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January 10 is not the day the PLP captured majority rule

Published: Oct 16, 2013

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Dear Editor,

Leave it to The Bahamas to have a grand ceremony to mark a new national holiday – January 10 – as Majority Rule Day when January 10 is not the day that majority rule in The Bahamas was achieved by the PLP party.

On January 10, 1967, the Bahamas general election turned out to be a tie between the PLP and UBP – 18 seats each.  It was not until Sir Randol Fawkes (Labour Party) and then Sir Alvin Braynen (independent) decided to come over to the PLP’s side that the PLP then gained the majority of the seats in Parliament and hence became the government.

Sir Lynden Pindling was consequently sworn in as prime minister on January 14, 1967.

So yes, while January 10 was the day of the general election, the results were a tie, not a majority win.  An actual majority rule for the PLP was not accomplished until a few days later.  If you’re going to memorialize a specific landmark occurrence in the history of a nation, at least be precise about it and correctly educate the nation accordingly.

And to be precise about history as it pertains to the will of the people via their vote, the Bahamian electorate actually did not usher in majority rule for the PLP until 1968, not 1967.  Pindling held an early general election on April 10, 1968 – just over a year after he was sworn in – and it was in this election where the PLP won the majority of seats at the polls.

– Sharon Turner

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