GB Candidates NO SHOW AT PARTY EVENT
Branville McCartney and his Democratic National Alliance (DNA) announced the names of their three candidates for Grand Bahama in early July of this year. The party’s launch, which was held at the Grand Lucayan Resort, was a smashing success. Many curious Grand Bahamians, including several prominent members of the community, attended the highly anticipated event.
In fact, I understand that the venue was full to capacity. Perhaps as many as a thousand or more were in attendance. Several Bahamian political analysts have argued that the very large attendance at the DNA event might very well be an indication that Branville McCartney’s new political party has captured the imagination of the people of Grand Bahama. Many political observers were anxious to get a glimpse at the three newly minted DNA candidates for Grand Bahama.
The three DNA standard bearers for Grand Bahama are: Roger Rolle (West End and Bimini), Philip Thomas (High Rock) and Osman Johnson (Pine Ridge).Interestingly, no candidates were named for the Marco City, Lucaya and Eight Mile Rock Constituencies. In addition to the three Grand Bahamian candidates who were introduced to the audience that night; six other candidates were introduced. The six other candidates include: Randy Butler (North Andros), Wayne Munroe (Mt Moriah), Karen Davis (Marathon), Shawn Francis (Rum Cay, Cat Island and San Salvador),Dario Terrelli (Blue Hills) and Christopher Mortimer (Sea Breeze).
While I don’t support the DNA party, I must admit, however, that McCartney has done a very good in assembling a cadre of very highly accomplished Bahamians. However, of all the DNA candidates named thus far, perhaps only McCartney and Roscoe Thompson 111 have any experience in government. I think Thompson, who will represent the DNA in South Abaco in 2012, served as a Local Government official. McCartney, of course, served as Minister of State for Immigration in Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham’s cabinet. In addition to serving in the cabinet, McCartney has represented the Bamboo Town Constituency for four-and-a-half years.
I think that the DNA candidates’ lack of experience in government will be their achilles’ heel on Election Day. While some will argue that Sir Lynden’s first cabinet lacked experience in running a government; it must be admitted, however, that The Bahamas of the 1960s was radically different from The Bahamas of the 21st century. Sir Lynden and his cabinet met a grossly underdeveloped and backward society when they took control of the central government on January 10,1967. The Bahamas back then was much easier to govern. Furthermore, crimes such as murder and armed robbery, which have become so common today, were almost unheard of back then. Moreover, I don’t think it is wise to draw comparisons between the first Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration and the DNA party.
McCartney gave a very riveting speech on the night the three candidates for Grand Bahama were introduced. McCartney promised that if the DNA is successful in winning the general election; he will engage in a meaningful dialogue with the principals and stakeholders of the Grand Bahama Port Authority to ”ensure that the Port Agreement of 1955 and its amendments are relevant to the realities, the needs and the current challenges of a modern day Grand Bahama and its citizenry.” The DNA Leader also said that he will dialogue with the locally owned private authorities to lower port taxes with the eye to attracting greater numbers of air and cruise visitors to Grand Bahama. In addition to several proposed initiatives to resuscitate Grand Bahama’s dead economy, the DNA Leader also said that his government would agitate for the construction of a port in Hepburn Town, Eight Mile Rock.
Despite the fact that some Grand Bahamians have dismissed McCartney’s proposals as grandiose and unrealistic; I believe, however, that the DNA Leader’s plans are worth looking into by whichever party wins in 2012. Furthermore, at least McCartney has come up with some ideas on how to fix Grand Bahama’s ailing economy. The two major political parties have yet to state what their future plans are for Grand Bahama and the Port Authority.
McCartney and his DNA candidates have held several town meetings in New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama to inform Bahamians on what their objectives are regarding the economy, crime and education. McCartney also outlined to his Grand Bahamian audience in early July that he intends to diversify the economy. Once again, this is a very good idea. Yet it remains to be seen if the DNA, if it becomes the next government, would be able to follow through with its promise. This was not the first time Bahamians have heard a politician talking about diversifying the economy. All in all, the DNA appears to have a very solid agenda for empowering the masses and stimulating the sagging economy of Grand Bahama.
Several DNA candidates have made it a point to stay in the limelight in order to get the much needed exposure and publicity. Before many of them were ratified by the new political party, they were relatively unknown to most Bahamians. In fact, before the formation of the DNA, I had never heard of Dario Terrelli, Shawn Francis, Karen Davis, Allworth Merlin Pickstock or Nicholas Jacques. Yet with that being said, McCartney has assembled some candidates who are recognizable to the Bahamian public. Candidates like Rodney Moncur, Wayne Munroe, Randy Butler and Sammy Starr are household names. However, the same cannot be said of the three DNA candidates for Grand Bahama.
After their introduction to the Grand Bahamian community on the night of the DNA’s launch in early July, I haven’t heard much from Roger Rolle, Osman Johnson or Philip Thomas lately. Granted, the three DNA standard bearers were featured in a lead story in the July 9 edition of The Freeport News under the caption ‘DNA candidates looking to focus on Grand Bahama’s issues.’
The three candidates spoke about their plans for the constituencies that they will be running in. Other than this Freeport News article and the DNA’s launch on Grand Bahama, which aired on national TV and radio; I haven’t seen or heard from the three candidates in recent months. One is almost tempted to believe that they have fallen off the edge of the planet, with all due respect to the three candidates.
I think that it is crucially important for the three DNA candidates for Grand Bahama to stay in the media spotlight. They should have been on the many radio and TV talk shows in New Providence and Grand Bahama in order to put forth their argument on why the constituents in West End and Bimini, Pine Ridge and High Rock should vote for them. They need to be in the newspapers, especially The Freeport News, on a daily basis; if they want to remain relevant to the Grand Bahamian electorate. If they haven’t already, they should start holding regular town meetings in the constituencies that they are hoping to represent. Publicity is a very valuable asset in politics. Without it, most candidates would be hard-pressed to even hold on to their election deposits.
Furthermore, it is imperative that the DNA standard bearers hold rallies in their respective constituencies. Perhaps McCartney should consider holding a major rally in Grand Bahama in order to showcase his candidates. I would like to hear them articulate their plans before a Grand Bahamian audience. I believe that the three candidates for Grand Bahama desperately need the exposure. It is high time that we Grand Bahamians hear from the DNA candidates on a regular basis. There are many issues in Grand Bahama that need to be addressed.
Freeport, Grand Bahama