Five key seats

By PAUL G TURNQUESTChief Reporterpturnquest@tribunemedia.netTHE 2012 general election will be determined by the results of five key constituencies, party insiders have predicted.According to information gleaned from the recently revealed Boundaries Commission report, it is believed that a victory by either the PLP or the FNM can only come with a victory in what will be the new Elizabeth, Sea Breeze, Bamboo Town, Carmichael, and the as yet unnamed "constituency 21" in the South of New Providence.Of the 38 seats being recommended by the Commission for the 2012 election, the PLP believe that they are poised to win 10 or 11 out of the 23 in New Providence, two out of the five in Grand Bahama, and possibly six out of the 10 seats in the Family Islands.However, when it comes to these five "coin toss seats" in New Providence, party insiders said the results can go "either way".As it currently stands, constituency 21, which will be created out of polling divisions from the old Golden Isles, South Beach, and Blue Hills constituencies will comprise of some 4020 voters. A look at the 2007 general election results of these respective polling divisions, which now make up Constituency 21, reveals a slight lead in the favour of the FNM with 1695 votes to the PLP's 1670.The "new" Elizabeth, which essentially will encompass the old boundary lines of the 1997 Yamacraw constituency, shows from the 2007 election results that the FNM will yet again have a slight edge over the PLP having secured 1689 votes to the PLP's 1630.Sea Breeze, although currently represented by the FNM's chairman Carl Bethel is being reported to be a seat that will be "up for grabs" come 2012. However, even PLP party officials have admitted that it is likely that this seat would not go to either the PLP or the FNM, but rather to the DNA's Chris Mortimer.Bamboo Town, yet another seat that will be "up for grabs" is currently represented by the DNA's leader Branville McCartney, who is expected to face a "tremendous challenge" from both the PLP and the FNM. As for Carmichael - currently represented by the FNM in its Minister of Education Desmond Bannister -- it is unknown who will return to carry the party's banner in the 2012 election as it is believed that Mr Bannister will be the party's next candidate for North Andros and the Berry Islands.Yesterday, it was revealed that the Boundaries Commission had recommended that three seats should be cut from the current 41-member Parliament, bringing the new total for the 2012 general election to 38. The seats proposed to be eliminated at that time were Eight Mile Rock, Kennedy, and Clifton. However it is understood that while the Kennedy constituency might remain, the constituency of Montagu and Englerston have been eliminated in New Providence to make way for larger inner-city seats, and a new seat (constituency 21) in the south of New Providence. Speaking to The Tribune yesterday on the reports of the possibility of Kennedy's elimination, the area's current MP Kenyatta Gibson said that he generally had no comment as the reports are only "recommendations" at this time."However, notwithstanding that, I will run wherever my leader and my party decide for me to run in the next general election," Mr Gibson said.Other changes to the current make-up of the constituencies show that drastic cuts have been made to many of the "inner city" areas, such as Farm Road and Centreville, Mount Moriah, and St Cecilia.


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