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Plp Veteran: No Surprise At Accusation

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A FORMER PLP chairman expressed no suprise at Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's statement on alleged corruption among some candidates chosen by opposition leader Perry Christie to run in the upcoming elections.

Raynard Rigby, who is now practicing law, said he was not suprised by the PM's statement about opposition leader Perry Christie's choice of running candidates who have allegations of corruption lingering around them.

He said: "That is an issue one can always anticipate the FNM to use in this debate near to election time and I anticipate the PLP has a response to that allegation.

During the Free National Movement's launch of its full slate of 38 candidates for the soon-to-be-called general election Sunday evening, the PM spoke on his rival's choice selection.

The MP for North Abaco said: "From some of the people that Perry is running again, we know that the scandals from day one, and that Christie will be too weak and too scared to stop the plundering and pillaging of the cookie jar just as he was last time around."

Mr Rigby conveyed that the did not think it was fair for "candidates to be branded as corrupt without the benefits of knowing the charges or the facts they are known to committed."

Nevertheless, he anticipates that the Mr Christie and the PLP will be asking the FNM's leader for evidence of the alleged corruption.

"They will be asking Mr Ingraham to produce the evidence that they've been claiming to have."

"They second question they're going to ask is 'Why not hold a commission of inquiry into the working of these ministries where these candidates appeared to have been involved?'"

The former chairman did not say whether or not this statement would have an impact on his former party in the lead up to elections.

He did however say that Mr Ingraham and the FNM had a distinct advantage over Mr Christie and the PLP.

"It is clear based on the two public rallies or launches that Mr Ingraham has had, one in Freeport and the other in new Providence, that the FNM is framing the elections to two things."

"It's record" he said, " which includes the transformations of the city of Nassau and the management of the country's economy during the global economic crisis."

"Then there is the issue of leadership along with corruption" the attorney added.

He said the FNM are framing the debate of elections well to the point where "voters will have to make a decision on who they will want to be the next government and the leader" based on these issues brought for debate, which is where the PLP haven't succeeded so far.

"I think the PLP has not done a very good job thus far in framing the issues for the elections. The PLP has to focus on asking the right questions for the Bahamian electorate to consider."

He gave examples of the 'right questions' like "Is the country on the right track? Do the people believe in shared prosperity?"

"It seems to me that the PLP has to be distinctly clear in conveying their message to the public.

Also commenting on the PM's recent critique on a portion of Mr Christie's selection of candidates was former MP for Exuma, George Smith.

Although Mr Smith does not object to concerns being raised regarding corruption with regards to candidates, as he in fact said "I think it is right", he also contended that "you have to take the beam out of your own eye before taking the beam out of another."

"What's good for the goose is good for gander" he added.

Asked if the statement on corruption will have an impact on the PLP, Mr Smith said this.

"In politics, evidence is not the yardstick that is used to determine truth at the end of the day. It's about what the people believe and their perceptions of who you are."

On the PLP's slate of candidate's, he said: "I'm very impressed by the candidates my party is putting forth. Nobody can deny the quality of candidates in that line up."

He contends that both sides have good parties have good candidates but also "there are some choices I don't agree with. As to the candidate's in my party, I've made my stance known on that publicly already."

Speaking on the candidates Democratic National Alliance, he said "They have a few good candidates that have a good chance of winning. The ones running in Long Island and in South Abaco, Roscoe Thompson, good selection."

"Ultimately it's going to be a hard fought elections, definitely a nasty one."

"I expect an ungodly amount of money to be used by the FNM and the PLP claims they have the money to match that.

"But I think the parties, FNM, PLP and DNA should be trying to impress the people by the richness of their ideas and logic rather than their pockets."

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