Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday insisted that speculation about an early general election being called is just that, and indicated that the election will not occur before the date it is legally due.
“The election is not due until May 2022, so they can talk whatever they want; that is when it is due,” Minnis said.
When asked whether he is concerned about political scandals affecting his standing in the election, the prime minister replied, “I think the people know exactly what we are doing. The people know our hearts. The people know the challenges we faced in terms of [Hurricane] Irma when we first came in.
“We were challenged with Hurricane Irma. We were the first government to embark on an air evacuation from the south to ensure that there were no deaths during that hurricane and, in spite of that, our economic program…continued to move forward.
“Then, we were challenged with [Hurricane] Dorian and, in spite of that, we continue to move forward. And now, we’re plagued with COVID, and the entire world is plagued with COVID and in spite of that, we continue to focus our concentration on building a better Bahamas and preparing The Bahamas for the future.”
The Minnis administration has been embroiled in several scandals since assuming office in May 2017, thus leading the opposition to call for the resignation of members of the Cabinet.
In February 2019, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis called for the resignations of National Security Minister Marvin Dames and Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands following the acquittal of former PLP Senator Frank Smith on extortion and bribery charges.
In her ruling on the case, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt decried the “egregious” conduct of both ministers.
Noting Ferguson-Pratt’s decision, Davis said, “…I am reinforced in my previously expressed view that on two levels we have a problem with the administration of justice. In this particular case, we have the conduct and the role of the minister for police and the minister for health, which are under scrutiny. Additionally, and more generally, there is the question of the administration of justice.”
The resignation calls were dismissed at the time.
However, Sands resigned in May 2020 after The Nassau Guardian revealed that permanent residents were allowed to enter the country and quarantine in their home during a strict border closure that has left Bahamian citizens stranded abroad.
Minnis said protocol was breached when the residents were permitted to land and quarantine at home.
Sands accepted responsibility for the breach.
Most recently, Davis and other members of the PLP called for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest to resign over accusations made against him by two companies alleging his involvement in a reported $20 million-plus fraud scheme.
The prime minister told reporters yesterday that Cabinet is “deliberating” on the matter.
Earlier this year, Minnis launched his bid for re-election at an event where he touted his record in office, lashed critics and declared that the victory train is officially on a roll.
“FNMs, will you join the victory train?” Minnis asked scores of supporters at Edmund Moxey Park on January 22.
“Will you board the victory train? The victory train will not stop until 2022, when we disembark to be sworn in at Government House.”
The last general election was held on May 10, 2017.
The Free National Movement (FNM) unseated the ruling PLP.
Prime Minister Perry Christie lost his seat in the House of Assembly after serving as Centreville MP for eight consecutive terms.
The constitution requires that an election be held at least every five years.