Official Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said Bahamians sent a message to politicians of all parties with their overwhelming rejection of the constitutional referendum on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters at the House of Assembly yesterday, Mr Davis said: “I think there are a myriad of reasons why people voted ‘no’. I think there is just a cynicism that’s existing in our country now about politicians, period, because I still premise this referendum on the fact that this was a bipartisan effort.
“What (Bahamians) saw was that the establishment was behind this bipartisan effort and there was cynicism to all politicians. I think it’s a message to both parties, not just to the current administration because as I said this was a joint effort between the opposition and the government.”
In reaction to news of the referendum’s failure, members of the governing party have sought to link themselves to Official Opposition and to various church leaders as a way of dismissing assertions that the referendum’s failure was a reflection of the Bahamian people’s dissatisfaction with the governing party in particular.
Free National Movement (FNM) members have rejected this notion, however, pointing out that power to govern in the country is largely concentrated in the Christie administration.
On Wednesday, one of Prime Minister Perry Christie’s chief advisors, Sean McWeeney, went further than Mr Christie was willing to go when he told reporters the “no” vote was a message from the Bahamian people to the government.
“No question about it,” Mr McWeeney said when asked by The Tribune if he believed distrust in government contributed to the results.
“There’s no question that the experience of the gaming referendum and the fallout from that and the feeling that the government was perhaps not serious about honouring the expressed issues of the people, that clearly was a major factor,” he said. “I think there was also some payback for 2002 involved. There was a sense that the government when it was in opposition had reneged on its promise and commitment in 2002 and I think a lot of FNMs made no secret that this was the time to repay the favours so to speak, but I think clearly the gaming referendum was a much more powerful force at work in this referendum.”
Nonetheless, Mr Davis said he voted “yes for all four and would’ve hoped the outcome would’ve been ‘yes’ for all four.”
“That hasn’t happened but I will abide by the will of the people.”
As for concern about the Parliamentary Registration Department’s confusing and delayed delivery of vote results, Mr Davis said he understands the anxiety around the matter.
“I would’ve hoped it would be more expeditious or efficient but we must remember we are an archipelago and that makes information tougher to get to the centre,” he said.