Errol Bethel Denies NDP Symbol

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Errol BethelMr. Errol Bethel
Parliamentary Commissioner
Parliamentary Registration Department
Farrington Road
P.O. Box N-1653
New Providence, Bahamas

January 23, 2010

Re: NDP’s Request for Registration of “Thumbs-Up” as Official Party Symbol

Dear Mr. Bethel,

Subsequent to our meeting at your office on January 6, 2010, when a request was made for you to reconsider the National Development Party’s application to have the “Thumbs-Up” symbol officially recognized as our party’s symbol, I received a return phone call from you on January 12 to advise that you were not prepared to reverse the initial decision communicated in the letter dated October 28, 2008.

You have contended that you believe the symbol we have requested is similar to the Progressive Liberal Party’s symbol, because both are variations of the hand, and that it might therefore cause confusion in the mind of the voter when casting their vote. We have respectfully argued that there is no similarity between a hand showing three fingers and a hand showing a single thumb, and that any suggestion to the contrary indicates that the intelligence of the Bahamian voter is held in extremely low regard.

An analogous example of political party symbols cited was that of the United States, where the Democratic and Republican parties use the donkey and the elephant, respectively. Using your line of reasoning, sir, I stated to you during our meeting that you would also therefore contend that these symbols were too similar, as both are mammals with appendages – one with a trunk and the other a tail. These political symbols have indeed coexisted without controversy or detriment, and as I indicated to you is a testament to the fact that the intelligence of voters in that jurisdiction is not questioned or held in such low regard.

If we expect that our system of democracy is to ever fulfill its full potential, it presupposes that our political system functions under the premise that voters keenly follow and understand the relevant issues, and the respective party positions in relation to these issues. Such positions may at times be nuanced and as such, require far more critical analysis on the part of the voter, than would be required to differentiate between party symbols. If we do not believe that voters can comprehend the various party positions on the issues, are we then also suggesting that we do not expect voters to vote on the issues? As I argued during our meeting, if we are to maximize the potential of our nation – socially, culturally, economically and politically – we must first raise our expectations of our people.

Sir, as you did not place your response to our most recent request in writing, I respectfully ask that you do so at your earliest convenience, in preparation for the upcoming By-Election in the Elizabeth constituency. The Executive Steering Committee of our party has sought legal counsel in this matter, with a view to pursuing judicial review of your decision, should you insist on denying us permission to officially register the “Thumbs-up” as our party’s  official symbol for use on the ballots in the Elizabeth By-Election.

We eagerly await your response.

Sincerely,

S. Andre Rollins, D.M.D.

Chairman, National Development Party Executive Steering Committee



  • Russell Johnson

    Sexy T you are a little …tch who I thought was off this site after I outed you for your attacks on Bahamians.Why dont you suggest that the flyby night party use a match?See,you are now screaming.Stupidity does not give you reason to back and suggest ludricous choices.Why are you so anti PLP?Am glad you cant vote as you might mark the whole ballot paper with an X despite the symbols.

  • coco knut

    I am more concerned that the Parliamentary Commissioner may have done to the register the same thing that he allowed to have happened in 2007. Don’t forget that Supreme Court was very critical of this Parliamentary Commisioner and his office. Because of the irregularities from the last election  he should not have presided over this bye -election, infact he should have been retired in the public’s interest. Now today we have more than 5,000 registered voters in Elizabeth, more than 800 new registrants. I have no confidence in the Parliamentary Registrar and suspect that this list is of new votershas been padded.  I DO NOT TRUST THE VOTER REGISTRATION PROCESS AS LONG AS ERROL bETHEL IS THE PERSON IN CHARGE.

    • Eagle

      The Court was not critcal of Mr. Bethel particularly. It was critical of the registration system, which really leaves alot to be desired.  If all you do is change the Commissioner, we would still have a parliamentary registration system that is riddled with deficiencies.  The problem has always been that not sufficient proof of residency is required for registration.  And the REAL problem is that persons who falsely register are not prosecuted and sent to prison. 

      • coco knut

        eagle, you cannot separate the commissioner from the procedures in his Department. He leads the team ans recommends administrative processes. He is responsible for the process used that was so flawed and which allow fraudulent voting.

        • Eagle

          Yes. And so did every Commissioner before him and every Commissioner after him if the Act isn’t changed.  Let’s be clear, just because the Court made its ruling in 2007/8 doesn’t mean fraud wasn’t taking place in the 1960’s. 

  • pharoah

    The commissioner is just playing it safe. This is much to do about nothing. The NDP needs to just change their symbol. Why must everything be made in to such a fuss?

  • Raah

    Mr. Bethell is an idiot, and should be relived f his duties. The symbol should be approved, and then if the PLP wants to, apply for review, and make its argument. where can I sign up to join the NDP?

  • Sexy T

    The commissioner calling is full of crap. Their a big different between a hand with three finger and a hand with a thumb up. Russell Johnson you two much of a PLP to think like a person with common sense.

  • Russell Johnson

    Am with the Commissioner on this one as PLP voters have beeen told to place their vote in the hand.Possibility of a mistake by voters is too much for the Commissioner to handle.Whoever is in this fly by night party must be prepared to play a clean game.Stop trying to be much like the PLP and get another symbol.

  • media

    Has the NDP confirmed its candidate as yet?

    Bahamas Press/Editor

  • Jayson B.

    This is totally unacceptable; I can’t believe Mr. bethel would make such a decision. Changing the symbol of the NDP right now is something they truly cannot do right now, both because of it’s meaning and impact. If you don’t know the difference between these two symbols, check the party’s name. I guarantee everyone will be able to distinguish P L P and N D P. Everyone knows who the PLP is, but not everyone knows who the NDP is. Instantly, there is a difference.  The Bahamian have EYES Mr. Bethel, and they CAN tell the difference. I’m behind Mr. Rollins all the way.

  • Lin

    ummm…. this is quite retarded.besides the colorations of the two symbols [one the bahamian colors, one a slight variation] and the fact that they’re both hands… how is this a concern?if you’re too stupid to not pay attention AT ALL to the whos and whats of any election you plan on voting in, and you ALSO choose to ignore the OTHER clues on a ballot [you know… like, the NAME OF THE PARTY… or even better, THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE YOU WANT TO VOTE FOR] and choose to vote based on symbols alone [and are too stupid to learn the difference between symbols], then clearly you are too unintelligent to even cast a ballot in the first place and should not be allowed to vote anyway, because you’re not paying ANY attention in the first place to have an opinion that’s any sense anyway.sorry to be blunt, but some people gatta have more sense than this buffoonery.  let them have their symbol!

  • Eagle

    An eloquent argument in support of a trivial issue.  I agree with the Commissioner.  his wouldn’t be fair to the PLP.  Some voters may very well be confused, and a voter’s ignorance is not a good enough reason to deny him the opportunity to vote for the candidate of his choice.  This could be easily resolved by the NDP changing their freakin’ symbol.