By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
AS Bahamians go to the polls today, the chairmen of the two major political parties have outlined why they feel their parties are the best choice to lead the country.
Yesterday, The Tribune spoke with Carl Culmer, chairman of the Free National Movement, and Fred Mitchell, chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party, and they are both sending the same message to their supporters – go out and vote.
“This is my last opportunity to speak to the people of Fox Hill and the nation before the general elections,” Senator Mitchell said. “I encourage you to go out early, do your duty, vote for the PLP and it is my prayer that this time Friday morning we will have a new government, a Progressive Liberal Party government under the leadership of Philip ‘Brave’ Davis.”
Meanwhile, Mr Culmer said: “I feel confident that the FNM will be victorious at the polls. “The reason being is that we have led this country through the worst times of our history.”
Mr Mitchell added: “As we look to the general elections, let us go out, be peaceful and mark the ballot for the PLP. I congratulate our leader, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis on a well-run campaign. It is clear that Dr Hubert Minnis must go. We simply cannot afford another five years of this FNM administration. Minnis must go.”
Mr Mitchell, the PLP’s candidate for Fox Hill, addressed the concerns of many who are afraid to go out to the polls in the middle of the raging COVID-19 pandemic. He assured them the atmosphere will be safe.
“There are some people who are concerned about the safety of the polling place insofar as COVID is concerned,” he continued. “Please be assured that the proper protocols are in place. In particular, you have to wear your mask, you have to sanitise your hands and your thumb before voting. You cannot put your thumb in the ink unless you have sanitised your hands. We’ve tried to make this as easy and as painless as possible.
“So as we look to the general election, as we ask you to vote for the Progressive Liberal Party, please go out and do your civic duty and then return to your home to await the result. God’s willing, the results will be in favour of the Progressive Liberal Party.”
Confident of his party’s victory at the polls, Mr Culmer had the same message to his party’s supporters, saying: “I would say to FNM voters, the voting environment is safe. Go out and vote. This is a critical time in our nation’s history. We have to choose between a party that has done much for you in these critical times and a party who just wants to get back in power.
“This is not the time to stay home and hope that we win. Every FNM should participate to secure this victory and make sure that we keep ‘Brave’ Davis and the PLP out of running this country. ‘Brave’ Davis and the PLP are desperate. Go out and vote and do not get caught up with the PLP and their tactics.”
Asked why people should vote FNM, Mr Culmer reminded the public of what he feels his party did to earn their votes.
“We have kept Bahamians safe through the pandemic,” he said. “We have had challenges with hurricanes Irma and Dorian, but this administration was able to keep Bahamians living above the poverty line during these critical and crucial times.
“We have kept investors confident – that is local and foreign investors. When you look at the tourist industry, we have brought the tourists back to this country.
“We have catered to our youth and have made lots of educational opportunities available for them whether it is pre-school, primary school, high school and also through college. We’ve given them opportunities to not only own their businesses, but also to have their own homes. This government working under adverse conditions has done a marvellous job in the management of the affairs of this country.”
Asked if returned to office what would be the first thing his party would address, Mr Culmer said healthcare facilities, economic opportunities and continuing to educate the population.