Ever since Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis rung the proverbial election bell last week, readers have bombarded me with questions about who I think will win next month’s general election.
Last week’s announcement of a snap election caught many Bahamians off guard as they were not prepared to head to the polls until next May. Now, with the clock quickly winding down on the September 16th election, many are curious as to who will emerge victorious.
Political pundits are pontificating as we speak, about which party they feel will take the reins following September’s vote. The ruling party has already conducted its own internal poll.
Personally, I have avoided making predictions for two reasons. One, I’m no Allan Lichtman, the American historian who has correctly predicted every US presidential election since 1984. And two, I really wanted to give it some serious thought. There’s nothing more embarrassing than making a public prediction only to have it be wrong.
No one takes you seriously after that, and after watching the returns of the 2017 General Election and seeing Prime Minister, Perry Christie lose his constituency seat of 40 years to a political newcomer, I knew that anything is liable to happen on election night.
Despite my initial reticence, I will offer my prediction.
A Closer Look At Who Is In This Bahamas Election Race
Let’s look at the options.
Voters will be asked to choose from the governing Free National Movement (FNM), the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), the Coalition of Independents, the Bahamas Constitution Party and the Bahamas Democratic Movement (BDM).
We’re not short on options. That’s a good thing. But, sadly, next month’s election will be a two-party competition. I think most people would agree on that. Bahamians have historically complained of being tired of the two-party system, but their voting habits suggest otherwise.
In our last election, we saw that while third parties do manage to secure some votes, they are ultimately eclipsed by the two major parties.
In the 2017 election, the FNM got 91,409 votes, allowing it to secure 35 parliamentary seats, the PLP got 59,253 votes and four parliamentary seats.
The DNA, BCP, Bahamas National Coalition Party, the People’s Movement and independent candidates combined got 9,745 votes and no seats.
I think there are some fine candidates in the other parties, unfortunately, I don’t anticipate any of them breaking through to secure a spot in Parliament. But, stranger things have happened. Just ask Perry Christie.
Bahamas Voters Will Have To Choose The Lesser Of Two Evils
Since I’ve already concluded that this will be a two-party race, the choices will be between the sitting prime minister and the aspirant, PLP Leader, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis.
Bahamians will have to decide if they want to continue on with Minnis’ leadership or they want to fire him.
Minnis has been widely criticized over his performance in office, particularly as it relates to his handling of Hurricane Dorian, the Covid-19 pandemic and the economy. The Bahamas is dangerously close to $10 billion in debt.
Critics have also slammed him for “abusing” the emergency orders that have restricted Bahamians’ movements for more than a year.
Minnis has also failed to deliver on several key election promises, made enemies of several of his parliamentary colleagues and displayed an arrogance that has frustrated many people.
To his credit, he has also weathered multiple storms during his term in office, literally and figuratively speaking.
Davis presents an alternative. But, the question is, is it a good one. Different doesn’t mean better.
I cannot recall one thing that Davis has done in his political career that would give Bahamians confidence that he would be a better leader?
In fact, while writing this column, I asked 12 people, several of whom say they will vote for Davis, to highlight one thing that he has done to better The Bahamas. All of them struggled. Every single last one of them.
What stands out to me, is Davis’ poor judgment. Like in 2012 when he supported the erection of billboards in tourist areas highlighting crime stats. It was a foolish move that frightened our visitors and had an immediate negative impact on our tourism industry.
Even former PLP MP Fred Mitchell admitted that some of his party’s supporters and backers had complained about the billboards. The former Ingraham administration had the billboards torn down, and rightfully so.
Davis has also proven that he is a double talker. As it relates to those billboards, he changed his tone about The Bahamas’ crime situation months after the PLP was elected to government, claiming The Bahamas isn’t as dangerous as it’s made out to be. Could’ve fooled me.
Davis’ turn as minister of works also left much to be desired. Public spaces were not properly maintained during his tenure, and don’t get me started on the fiasco that was BAMSI.
Davis has also proven that he is willing to do and say whatever it takes to win.
Remember when he said the Christie administration would create 10,000 jobs within its first year in office? Then, remember when he was at odds with the Department of Statistics over that 10,000 jobs claim? If you don’t, I encourage you to do your homework.
These incidents are just a drop in the bucket. There is so much more I could mention.
But, Back To The Election
So, the question is, with the election just a little over three weeks away, who will lose?
The answer is: the Bahamian people.
They will have to choose between two leaders who are not only not suited for the role, but don’t deserve it.
Minnis has ignored Bahamians. He has closed his ears to their cries and become increasingly arrogant. He makes silly comments he can’t recover from and has proven he is incapable of fulfilling his election promises.
Davis’ track record, meantime, shouldn’t get him elected anywhere.
Let’s just get this over with.