Bain and Grants Town (BGT) is one of the largest constituencies — according to the number of eligible voters, some 5,000 plus voters.
In 2017, BGT provided the first sign that the PLP was in trouble in the communities that are considered fertile ground for the party. When the results for polling division four came in, it was clear that the political newcomer, Travis Robinson of the FNM, would sprint to victory.
Any objective observer would admit that the PLP’s candidate in 2017 was not well. In the PLP’s final rally, news spread that the late B.J. Nottage collapsed on stage at the rally — not a strong, positive message to voters about to head to the polls in a few hours.
The FNM’s message of a “youthful solution” was catchy in communities that felt neglected by the PLP.
The allegations of corruption and kickbacks also provided fertile ground for the message being advanced by Robinson.
Additionally, Robinson’s path to victory was aided by the FNM’s 2012 candidate, John Bostwick, who polled the highest number of votes of any recent candidate fielded by the FNM between 2002-2012.
What can we expect in 2021?
Robinson is the incumbent. His decision to vote against the increase in VAT has earned him much respect in the constituency.
Additionally, his plan to address the education needs of students during COVID-19 were perhaps among the best in the country at the time.
Many in the constituency feel that their lives have not changed. Ask residents of Finlayson Street, Meadow Street and other areas. The much-touted, “Over-the-Hill project,” has not sufficiently brought about the results that it was intended.
While Robinson voted against the increase in VAT, he belongs to the party that implemented this change. Therefore, he can become a political casualty because of his party’s decision.
There are also some folks in BGT, who are disappointed that the incumbent has not shown an independent approach on national issues since being re-appointed as parliamentary secretary.
An analysis of his budget debate presentation was more a speech in support of the prime minister than any sober analysis of the issues confronting the country. For some young folks, the incumbent’s “gung-ho” support for Minnis is a turnoff.
The PLP candidate, Wayde Watson, is from the area.
He does not seem to like the spotlight and has been busy on the ground, we are told, but will it work? There are some influential folks supporting his candidacy, but will it make a difference?
If BGT has a little over 5,000 eligible voters, then some 1,400 voters did not vote in 2017 — a sizable number that can swing the race in anyone’s favor.
Is the PLP candidate inspirational and motivational enough to bring those voters out?
— Vaughn New