By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
NEARLY all of the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) Cabinet ministers and senior members lost their parliamentary seats following yesterday’s landslide victory for the Free National Movement (FNM) in the 2017 general election.
Although the full results were not released by the Parliamentary Registration Department last night, it appeared that the former governing party only secured four constituencies: Englerston; Cat Island and San Salvador; South Andros and Exuma and Ragged Island.
Up to press time, the constituency of Fox Hill, represented by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell since 2002, was said to be in a recount.
It was the heaviest loss for a governing party in recent Bahamian history.
According to the results available as of last night, the PLP only won one constituency in New Providence: Englerston with the area’s incumbent Glenys Hanna Martin. The only other Cabinet minister who retained a seat for the PLP was Philip “Brave” Davis in Cat Island, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works.
Picewell Forbes, who retained his South Andros seat, was a backbencher in the Christie administration, while Chester Cooper who won Exuma, is a newcomer to politics.
Headlining the list of defeats is outgoing Prime Minister Perry Christie, who lost his Centreville seat to the FNM’s Reece Chipman, a seat he had held since 1977 back when the constituency was referred to as Farm Road.
Similarly, former National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage, 71, lost his Bain Town seat to the FNM’s 22-year-old newcomer Travis Robinson.
Embattled former Marathon MP and former Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald lost his seat to the FNM’s Romauld Ferreira, after battling multiple controversies during this last term, mainly the Rubis gas leak and recent revelations that he had solicited lucrative contracts from Baha Mar while he sat in Cabinet.
Shane Gibson, the former Minister of Labour, lost his parliamentary seat of Golden Gates to Michael Foulkes, a seat Mr Gibson has held since 2002.
The PLP, which had secured two seats in Grand Bahama in the 2012 general election, now will have no representation on that island after both former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe and former Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville lost their West End and Bimini and Pineridge seats, respectively.
The PLP also won Marco City in 2012. However, the winner of that race Greg Moss quit the party in 2015. He did not offer himself for re-election and the seat last night was won by former FNM Senator Michael Pintard, according to the unofficial results.
In southern Shores, former Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett lost his seat to the FNM’s Frankie Campbell following five years of frustrating and recurrent fires at the New Providence landfill, with arguably the worst fire taking place on March 5.
Hope Strachan, the former Minister of Financial Services, also lost her Seabreeze seat to former FNM Senator Lanisha Rolle, while former Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin lost her Yamacraw seat to former Bahamas Bar Association (BBA) President Elsworth Johnson.
As far as junior ministers go, former State Minister of Works Arnold Forbes, former State Minister of Finance Michael Halkitis, and former State Minister for Investments Khaalis Rolle all lost their parliamentary seats.
The three men formally represented the Mount Moriah, Golden Isles and Pinewood seats respectively.
Keith Bell, former state minister of national security and senator, also lost his bid to represent Carmichael.
Yesterday’s crushing defeat of the Christie administration signals the end of the party’s controversial recent term in office, which was marred by allegations of corruption, malfeasance, cronyism and inefficiency.
For some observers, the PLP’s defeat also represents a new era in Bahamian politics, characterised by the removal of the old guard like Mr Christie and Dr Nottage from governance, and the subsequent election of Dr Hubert Minnis as only the country’s fourth Prime Minister in 44 years of independence.