM government out of Dodge.
If this mock election tells us anything, it tells us that we will have a new government and a new opposition in 2012. At least this is what McKinney postulated during the broadcast. There are those, however, who would take issue with any mock election that Steve McKinney holds on his radio talk show. McKinney appears to be a supporter of the PLP and a fierce opponent of the FNM. Furthermore, it sounds as if over 95 percent of those who call in to his radio talk show on a regular basis are either rabid supporters of the official opposition PLP or supporters of the DNA party.
It doesn’t appear as if many FNM supporters listen to Steve McKinney’s Hard Copy. That is why it would be very difficult to get an accurate picture of the political atmosphere in the entire country by just following up on McKinney’s mock elections. All that Hard Copy’s election results tell me is that a lot of PLP and DNA supporters are fed up with the Ingraham administration. This doesn’t surprise me at all. After all, the persons who called in to McKinney’s radio talk show to participate in the mock election didn’t support the FNM in 2007 anyway. Therefore, I am not surprised at all that the FNM was pummeled in McKinney’s mock election. We must bear in mind that the Ingraham administration has been routinely scrutinized on Hard Copy. While some of McKinney’s criticisms have been fair, some FNM supporters, however, might argue that some of his assessments of the Ingraham administration have been unfair.
Yet with that being said, FNM supporters must admit that the governing party is in deep trouble in Nassau, notwithstanding their distrust of the host of Hard Copy. What has hurt the governing party is the gross mismanagement of the New Providence Road Improvement Project, the high crime rate that is gripping New Providence, the rising national debt and the lingering recession. Further, many persons in Nassau appear to be holding a deep grudge against the Ingraham administration over the sale of BTC to Cable and Wireless and the granting of Bahamian citizenship to hundreds of Haitians in recent times.
I have heard several political analysts from Nassau say that the governing party will only hold on to four of its 14 seats in New Providence in the 2012 general election. Political clairvoyants are predicting that Brensil Rolle (Garden Hills), Charles Maynard (Golden Isles), Carl Bethel (Sea Breeze), Phenton Neymour (South Beach), Dr. Earl Deveaux (Marathon), Tommy Turnquest (Mount Moriah) and Byran Woodside (Pinewood) will all be defeated at the polls. These political analysts believe that only Brent Symonette (St. Anne’s), Dr. Hubert Minnis (Killarney), Desmond Bannister (Carmichael) and Loretta Butler-Turner (Montagu) of the governing party will be able to stave off their PLP and DNA opponents at the polls. The boundaries commission has proposed the elimination of three constituencies in New Providence for the upcoming general election. There are currently 25 seats in New Providence. After May 2, 2012, however, there will only be 23 seats. As it stands right now, the FNM currently holds 14 of the 25 seats in the capital; five in Grand Bahama; two in Abaco; one in Long Island and Ragged Island; and one in North Eleuthera. The constituencies of Clifton, Kennedy, St. Thomas More, Blue Hills and St. Cecilia will all be cut. The constituencies of Southern Shores, Tall Pines and Nassau Village will be created.
I have heard reports that Leslie Miller will run in Tall Pines. I don’t know if Sidney Collie, the incumbent member of Parliament for the constituency of Blue Hills, will run in 2012. I also don’t know who the FNM government plans to run in Southern Shores and in Nassau Village. I believe, though, that the PLP will win the three new constituencies. If the aforementioned FNM incumbents lose their seats in 2012, then the PLP will form the next government of The Bahamas. It doesn’t matter what happens in Grand Bahama, Abaco or in North Eleuthera. The PLP presently represents 10 constituencies in the capital: Bain and Grants Town, Elizabeth, Englerston, Farm Road and Centreville, Fort Charlotte, Fox Hill, Golden Gates, St. Cecilia, St. Thomas More and Yamacraw.
As was mentioned earlier, the PLP constituencies of St. Cecilia and St. Thomas More will be eliminated. If the PLP is able to retain its hold on eight of the seats that won’t be eliminated by Parliament, and if the opposition wins the three newly created constituencies and is successful in winning the seven FNM constituencies that were mentioned above, then the PLP will have captured 19 seats in New Providence.
Further, there is a strong possibility that the PLP could win Bamboo Town, too. This means that the PLP could very well end up winning either 19 or 20 seats in New Providence. With respect to the Family Island constituencies, there are presently 16 constituencies. Seven of these seats are held by PLP members of Parliament: North Andros and the Berry Islands; Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador; Exuma; MICAL; South Andros; South Eleuthera and West End and Bimini. The number of Family Island seats will be reduced by one to 15. The constituency of Eight Mile Rock will be dropped. Ragged Island has been amalgamated to Exuma and the cays. If the PLP is able to hold onto seven of its Family Island seats, and if the opposition wins 19 seats in the capital, then the PLP will win at least 26 of the 38 seats in the House of Assembly.
– Kevin Evans