By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
CENTREVILLE MP Reece Chipman yesterday expressed confidence in his chances to win his seat as an independent candidate, insisting that neither of the former major political parties have been able to do what he has done for his constituency “over the past three years”.
“Absolutely, the independent candidate in Centreville will win,” Mr Chipman told reporters when asked about his thoughts on winning his seat in the next general election.
“Centreville has proven time and time again that they are an independent area and that they have voted for both parties. They voted for the PLP. They voted for the FNM and none have proven, none have proven to do in the Centreville community what an independent candidate has done over the past three years.”
Mr Chipman resigned from the governing Free National Movement in 2019, citing the government’s handling of Hurricane Dorian along with institutional and partisan politics as reasons for his decision.
He defeated former Prime Minister Perry Christie by four votes for the seat in the May 2017 general election. Mr Christie had represented the area for eight consecutive terms.
Since his resignation from the FNM, Mr Chipman has said he has no interest in joining the opposition party, noting that he believes independent candidacies are the way forward in Bahamian politics.
Both the PLP and FNM have since ratified candidates for the Centreville constituency. Jomo Campbell will run on the PLP’s ticket for that area while Courtney Coulibaly is the FNM’s hopeful.
Yesterday, Mr Chipman described the ratifications as “a good thing” and said the move dispels rumours that he was waiting to receive a second nomination from the FNM.
“It’s a good thing that we have the PLP and FNM running and myself as the independent because now you see the true voice of the Bahamian people and so when you didn’t have the FNM, it could’ve come across that I was waiting for a nomination or I was looking for some sort of deal.
“I think (NIB Minister) Brensil Rolle said I would cut a deal. There’s no cutting a deal when you’re representing people and that is what the representation in Centreville is all about. It’s good to see the FNM there and it’s good to see the PLP there and it would be excellent to see and to show that the Bahamian people want neither of them and so this very good day.”
Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis suggested that if it were up to him alone, he would call an early election. However, Dr Minnis has said he is being guided by his team and Cabinet colleagues.
This comes as the FNM and PLP have both been running campaign-style ads which have been in steady rotation on social media and television for the past several weeks. However, Dr Minnis has repeatedly brushed off talk of an early vote.
The next election is expected in 2022.