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A rally that matters

Published: Apr 20, 2017

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We are certain that the majority of Bahamians are against Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). These five years of governance have been the worst in the country’s history since majority rule.

The PLP’s only hope at retaining power is the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). The DNA took 8.5 percent of the vote in 2012 — its first and only election. Branville McCartney formed the party out of the belief that Bahamians were tired of Christie and then Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Hubert Ingraham. He pledged to be the change agent. His message failed.

McCartney’s party is back and trying again. It can’t win but it can help the PLP. If the anti-PLP vote splits significantly between the DNA and FNM, the PLP will win. As the third party does not have the support to win government or seats in the House of Assembly, a vote for the DNA is really a vote for the PLP to remain in power.

FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has one task at hand: He must convince the vast number of Bahamians who are sick and tired of Christie that they should vote FNM and not be persuaded to waste their votes with the DNA. If Minnis can do that, if he and his team can bring the overwhelming majority that want change to their side, Christie will be sent home for good.

The first mass rallies of election season are tonight. The PLP will be at Arawak Cay; the FNM at R.M. Bailey Park. The PLP’s base will come out in full force. They fear losing and want to show they are still in control. PLPs think they have a divine right to govern The Bahamas — that they are the natural ruling party.

For Minnis and the FNM it’s a different situation. The divisions between he and Loretta Butler-Turner, the former FNM deputy leader, led to a major split in the party. Dissident MPs removed Minnis as leader of the opposition.

Since then Minnis has done well to help bring the party back to fighting shape. He must now show at a major rally that his party still has thousands of enthusiastic supporters.

If the FNM can fill R.M. Bailey Park, just as the PLP will fill its venue, those undecideds who lean anti-government will see a party that looks strong again, a party they can vote for.

Rally crowds mean something for superficial voters. Some just go with momentum rather than being persuaded by policy or something more substantive.

FNMs must help Minnis in this show of force tonight. Get up. Attend. Encourage other FNMs to come out too. The option in this election is simple: Either you want another term of Christie or you will vote him out with the FNM. That’s it.

If Minnis is to win he has to structure his argument as such. It’s more Christie, or the FNM.

It will be a spirited three weeks. It is good that a record number of Bahamians registered. Our government should be chosen by a proper cross section of the electorate.

Right now it appears as if the mood of change is in the air. Bahamians seem ready to end the career of a man who never quite lived up to his potential. We may just be in the final three weeks of Christie’s career as our prime minister.

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