NASSAU- BAHAMAS – The tropical Paradise that is the Bahamas, goes to the polls today.
On August 19th this year, Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis called the General Elections 8 months before it is constitutionally due.
This announcement came shortly after Provost Marshall, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle read a proclamation from the Governor-General, dissolving the Parliament.
In his address to the nation, Minnis emphasized that whoever emerges victorious will have key decisions to make on the way forward in the COVID-19 pandemic.
At present, the Bahamas has 1834 active cases on the Island. However, only 16.9% of its population is fully vaccinated, with 27.2% receiving one dose.
This low vaccination rate comes even though Minnis’ Government has been able to secure 55,500 doses of COVID- 19 vaccines for its population of 389,482 and a pledge by the Prime Minister to make the Bahamas one of the most vaccinated small islands in the world.
In the last General Elections held in May 2017, Minnis Free National Movement (FNM) dethroned the then ruling Progressive Liberal Party ( PLP) then led by Perry Christie, winning 35 of the 39 seats contested.
The PLP is now led by the incumbent Opposition Leader Phillip Davis. Both the FNM and the PLP will be contesting all 39 seats, while the smaller Democratic National Alliance (DNA) will be contesting 20 seats.
Other contestants are the Coalition of Independents (COI) which will be contesting 34 seats and 84 Independent candidates.
The Elections will be monitored by a CARICOM Election Mission headed by Mr. Ian Hughes of Antigua and Barbuda.
Mr. Hughes and his team arrived in the Bahamas on Monday, September 13th, and held consultations with all the major stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the process leading up to today’s polls.
Whatever the outcome of today’s elections, the people of the Bahamas will be the ones deciding who is best suited to hold the reins of power during this era of Covid-19 and who is best suited to chart the way forward post-COVID. This is democracy at work.