It is now voting time
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced yesterday at his party’s beach event that he will inform the country today of the election date.
Ingraham said he will first meet with his Cabinet this morning and a statement will be made by 1 p.m. regarding the next election. The prime minister also said he will make a national address at 8 p.m. about his party’s term in office and the upcoming election.
“The real bell will ring tomorrow,” Ingraham told thousands of Free National Movement (FNM) supporters yesterday at Montagu Beach.
Ingraham said he hopes voters will be satisfied with the performance of his party this term. The FNM led the country through the financial crisis of 2008, which led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. The effects of that recession are still being felt in The Bahamas. The country’s unemployment rate remains above 15 percent.
“We did the best we could in very difficult circumstances and we believe that the population will accept that we did as much as was possible,” Ingraham said.
In this election the FNM’s main challenger is the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). Its leader last night at his party’s beach event told PLPs not to “slacken up” but to continue to push hard for a victory after Ingraham calls the next general election.
“For us to win, we must demonstrate that we are prepared to work and to work hard,” said Christie at the Western Esplanade near Arawak Cay.
Parliamentary Commissioner Errol Bethel said recently the number of registered voters has exceeded 170,000 – the largest voter register in Bahamian history.
In the weeks to come in the official campaign, Ingraham and Christie will push with all they have left to be declared winner on Election Day. The veteran leaders are likely in their last election campaign and neither wants to retire a loser.
Branville McCartney and his Democratic National Alliance (DNA) will do all they can to play spoiler. The DNA is seeking to create a third way in a country that has essentially only welcomed two parties at a time in its independent history.
What Bahamians must remember in the weeks to come is that this is the people’s time. After five years of evaluating the government and the opposition, it is time to choose. No party has the right to be in power. They must earn our trust. No leader has the right to lead. He must prove he is good enough to be in charge and make tough decisions in tough times. The country needs strong decisive leadership to help resolve many of the problems that make The Bahamas dysfunctional at this time.
For those who did not get to register and who will not get to vote, it is clear that you never really wanted to. The politicians, public officials, the media and everybody else, urged you to register. Yet, you did not. The ability to vote is a privilege many fight and die for.
Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma has spent much of her life in jail fighting for democracy in her country. Yet we have people here who will not even register to vote. This is sad.
We must take seriously our democratic responsibilities and participate. For those who are registered, read a little more these next few weeks; have debates with friends and family; listen to the politicians. You must be the judge in this contest. Be informed so you can make an informed decision.
Apr 10, 2012