Long lines lead to chaos at PLP Convention

PLP Convention


Tribune Staff Reporter


Chaos on the second day of the Progressive Liberal Party’s Convention on Friday had hundreds of delegates and supporters frustrated with the lengthy process to cast their votes.

 Bahamians from islands near and far made the trip to Nassau to vote. However, some of them expressed discontent with the tedious voting process.

The long lines needed an increased police presence and barricades and led to an over three-hour wait.

 Organiser Keenan Johnson told reporters: “What we’re trying to do is clear the clutter inside. There are a lot of people that are waiting on the inside to be able to vote. As soon as we do that, then we’re going to allow more people to come in. I think the biggest issue is we have two rooms that are right next to each other and so the lines are colliding. So, the exit is a bit difficult. We are using one entry and one exit."

 When asked about older and disabled voters being prioritised, Mr Johnson said: “We’re trying to accommodate them as best as possible. We have people who are away, who need to travel, we have people who are a bit disabled, they are our priority to get them off the line. We have accommodated them by making sure they have somewhere comfortable to sit.

 “There’s a big crowd, so we just got additional police officers to help us to calm the crowd. We just got additional protocol officers, so that persons can know exactly where to go. We got additional presiding officers so that we can double the time for people to come in. Those are things we’re doing now to mitigate the chaos that is going on out here.”

 Sonia Kemp, a Fred Mitchell supporter using crutches to move around, said she was turned away from the door, after waiting more than three hours.

 “I have been to the door, I was unable to get inside. So, I will wait until I can’t wait anymore to vote for Mr Mitchell. I think they should have let persons like myself who have a disability get inside first. I went to the door and they didn't let me inside. So, I just came and sat down. When the crowd dies down, then I will go on the inside. But I don’t care how long it takes, I am definitely going to mark my x for Mr Mitchell.”

 Another PLP supporter, Shervin Tate, who had been at the convention trying to vote for three hours, said although she was undecided who she would vote for in terms of the Chairman seat, she would have plenty of time to think about it on the long line to the door.

 “I think it needs to be a little more organised,” she said. “This has been planned for how long? We have two and three lines. Persons who are just coming now are in the front of me. No matter how long, I have to get my vote in.”

Fred Mitchell retained the post of PLP chairman with 845 votes compared to 630 for challenger Robyn Lynes.


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