Laing’s chances for re-election are now very slim…BIG WIN FOR PLP in Local Gov.’t Elections

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Oswald Brown

OSWALD BROWN WRITES

By OSWALD T. BROWN

The results of the local government elections for the City of Freeport Council have sent an unequivocal message to Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing, Member of Parliament for Marco City, that his chances of being reelected are very slim.

Laing and his supporters campaigned heavily in the constituency for candidates that are known to be supporters of the governing Free National Movement (FNM), but both Marco City seats on the council were won by strong supporters of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

Incumbent Councilmember Kevin Ferguson, chairman of the PLP Marco City branch, was not only the top vote-getter, but his running mate, Solomon “Mr. Speaker” Morley, a vocal supporter of the PLP, finished second to deny incumbent Deputy Chief Councilor Joanna Russell Newton, a known FNM supporter, re-election to the council.

And on Monday Ferguson was elected Chief Councilor by his colleagues to lead the Council for the next three years. He also is the campaign manager for Gregory Moss, the well known lawyer who is the PLP’S candidate for Marco City in the next general election.

Although the Marco City race was the most hotly contested, if any further proof was necessary that the political wind of change in Grand Bahama is blowing strongly in favour of the PLP, Malvina Albury, a well known PLP supporter, garnered the most votes in the Pineridge constituency, finishing well ahead of incumbent FNM supporter William Martinborough, who was elected to the second seat in that constituency.

Even in the High Rock race for the two Freeport City Council seats in that area, which is considered to be an FNM stronghold, there were indications that the FNM has lost some ground politically. Although both seats were won by supporters of the FNM, incumbent Fritz Thompson, one of the two candidates openly supported by the FNM machine, was not re-elected. The leading vote-getter was Chervita Campbell, who clearly owes her success to the strong support she received from outgoing Councilmember April Crowther-Gow. The other candidate backed by the FNM machine, Don Martin, finished second.

A long-time supporter of the FNM, Crowther-Gow has for a long time had her sights set on one day representing High Rock in the House of Assembly. She represented the constituency on the Freeport City Council for three terms for a total of nine years, from 2005 to 2011. For the first six years she was Deputy Chief Councilor and she has also served as president of the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities, the first Bahamian to hold that position. Surely, one would think that with such sterling credentials, as a strong FNM supporter, she would be an ideal candidate for that party in the High Rock constituency, but for some strange reason she does not have the support of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.

If current High Rock MP Kenneth Russell decides to retire, there is widespread speculation that Ingraham would like to nominate former FNM Senator Kay Smith, the current Bahamas Consul General in Atlanta, for either that seat or the Lucaya seat, if it is true that Lucaya MP Neko Grant will not seek re-election, but reports are that FNMs have flatly told Ingraham that they will not support Smith for either constituency.

Ingraham’s next choice for High Rock reportedly was playwright Michael Pintard, but FNMs also rejected him, pointing out that he is a Johnny Come Lately who has no real “roots” in Grand Bahama.

There was a time when Ingraham could have unilaterally decided who would run where and no one would have had the guts to question his choices, but he reportedly has lost considerable clout in Grand Bahama because of his government’s neglect of the island over the past four years.

What was revealed recently by The Nassau Guardian in one of its reports on information contained in U.S. classified diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks claiming that Ingraham placed Grand Bahama’s economy in jeopardy by not renewing the work permit of Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Chairman Hannes Babak was really not news to many residents of Grand Bahama. That matter had been openly discussed in Grand Bahama ever since Ingraham unilaterally made the decision in December of 2009 for selfish and vindictive reasons, with one rumour suggesting that Babak was victimized because of a personnel decision he made that Ingraham did not like.

It is therefore easy to understand why the political tide in Grand Bahama has turned in favour of the PLP when you add to this the fact that the five FNMs who represent constituencies in Grand Bahama – Zhivargo Laing (Marco City), Neko Grant (Lucaya), Kenneth Russell (High Rock), Kwazi Thompson (Pineridge), and Vernae Grant (Eight Mile Rock) – all have remained as silent as deaf mutes as Ingraham has failed to do anything to help revive Grand Bahama’s economy or made decisions that were deleterious to its revival.

Meanwhile, the PLP has made it easy for voters in Grand Bahama to make the right decisions in the next general election by so far nominating an excellent slate of candidates to team up with incumbent PLP representative for West End and Bimini Obie Wilchcombe to make it possible for the PLP to win a minimum of five seats in Grand Bahama. A PLP candidate has not yet been officially announced for High Rock, but it is now almost a certainty Gregory Moss will unquestionably defeat Zhivargo Laing in Marco City; Dr. Michael Darville will have a harder fight against Kwazi Thompson in Pineridge, but he will win by a comfortable margin; Julian Russell will easily defeat Vernae Grant in Eight Mile Rock; and Tanisha Tynes, the PLP’s standard bearer in Lucaya, will beat whomever the FNM selects to replace Neko Grant, if he indeed decides to retire.

17 COMMENTS

    • Don’t feel bad, I going through the same thing. Plenty of my comments are not going through. I didn’t know BP had a problem with me giving my honest opinion on anything. Recently, I gone say some good stuff with I observed about the DNA, after that, they don’t want post no more of my comment.

