This one name ova!
Finally, the North Abaco by-election is over! It was a long and drawn out campaign, which, at one point seemed endless for many. It is safe to say, that the end result was predictable; that is, the PLP would obtain the North Abaco seat, with Renardo Curry, as their standard bearer.
It was obvious from the outset, that the PLP had the advantage. Their candidate, Curry had been in the trenches campaigning for months in contrast to the other candidates. Moreover, the PLP was now the government and had in their possession the public’s purse, hence the ability to readily assist the North Abaconian constituents; and finally the PLP had the political momentum of winning the recent general election only a few months earlier. At the end of the campaign, Curry had secured 2,367 of the 3,887 votes in the election. Greg Gomez of the FNM received 1,513 votes and Ali McIntosh, of the Constitution Party received a mere 7 votes, (thank goodness for her family support).
Smooth Sailing For The PLP
On face value, this by-election seemed to have gone smoothly for the PLP. Clearly huge amounts of campaign funds were spent. The PLP took advantage of political star power; moving their entire Cabinet to do business to Abaco in the middle of the campaign. Their political machinery was well greased and percolating, as they went full forced against the FNM’s candidate’s creditability. The online blog, bahamaspress.com, published, Gomez’ National Insurance record contributions or lack thereof, (along side other non-political residents); they also published a copy of a resignation letter signed by Gomez which flew in the face of his victimization allegations.
Then there were the character assassination attempts by political juggernauts Alfred Gray and Shane Gibson who battered Gomez’ s trustworthiness; tabling records privy to them, due to their ministerial positions, while on the rally stage. In truth, the FNM’s standard bearer proved to be inadequate and lacked luster to say the least, and the FNM’s campaign strategy of “stop the victimization of the PLP” faulted, as the burden of proving these allegations became overwhelming for them to bring to the fore.
The Soap Opera
The Abaco by-election seemed to be one big soap opera show. With wicked step mothers, crying shame on their sons for siding with the enemy at town hall meetings, evoking the spirit of their dead husbands who apparently died from stress. To candidates drinking from the fountain of forgetfulness, forgetting, everything about themselves saved their name. Then there was the perpetual search of finding the candidate’s jobs that apparently did not exist. Not to mention, accused drug dealers refusing to check in with police authorities because they were too busy campaigning. Then there was the generous love offerings by parishioners tabled as an explanation to unexplained income. Truly, this by-election had a lot of drama, with few, if any substantial community initiatives or issues being addressed. But alas, such is the way of Bahamian politics, and it was clear that issues weren’t important to the North Abaconians as they did not demand that any be addressed.
This election got so dusty, that even the Bahamas Christian Council pleaded with politicians to keep it clean, (at the amusement of many who found it quite entertaining that the Council finally found their voice, when usually they are seemingly mute about their own ineptitude and scandals). Even Prime Minister Christie made comments rebuking, the release of candidate’s personal information for political gain, however, as usual his MPs ignored his reprimand as the onslaught of venomous attacks against the FNM’s candidate continued.
The FNM Drama Begins
Then, as the polls closed, in midst of a rain storm, the crabs came out on top to be the victors. But the election drama did not end there. For as the final count came in, flanked by seatless/former FNM parliamentarians, former leader of the FNM issued out a press release, conceding the by-election. (Did I miss something? Clearly, the good gentleman had forgotten he was no longer the leader of the Opposition or the member for North Abaco), sighs. This lead to an open rebuke by the present leader of the FNM, Dr. Hubert Minnis, who like Prime Minister Christie at an earlier North Abaco rally, had to remind the media that he is the leader of his party. But we all know who the real leaders of the parties are, but no one really likes reality, as fiction is more exciting.
Of course, the open rebuke by Dr. Minnis, did not end without public speculation questioning whether all is well behind the scenes within the FNM party. Strong, detailed criticism denouncing Minnis by FNM strategist/publicist, Sharon Turner on her blog, caused many to question whether Minnis was the right man for the job. And for one short moment there seem to be a rift between Ingraham’s supporters and Minnis’ supporters within the party. Thank goodness, Loretta Butler-Turner was able to do an adequate spin as to the going ons behind the scene; however, the Bahamian public still watches and whispers about their insecurities about the FNM party’s management.
In any event, the PLP won the North Abaco by-election easily. The PLP party had a well organized campaign, not to mention a morally spotless candidate; factors that were clearly left wanting within the FNM. The FNM still grappling with the reality of a general election defeat of May 7th, 2012, the loss of charismatic party chairman in Charles Maynard, and subsequently dealing with the new style of management of its new leader seems to be awkward and slow with coming up with innovative, thought provoking campaign strategy and speaking points. Sadly, for many, the question still lingers, can the FNM win without Hubert Ingraham; subsequently many still work endlessly, thinking of ways to ensure that he returns to the fore. However, like Dr. Hubert Minnis reminded the entire country at a press conference in North Abaco, as the phoenix of Ingraham rise to a blaze of self destruction, this by-election marked the end of the reign of Hubert Ingraham. So deal with it!
– By Cecil Newery