Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis claimed yesterday that a recent Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) memo asking its department heads to prepare for the possibility of an early general election is a clear indication that one is being considered.
“There is no doubt that the government has been considering, for quite some time, calling an early election,” he said.
“Now, why they have not called it yet is a question that they should be answering to us because all the tea leaves are there, all the readings are there for an early election. And those readings have come from what they have authored over the last several months.”
The April 29 memo reads: “Be advised that in preparation for the possibility of an early general election, you are directed to provide a listing of all personnel in your purview voting in the advanced poll and forward the same to the base executive officer’s office by Thursday, May 6, 2021.
“Accordingly, for ease of reference, included in the listing should be the name, rank/rate, pay number, telephone contact and voter’s card number of each individual.”
While many have been speculating for months that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is gearing up to call an early election, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said on Tuesday that the memo was nothing out of the ordinary, and said that the public should not read into it.
But Davis disagreed.
“That’s not standard procedure,” he said.
“Standard procedure wouldn’t require you to provide your name for the advanced poll if there’s not going to be an election.
“So, clearly the minister is just obfuscating. They just want to hold to their chest something they think they, for whatever reason, will not let the Bahamian public know.
“But I think we are all grown up and wise enough to look and see what it is all about, that election is in the air.”
In recent months, Minnis shrugged off questions about the possibility of an early election.
Both the Free National Movement (FNM) and PLP have ratified the majority of their candidates for the next election, aired election ads and begun canvassing communities.
In recent weeks, much of the speculation of an early election has been overshadowed by a marked increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.
Davis said yesterday that the recent surge in cases has delayed the PLP’s plans to ratify the rest of its candidates.
“The Candidates Committee has completed its work,” he said.
“It’s just that we have to pull back because ratification requires a congregation of persons and we are not going to congregate persons at this time with the pandemic in the air as it is now.”