By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Deputy Chief Reporter
WHILE there is a widely held view that Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis will easily clinch the needed support in Killarney to defeat Progressive Liberal Party newcomer Reneika Knowles, some in the constituency appear undecided with the general election a month away.
Yesterday, The Tribune canvassed Killarney, spanning various communities off West Bay Street to parts of Gambier, as part of a series of constituency visits in the lead up to the election.
While Dr Minnis has struggled with the leadership of the FNM, it has been thought that he has been a far better representative for the constituency. However, Orthnell Humes, who has lived in Gambier his entire life told The Tribune Dr Minnis has done very little in Gambier.
Mr Humes said he would be focused on Dr Minnis and the PLP candidate over the next few weeks, as Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate Arinthia Komolafe had just made her presence known in the area.
He said it appeared that the candidates considered Gambier as a last resort and stressed that residents were not “idiots”.
“I’m undecided,” he said, “and I’m watching them. If you get a job, they give you 90 days to work. We, the Bahamian people, only have three weeks so I’m watching them. If you really want the people’s vote you have to start doing things ahead of time. You just can’t come here three or four weeks before and expect us to support you.
“I married my wife after six months, you know what happened after that? Get to know your people man.”
He continued: “Look at the area, Minnis hasn’t done anything for five years.
“Minnis passed through. But his office is basically in Delaporte. To us, it’s like way in the back of one bush they call way in the back of God’s back. It seems like everyone now coming. God (must have) turned around because everyone comes to Gambier now. You don’t think that he as a former minister, even a health minister would be able to say let’s clean up the side of the road?
“Even if he has to get some of the fellas them from round here to do it. Give them some employment. Somebody just to supervise them, to do it in the rightful manner. What is wrong with that man?
“I’ve seen Ms Knowles. She deals around with the younger folks, the ladies them. But from my point of view, the ladies them they run Gambier because a lot of the men sit on the corner and ask for Backwoods, cigars and drinks.
“But these candidates need to know that in Gambier don’t look at us to be idiots. Some good and great people are descendants of this village. So when you come round, we ain’t no fool.”
Another resident, who requested anonymity, said she doesn’t know what to do because “all of the candidates” were basically the same in her view. She admitted that Dr Minnis has come into the area, but not as much he should, adding that she has yet to hear of any plans from him, or any other candidate for improvements in Gambier.
She said: “I registered to vote like over two months now. I haven’t made up my mind yet on who I will support.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to do. All of the candidates are basically the same to me. To be honest, I have seen the candidates, but their main concern is if you’ve registered. That’s it. But speaking of their plans and stuff no, nothing really.
“Dr Minnis is supportive in the area. He might not come around the way he ought to, but he supports in some way.
“As for the PLP, we never saw them for five years.”
An elderly resident further complained that she believed Prime Minister Perry Christie “rang the bell too quick”. She said part of the reason for her indecision was because both the PLP and FNM were only catering to diehard party supporters.
“The PLP only checking for one set of people and so is the FNM,” the resident said.
“Urban Renewal supposed to come to me for five years now and they ain’t reach yet. My house roof blow off in the hurricane and not a soul reach yet.
“What they do for round here? They come and say the things them gone. They send away to Miami for the stuff because it was too expensive to the place there.
“Minnis was here to my house. He’s all right. But I ain’t make up my mind on who I’ll vote for yet. I don’t know. We’ll see,” she added.
As The Tribune moved further east to another area of Killarney, where there are middle class residents who live in close proximity to Dr Minnis’ headquarters on West Bay Street, those in the area echoed similar tones to the people in Gambier.
Kris, who did not want to be identified by her full name, said the PLP, FNM and DNA all have enough issues to convince her not to support any of them. However, her frustration was more over the government’s lack of interest in the economy of Grand Bahama.
“I can rule out all three parties,” she said. “All of them have issues, but in the last five years me looking at what’s going on I feel that the present party they really has pushed the issue for Nassau. Everything is about Nassau and the Family Islands especially Grand Bahama, it’s real bad and it’s been real bad from 2004.
“So it’s not only the PLP, it’s also the FNM and I can’t even say the DNA because they are just coming around,” she continued.
A man identified as Kenneth, who lives in the same area, said he often sees activities happening at the FNM’s constituency office across the street, but no one has ever helped him with anything.
“I don’t know who I am going to support as yet, but I registered,” he said. “I didn’t even know who the PLP person is for this area. I never really got any help from anybody.
“I talk to ‘doc’ from time to time. Even during the hurricane time I needed somewhere to stay, but I ended up finding somewhere to stay on my own. But afterwards I saw Minnis and we spoke and he cracked a joke with me asking if I was still here? He said he thought the hurricane may have taken me away.”
Asked why he wasn’t supporting any candidate yet, he said: “Only certain people in the area he (Dr Minnis) really caters to.”
He added that he didn’t know who the other candidates for the area were.
Another woman that lives on the Cable Beach strip, who only wanted to be identified as Ms Turnquest, said she was sure Dr Minnis would be re-elected to represent Killarney, but told The Tribune that she had concerns about armed robberies in the area.