|The end of the long election|
Published: Sep 19, 2012
The suspense is over. The North Abaco by-election will be held on October 15 and nomination day is set for September 26.
Hubert Ingraham held the Abaco seat for 35 years. He retired on August 31. Ingraham was a young member of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) when he won the seat for the first time in 1977. He rose to being chairman of the PLP and a Cabinet minister before being kicked out of that party and joining the Free National Movement (FNM).
He took a party used to losing to three governments. A loss on May 7 began the end of the Ingraham era. It also began the end of an unusually long election cycle.
The 2012 election was an extension of the 2007 vote. Then Ingraham beat Perry Christie, sending the prime minister into opposition. Christie endured the humiliation of being back to opposing. He also endured many taunts from Ingraham and the new governing side.
His perseverance paid off. Christie is again prime minister. He now has the resources of the government to help him fight this last chapter of the fight between his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and the Ingraham-affiliated FNM.
In one statement, responding to reporters yesterday, Christie let the people of North Abaco know what the stakes are when they vote in a few weeks.
“We’re going to do our very best to ensure that the people of the constituency know that they have an opportunity to enable their man, Renardo Curry, to be elected and be in a position to cause things to happen for them in the next five years in a more meaningful way than if they were to elect the opposition [candidate],” he said.
He added: “The fact of the matter is we are the government of The Bahamas, we will continue to be the government and we will continue, notwithstanding any decision of the people of Abaco, to ensure that Abaco is taken care of properly.”
The first paragraph is what is the reality. You are with us, or not. This is the pressure governing parties put on constituencies when by-elections arise. This declaration becomes even more acute when Family Island constituencies are involved.
When the central government in New Providence turns its back on you, islands suffer desperately for even the most basic attention. Roads go unpaved. The power supply is inadequate. Potable water comes and goes.
Curry, the PLP’s candidate, is up against Greg Gomez of the FNM. Abaconians will be hearing quite a bit about the meaning of this vote in the weeks to come. PLPs want to wipe the memory of Ingraham away from the consciousness of Bahamians. There would be no better war trophy for the PLP than his seat.
Abaconians should not give in to intimidation, however. This is a democracy and people should feel comfortable to vote for the person and party they think best represent their interests.
An unconcerned candidate affiliated with the governing side will not lobby for Abaco. Simply being with the party in charge is not a guarantee of quality representation.
When the vote is all over, this long election cycle will be over. We will then begin to finally look beyond the Ingraham-Christie era. Who will be our next set of leaders? Few in the current Parliament seem up to accomplishing what these two men have. But, who knows, in the years to come some might surprise us.