By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Perry Christie yesterday downplayed the impact a loss in the North Abaco by-election would have on his governing.
A date for the highly-anticipated contest has not yet been set. However, said Mr Christie, his administration will not be “slowed down” by the proceedings or its outcome.
Responding to political observations that the by-election will be seen as a referendum on his governance thus far, Mr Christie said:
“What we will do is offer a glimpse of the future to the people of Abaco, let them see what it would be like to have a representative on the PLP side in parliament, in office, and to hope that that would be sufficient for them to vote for us.”
“But if they don’t, we still have to move on because we have 29 seats in parliament. We have a huge majority and we have been elected to govern and we’re not going to allow ourselves to be slowed down by a bye-election. We’re just going to keep on moving forward.”
Mr Christie added that his government will not consider setting a date for the by-election until after the resignation of sitting MP and former prime minister Hubert Ingraham. Mr Ingraham has tendered his resignation with effect August 31.
PLP candidate Renardo Curry, a fisherman, will face Free National Movement candidate Greg Gomez.
Mr Curry lost to the former Prime Minister by less than 400 votes in the May 7th elections.
“Our position right now,” said Mr Christie, “is we’re completing the first 100 days in office, we made a certain commitment for those 100 days we are trying to ensure that we meet what we promised and that everybody is able to see that we have done what we promised. We have not focused on the by-election, we trust that our candidate down there is campaigning and we will join him shortly.”
“The FNM just held that seat, the representative for the last 35 years has been Hubert Ingraham,” said Mr Christie. “It is fair to say that he has quite a grip on the constituency, particularly in the areas of Coopers Town and Treasure Cay which had a huge vote in his favour. It’s something that we have to address and deal with.”