      • At least BP could tell you, what they want you to discuss on their site, so you would know not to waste your time writing all these things and they are not going to publish it.

  1. No one who came to my door campaigned as a member for any party, they did not tell me if they were FNM, PLP or DNA,neither did I ask. I voted for who I thought would represent my area the best.

  2. If the PLP reps were able to have their supporters come out and vote, why didn’t Newton and the others done so for theirs??? To my understanding, FNMs are not registering as they are upset at their party performance. Others are not interesting in going to the polls. PLPs however are ready. As to Kevin Evans, Minister Laing is too lazy to put up a fight. He didn’t fight in 2007 and he will not put up in 2011/2012. I know and many others know Greg Moss. Those who don’t will get to know him just like many new politicians who wasn’t known made themselves known. As for Eight Mile Rock, it makes no common sense to put Verna Grand back in as Eight Mile Rock is not a strong hold for any party. The fact is who ever got an early start and work hard to the end will win. Marco City will not return Mr. Laing to the House of Assembly.

  3. Its actually desperate to use the local government elections to indicate what will happen during the general election.I consider myself an independent and refused to waste my time by participating. It is reasonable to use the Elizabeth estate by-election but a bit far fetch to use local government election. When they came to my door campaigning I didn’t know whether they were FNM or PLP, when asked, the campaign workers went out of their way to explain neither. Your assumptions need to be reasonable, especially in this generation of non-thinkers.

  4. What i find amazing is had a known FNM supporter won the Government elections for the Freeport Council, the FNM (Free National Mess)would’ve said that this is a ‘clear’ indication of what’s to come !
    With Marco City, the most interesting seat in Freeport, I’m sure Zhivargo Laing and the miscreants that hangs around his office are taking this lost very hard.

  5. what will it take for the FNM supporters to see the last election was very close an between then an now do you think the fnm gain or lost support while the PLP will loose a couple of people the fnm will loose to the DNA and the PLP THEY CHANCE OF WINNING IS VERY SLIM FROM WHAT I FIND OUT THE DNA PICKUP MOST OF THEY SUPPORTERS FROM THE FNM THIS CUT ASS WILL SEND PAPA INTO RETIREMENT..

  6. Mr Brown is guilty of counting his chickens before the eggs have hatched.Does he really believe that the PLP will win five seats in Grand Bahama? I don’t know Venae Grant, but I can’t see the PLP taking that seat.I just can’t.Eight Mile Rock is a stronghold of the FNM.Further, don’t count Zhivargo Laing out just yet.I had recently asked a young man from Marco City if he knows Mr Greg Moss, and he answered no.Few persons in the Marco City constituency knows Gregory Moss.He is an unknown.I believe Mr Laing is going to put up a valiant fight for his seat. As for Lucaya, whether or not Neko Grant runs is a moot point. That constituency is a stronghold of the FNM also. The FNM could field a potcake in that constituency and still come out on top.The constituents from Lucaya are dyed in the wool FNMs.Furthermore, who is Tanisha Tynes anyway? High Rock will go FNM.There’s no question about it. Pineridge could go either way. But Thompson still has the edge.West End will stay put with the PLP.While Mr Brown is entitled to his views, I think he needs to be a little more realistic.I just can’t see the PLP winning five seats in GB.Furthermore,hardly anyone voted in the Local Government election. I had never participated in the process. It’s not interesting to me.The same can be said for most Grand Bahamians.In addition,we don’t need Local Government in GB. We already have the Port Authority. As far as I’m concerned,it’s a complete waste of time.I also suspect that many PLP supporters went out and voted for their political comrades. Now they are using the results as a political gauge.This election could go either way;so don’t count out the FNM just yet.

    • I agree Brown that one should not underestimate his opponent. It is dangerous and a political misstep to do so. But I will say this. Mr. Laing has not in my humble opinion been able to make a sizable impact on the Grand Bahama economy. Even with a seat around the cabinet table he has not proven a worthy advocate of the plight of the people in GB. Yet I suspect that within the next few months he will become Harry Potter and begin conjuring up jobs etc. for the people of his constituency. I just hope that the people of GB are wise and choose whats in their best interest. Its not about the FNM or the PLP but its about are you being represented in the way you deserve. Think beyond party lines and look at the person.

  7. Not one single candidate in Grand Bahama polled more than 400 votes, no one in my house bothered to vote, do not be fooled this is not an indication of the 2012 election results.

    Mr. Brown When our hatred is too bitter it places us below those whom we hate. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host and manifests itself in everything you write! You are a good writer please go back to writing articles that are enjoyable to read!

    • The fact is they were not encouraged to vote FNM! NO matter how much turned out, those who did, did not support the FNM in Grand Bahama!

  8. In all fairness the turn out for the elections were dismal as some polling divisions which have at least 150 ballots cast in the general election only, and barely had 30 votes total. Now, if we treat this election like a poll….then you can argue 1) Only the PLP is energized enough to come out 2) the FNM is lagging behind in the polls.

  9. First of all nobody was interested in the voting for city council. Only pLP’s went hard so they can say the tide is shiftin. We here in Freeport waitin on yall come election. Freeport is and will remain FNM country!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mr Brown get a life u are an old bitter man!!!

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