By ADRIAN GIBSON
BY all accounts, the Boundary Commission’s leaked report reflects nearly surgical alterations to various constituency margins—eliminating a handful of constituencies (with a supposed reduction from 41 to 38 seats in the House of Assembly), extending others and carving out even newer voting blocs. As we enter the final furlong in the run-up to the 2012 general elections, one can already begin to envisage the possible political outcome for certain MPs. Today, based upon the redrawing of the boundaries of certain districts, I’ll look at the probable political fates of Bamboo Town MP and leader of the Democratic National Alliance Branville McCartney, Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder, Golden Isles MP Charles Maynard and St. Thomas More MP Frank Smith.
Quite honestly, relative to the political survival of the aforementioned MPs, their respective constituency associations/parties should immediately seek-out the services of Fealy Demeritte or another undertaker and have them on standby as these gentlemen appear to all be facing political deaths/political burials. Barring any changes, the four MPs mentioned are likely to run into political buzz-saws as the escalation of the 2012 general election campaign gets in full swing.
That said, today we’re gathered here for the announcement of the official political home- going services of Branville McCartney, Ryan Pinder, Charles Maynard and Frank Smith. Whilst the official political obituaries could be written at a later date (post-election), officiating the impending ceremonies will be His Grace, the Right Honourable Hubert Ingraham, Arch-Bishop of the Bahamian Political Diocese—fully regalled in his party’s red vestments—assisted Suffragan-Bishop Brent Symonette (DPM), PLP leader and Farm Road MP Canon Perry Christie—who will administer last rites at the political graveside—and a large contingent of registered voters in the newly reconfigured Bamboo Town, Elizabeth, Golden Isles and St Thomas More constituencies. (I would have no problem with congratulating, publicly and privately—via personal congratulatory cards—those of the four MPs listed who survive this election cycle.)
The official political funeral services will be held at The People’s Electoral Chapel. Organist Melanie Griffin, Yamacraw MP, will lead the choir in opening and closing the ceremonies with a riveting rendition of the hymn ‘It is finished.’ Moreover, as election draweth nigh and the manifestation of this massive political burial ceremony bears down upon those MPs, the official pallbearers are PLP Deputy Leader Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Carmichael MP Desmond Bannister, West End and Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe, Killarney MP Dr Hubert Minnis, Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin and Long Island MP Larry Cartwright.
Political interment will follow on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Cecil Wallace-Whitfield building, which presently houses the Office of the Prime Minister.
As it stands, no one from either major political party has volunteered to serve as political pallbearers for Bran McCartney as they have all decided to politically cremate him this election cycle. That said, Mr McCartney’s political ashes will be sprinkled by Rodney Moncur and Nicholas Jacques. In this instance, I would pay to hear either Mr Ingraham’s or Mr Christie’s eulogy!
The restructured Bamboo Town seat appears to be more PLP-leaning now, particularly since the Boundary Commission’s inclusion of several polling divisions from the traditionally PLP constituency of Kennedy (estimated at some 400-500 voters). Moreover, McCartney is further weakened as the FNM has seemingly strategized and moved traditionally FNM polling divisions to strengthen its candidate’s chances in a newly shaped constituency/South Beach. Although it appears that McCartney’s electoral prospects has been doused, either Mr McCartney is committing Hubert Ingraham-assisted political suicide or he’s enjoying the role of underdog with the expectation of beating the odds!
If Ryan Pinder is dispatched to the political bone yard as the boundaries report seems to suggest, I would miss the political energy of this affable chap, whose shrill, crackling voice and firebrand persona helped to reinvigorate political debates—both in and outside of the House of Assembly—since his election in the 2009 Elizabeth by-election.
Pinder’s political burial ceremony could be realized as his present constituency has seemingly taken on a new configuration and now encompasses traditionally FNM boroughs such as Treasure Cove and Port New Providence whilst traditionally PLP-inclined polling divisions have been stenciled out.
Frank Smith, who sometimes appears to be puffed-up and frothing-at-the-mouth, may have reached his political midnight. It appears that he has been given his political death as certain traditionally PLP districts have been removed from his constituency’s current layout only to be replaced with FNM-leaning areas such as Blair and Paradise Island.
Frankly, the last PLP of any prominence to run in Blair—A D Hanna—was beaten 5 to 1 in that traditionally UBP/FNM area. Including Blair, along with Paradise Island, in the new St Thomas More could be the political death knell for Frank Smith, especially as portions of PLP-inclined Kemp Road have been axed. No doubt, it appears that PM Ingraham has greased Smith’s skids, helping to hasten his skate out of Parliament!
Over the years, it appears that the run-up to a general election usually results in an increasing intake of spirits for the faint-hearted and MPs who fear well-deserved defeat. This election, considering the political funerals/wakes, fainting spells, embarrassing behavior and those privy to fall into drunken stupors, the electorate may need to call AA—Alcoholics Anonymous!
The new political map enlarges the inner city constituencies, creating a strong PLP bloc and extending Englerston as far west as Mount Moriah, whilst extending the Bain Town and Farm Road constituencies to include portions of St Cecilia. According to sources, there may or may not be a seat called St Cecilia as the seat could be completely repositioned.
So, Kenyatta Gibson could possibly win a seat after all—he’s set to challenge Frank Smith in St Thomas More!
Obie Wilchcombe will absorb four of twelve polling divisions from the eliminated Eight Mile Rock (EMR) seat. Apparently, the other polling divisions will be absorbed into the Lucaya seat. If EMR MP Verna Grant challenges Wilchcombe for his seat, she would take a spanking in Grand Bahama.
Moreover, I’m told that the Ragged seat could be detached from my hometown—Long Island—and be appended to the Exuma seat.
In Grand Bahama the PM has seemingly moved to strengthen the unpopular Zhivargo Laing in Marco City by appending traditionally FNM polling divisions to his seat—namely, two from Lucaya and one from High Rock. Further, it appears that Pineridge MP Kwasi Thompson, an easygoing and stellar first-time MP, will be sacrificed as his reconfigured seat now includes the traditionally PLP Hawksbill Subdivision. Additionally, he’s facing a formidable challenger—Dr Michael Darville.
No doubt, there are those who will refer to the new boundary cuts as gerrymandering and yet others who will view it as an electoral undertaking executed from time immemorial and one that perhaps, this time, was drawn up by a schematic, politically-savvy mastermind. The upcoming general election is setting up to be a soap opera……one that has me grinning from ear to ear as the plot thickens!
Published: November 19, 2011—The Tribune’s ‘The Big T’
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