Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five out of six to bid for Elizabeth by-election

Tribune Staff Reporter

FIVE of the six expected parliamentary candidates successfully submitted their nominations yesterday for the Elizabeth by-election -- but United Christian Love Revolution Movement hopeful Godfrey "Pro" Pinder missed out on the race.

Mr Pinder arrived just a minute before the nomination office at Thelma Gibson Primary School in Commonwealth Drive, Elizabeth Estates, closed at noon.

The nomination office opened at 9am with the Free National Movement (FNM) being the first to submit the nomination papers for their candidate, Dr Duane Sands, flanked by his brother Robert "Sandy" Sands, vice president of external affairs for Baha Mar, and government ministers Earl Deveaux, Tommy Turnquest and Dion Foulkes as well as FNM party chairman Carl Bethel. A throng of supporters dressed in bright red FNM t-shirts gathered at the Believers Gospel Chapel on Prince Charles Drive where they danced to music blasting from a nearby party truck decorated with giant posters of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and red, white and blue flags.

They walked in procession before the truck and were the first party to submit their candidate's nomination papers shortly after 10am.

As they left the building, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supporters had gathered outside, more than 100 people wearing yellow PLP t-shirts and waving pom-poms danced to the music blaring from loudspeakers on two trucks parked outside the school gates.

The supporters rushed into the school with candidate Ryan Pinder, who was accompanied by his wife and children, his mother and father, former Malcolm Creek MP Marvin Pinder, and party leader Perry Christie, chairman Bradley Roberts and MPs Brave Davis and Shane Gibson.

As Mr Thompson presented him with a receipt for the $400 fee and nomination forms with a list of five people in the constituency who had nominated him, Mr Pinder jumped up from the table and raised his arm in the air. The crowd of around two dozen supporters in the room cheered as he hugged and kissed his wife, mother and daughter, before giving the peace sign to the cameras and quickly changing it to the PLP "OK" hand signal.


Mr Pinder was greeted by a cheering crowd in the school courtyard and National Development Party (NDP) candidate Andre Rollins -- who had been waiting to submit his nomination before the PLP went in-- asked Mr Pinder if he would engage in a live debate.

Mr Pinder backed away quietly without answering the NDP candidate, who walked into the nomination room with a plastic bag containing 1,600 quarters -- his nomination fee -- which Dr Rollins said represented the 1,600 votes he needs to win the seat.

The fourth candidate to nominate was Bahamas Democratic Movement leader Cassius Stuart who kept his entrance low-key with just 10 supporters wearing purple party t-shirts and calling for change.

Rodney Moncur from the Workers' Party was the final candidate to successfully submit his nomination at around 11am with six supporters at his side. Mr Moncur, sporting sunglasses and a suit, gave a speech outside the school gates slamming the FNM and PLP, and arguing how he is the right man to represent the people of Elizabeth as an activist and supporter of capital punishment.

United Christian Love Revolution Movement leader Godfrey "Pro" Pinder pulled into the school parking lot at 11.59am, and after asking Tribune reporters for directions to the nomination office ran to submit his nomination before the office closed at noon.

Although Mr Thompson kept the office open for Mr Pinder to return to his car and retrieve his nomination papers and his cheque book, he could not accept the personal cheque as legislation requires the payment be made in cash or by certified cheque. The attorney and parliamentary hopeful dressed in a suit, pink shirt and tie, solemnly returned to his car, declining to speak to the press any more than to say he had been in court that morning which was the reason for his delay.

January 30, 2010