By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
FEW social distancing protocols were practised by people who came to support the Bamboo Town candidates of their respective political parties on nomination day on Friday.
Scores of campaigners flocked to Carlton Francis Primary School in motorcades to support the various candidates. Due to COVID-19 precaution measures, the media and party supporters were not allowed onto the school campus. However, each candidate was allowed to bring five people with them to the nomination room. About three uniformed officers manned the gate as the candidates entered.
Health Minister Renward Wells, who is the FNM’s incumbent for the Bamboo Town constituency, was the first candidate to arrive at the site.
When he spoke to reporters, he said he was confident that he would be victorious at the polls.
“As I've said on two separate occasions in 2012 and 2017, Bamboo Town is going to be the first constituency called in the winning column for Renward Wells and the Free National Movement come general election day,” he said. “There is no doubt, they know the leadership I have brought to this constituency; they know the work that I have done, they can see it, they can feel it, they can touch it (and) not just on the local level of Bamboo Town, but also on the national level.”
Mr Wells said he helped to grow food security and sovereignty as minister of agriculture. He also noted his team contributed to improvements at the Post Office, Port Department, Road Traffic Department and the Bahamas Maritime Authority during the time he spent as minister of transport and local government.
He added: “I've been minister of health for a year and there are 4,000 scientists that were part of an organisation called endcoronavirus.org that said, back in January after the second wave, that The Bahamas is one of 27 countries of the 210 countries around the globe that got it right. That's proven leadership.”
On Friday, a sizable group of FNM supporters gathered close together as they waited for Mr Wells to complete his nomination. While they did not appear to be conscious of health protocols, they dispersed shortly after the health minister left.
PLP nominee Patricia Deveaux was the second candidate to arrive. She was escorted to Carlton Primary with nearly 20 carloads of PLP supporters, who waved flags and chanted the party’s political slogan as she went through the gates.
Mrs Deveaux told reporters she was “ready for the challenge” and certain that Bamboo Town would receive a new representative “come September 16”.
“The PLP is going to bring transformational change (and) modernise this country,” she said. “(Opposition Leader) ‘Brave’ Davis is the man for the job and I'm excited to be a part of this process. Bamboo Town, I am here for you, I've heard your concerns, I'm still moving around and I'm going to get to your doors and I'm saying to you it's a new day. Vote Patricia Deveaux on election day and I will bring the change and the transformation that we need. PLP all the way.”
As her supporters waited outside the gate for her, they danced in tight clusters to music played by a live DJ. One officer eventually urged the PLP supporters to keep their masks on, but nothing was done to encourage the crowd to disperse or stay six feet apart.
At one point, PLP and FNM supporters had a standoff as they screamed the slogans of their respective parties. Nothing was done to part the crowd or encourage them to keep their distance.
In stark contrast to the passionate campaigners that came out to support the country’s most seasoned parties, the Democratic National Movement, along with three other newly formed political organisations, drew little to no visible support.
Still, the lack of supporters did not deter DNA candidate Omar Smith, who told The Tribune that the country was in desperate need for a change that the PLP nor FNM could help facilitate.
“We need change in our country (and) the PLP and the FNM for decades have been running our country into the ground,” he stated. “I am here as part of the DNA's plan to rid our country of that and start a new day in our country. A real new day: A new Bahamas where we can strive and achieve our full potential where Bahamians can fully realise the treasure of this country and where our citizenship means something.”
Maria Daxon is the representative from the Coalition of Independents vying for the Bamboo Town seat. She said if elected she would be the “voice crying out in the wilderness” for the community.
“Renward Wells sat in Parliament and he agreed with Dr Minnis to increase that VAT and he did not listen to the people of Bamboo Town,” she said. “I am here to tell you that I will be crying out for Bamboo Town and what the constituents want. Not what I want, not what (COI leader) Lincoln (Bain) wants, but what the people of Bamboo Town want.”
Pallis Lockhart from the Kingdom Government Movement also criticised Mr Wells for what she deemed was a lack of effort in improving Bamboo Town.
“Change is coming, now is the time,” she told this newspaper. “We have a lot of work to do in Bamboo Town due to the neglect of the former representative.”
The final candidate to nominate himself was Garth Maynard Roseboro from the United Coalition Party. He said while his party may not be as well-known, he is no stranger to the Bamboo Town constituency.
“I'm from Bamboo Town and I've been here for over 40 years. They call me the landlord. I'm always in the community, my apartment buildings are in Bamboo Town, my business is in Bamboo Town, I am Bamboo Town,” Mr Roseboro said.
ThisIsOurs 1 year, 6 months ago
This is exactly what we will get in the next five years. Alot of nothing
OMG 1 year, 6 months ago
Get your free chicken, tee shirt and beer because PLP have you believe they have a magic wand. Funny how they are going to promote vaccinations , how exactly.
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