Sexy races to watch pt.2
By Philip C. Galanis
Last week we reviewed what we believe will be the ‘sexy’ general election races to watch in New Providence, namely Bamboo Town, Montagu and Fort Charlotte.
This week we would like to Consider This…are there any ‘sexy’ or especially thought-provoking campaigns that should be more closely watched in the Family Islands? We can think of several and suggest that those worth watching closely are Long Island, The Exumas and Ragged Island and both Andros seats.
Long Island has traditionally been a seat where men have dominated that island’s politics. If Loretta Butler-Turner, the FNM’s candidate, wins there, she will score a historic achievement because there has never been a female Member of Parliament on Long Island. Whether her claim that her grandmother, Sir Milo Butler’s wife Lady Caroline, is from Long Island will be sufficient to gain her the victory remains to be seen. It is more likely that her party affiliation will play a greater role in her successful bid than any familial connection to the island.
Mario Cartwright possibly represents the DNA’s best chance for winning a seat in the upcoming foray. Mario was born on Long Island, lives there and is a known quantity. His father ran for the PLP on Long Island and whether he is able to succeed where his father did not remains to be seen.
Alex Storr, the PLP’s Long Island standard bearer, is neither from there nor does the PLP have a track record of successfully convincing Long Islanders that a PLP should represent them. He has a challenge ahead for his candidacy to gain sufficient traction in order to prevail.
Mangrove Cay and South Andros
None of the candidates in Mangrove Cay and South Andros provide any real inspiration to the people there. Picewell Forbes, the incumbent PLP Member of Parliament, has not been particularly star-studded in Parliament, and his representation of that constituency during the last five years has been lackluster.
Ronald Bosfield, the FNM’s standard bearer and the winner of the by-election in 1997, will best be remembered during his last outing as a nondescript and uninspiring sleeper.
Whitney Bastian, the independent candidate and one-term Member of Parliament for South Andros, also has considerable challenges to conquer.
Wayde Forbes Ferguson, the DNA candidate, is as generally unknown as the other candidates are uninspiring. None of the candidates are thrilling prospects for the people of the constituency that was long-represented by Sir Lynden, who, despite his notable national contributions and legacy, left little of note for his constituents during his many years as their representative. The race in Mangrove Cay and South Andros will, perhaps more than any other, represent a melee of the mediocre.
North Andros and the Berry Islands
The exceptionally impressive candidates in North Andros are at polar opposites to their colleagues in South Andros. Each of the offerings for the three major parties is remarkable in his own right. Captain Randy Butler (DNA), Dr. Perry Gomez (PLP) and Desmond Bannister (FNM) are all stellar candidates, so impressive that it could cause one to wonder in amazement as to whether, at least in the case of the two major parties, the candidates in North Andros were selected by the same persons who chose their South Andros counterparts.
Given his impressive ministerial performance over the past five years, Desmond Bannister is the candidate to beat. He is perhaps the best candidate that the FNM has ever fielded in that constituency although he has taken a calculated risk of abdicating what would have been a safe seat for him in Carmichael. Desmond Bannister was born in Staniard Creek, grew up there and in Mastic Point and has strong family ties in the constituency, which he hopes will contribute to his success.
Dr. Perry Gomez is a prominent medical doctor who is best known for his sustained efforts in the battle against AIDS in The Bahamas. His roots go deep in the Berry Islands and he also hopes that this fact will not be lost on the voters of North Andros.
Captain Randy Butler, the DNA candidate, is a high profile aviation businessman who heads up SkyBahamas and represents the kind of individual who would bring tremendous business experience to Parliament and governance.
This race will be very interesting to watch, although we think that Desmond Bannister presently has the advantage.
The Exumas and Ragged Island
The PLP’s candidate for The Exumas and Ragged Island, Anthony Moss, who is the parliamentary incumbent, is also lackluster, does not excite the voter and has spent a ‘sleepy’ decade in Parliament. His selection is shrouded in controversy and some of the island’s stalwart PLP supporters still question whether the selection process was open, transparent and democratic. Whether some of the prominent PLP stalwarts on Exuma will support him will be an important factor in how that contest will be played out. George Smith’s views about Moss’ parliamentary performance and his electability are well-known and to what extent the party leadership will attempt to reconcile with Smith’s views and that of other noted PLP supporters on Exuma who disagree with Moss’ candidacy will be revealing.
Phenton Neymour, the current FNM Member of Parliament for South Beach has apparently determined that he has been a failed MP in that constituency and has opted to move to Exuma for fear that he might not be re-elected in South Beach. Notwithstanding this, Neymour is personable, outgoing and confident and the FNM party machinery will be in full gear for his candidacy.
Floyd Armbrister, the DNA’s candidate, was born in Steventon, Exuma and is a bright, talkative, aggressive individual who will likely take votes from disgruntled and disaffected PLPs.
Reginald Smith, the independent candidate, is a former ZNS broadcaster, and is currently a realtor on Exuma. He is smart, affable, and speaks with a rich accent. Born in Georgetown, he is an attractive candidate who promises to raise the standard of debate and speak to the vision that Exuma could play an important role in the development of a modern Bahamas.
The contest in The Exumas and Ragged Island is shaping up to be a race best described as one where it appears that the voters don’t like what they have and are not confident of what they might get. The outcome will depend on whether the candidates can count on party loyalties and how the significant number of workers from Long Island who have moved into the Exuma Cays since the last general election will influence the vote.
The stage has been set and the only truism is that “it ain’t long now”! It will be interesting to see, despite the candidates who have already been presented, whether there will be last minute adjustments in candidates for any number of presently unforeseen reasons. The only critical date for concretizing any uncertainty in that regard is nomination day. Nonetheless, there are many sexy races, and in the words of a fallen master politician, “The world is watching”!
•Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to:firstname.lastname@example.org
Feb 06, 2012