As he accused the Free National Movement (FNM) of engaging in a “garbage juice campaign”, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday raised concern over the role Facebook is playing in The Bahamas’ democracy.
The opposition leader said it is clear that the government intends to call an early election “before the high taxes and layoffs in the budget become public”.
“But going early – ahead of their budget of maximum pain – isn’t going to be enough to save them because they don’t have a record to run on, they have a record to run from,” Davis said during a press conference.”
He said the FNM is “massively unpopular” and said one person told him: “Mr. Davis, the FNM is running a garbage juice campaign”.
Davis also pointed to the role social media is playing in the country.
“Many of you are aware of the controversies about the role Facebook plays in elections around the world,” He said.
“In the United States, they are also under fire for allowing white supremacists to spread hate and violence.
“It’s long past time for a public conversation in this country about the role that Facebook is playing in our democracy.
“We have identified at least 11 fake Facebook groups, running paid, active, anti-PLP advertising campaigns from their pages.”
Davis said the PLP will shortly announce the measures it will take with respect to the fake sites.
In recent weeks, ads appeared on Facebook showing photos of several PLP women candidates with tape over their mouths. One of the photos showed Davis’ wife.
Davis accused the FNM of being behind the fake sites.
But FNM Chairman Carl Culmer said campaigns, like the ones described by Davis, are the kind that “we want to get rid of”.
“The FNM, under my watch, never ran those kinds of campaigns,” he told The Nassau Guardian.
“You never saw nothing come out with my signature or the party on it speaking in a manner that Mr. Davis speaks. We don’t engage that kind of campaign nor do we engage in that sort of things that the PLP would engage in.”
Both parties are quickly moving to ratify candidates.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis continues to shrug off speculation that an early election will be called.
Last week, while visiting Grand Bahama, the prime minister was asked when residents on that island can expect to see the ratification of the FNM’s candidates.
Minnis replied, “Oh, I don’t know yet. I don’t even know when’s the election. Election is officially due May 2022.”
He was asked about the possibility of a snap election.
The prime minister replied, “Oh, I haven’t heard it.”