We have no conclusive information, but it appears that the Free National Movement’s priority constituencies in Grand Bahama are Central Grand Bahama, Pindridge, Marco City and East End.
The party does, for sure, have strong looking candidates in each of the aforementioned areas. Peter Turnquest appears to have a lock on East End; Fred McAlpine intends to make a good run at the incumbent, the PLP’s Dr. Michael Darville in Pineridge; Michael Pintard has been working in Marco City for many months now; and Iram Lewis has the inside track in Central Grand Bahama.
Conceivably, the FNM could win those seats.
The latest news reaching us is that for the West Grand Bahama/Bimini Constituency, Pakesia Parker has surfaced again for the FNM. After being manhandled by incumbent Obie Wilchcombe of the PLP last time around, the understanding is that she had cold feet. However, the indecisive approach of her party regarding the constituency has led supporters, we understand, to push for her again as the FNM standard bearer, over Howard Grant Jr.
It is understandable why the FNM’s focus to date has been primarily on the other seats in GB. Parker was a quality candidate in 2012, with a clear background. She was a new breed politician of substance. Yet, Wilchcombe ended up on top of her by more than 500 votes. That’s a tidy margin and the likelihood is that nothing much has changed.
However, in the rest of Grand Bahama, the FNM is looking much better. We have received a lot of complaints and have tapped into the consciousness of Grand Bahamians generally. From our Fourth Estate forum we have gained an awareness of the economic/social/political state in the island. People, generally are not in comfort zones and are not satisfied with today’s government.
This is more so in the areas of the island outside of West Grand Bahama. So, it is politically sound for the FNM to zero in on East End, Central Grand Bahama, Marco City and Pineridge with its resources.
Somehow, in Grand Bahama, reshaping the boundaries has never been able to change the voting pattern. In New Providence, two constituencies in particular, Freetown and St. Barnabas clearly look to have been adjusted to ensure that PLP support makes up the vast majority of voters in those respective areas.
No such ploy is workable in Grand Bahama. No doubt, the concentration of the governing Progressive Liberal Party is much more so on New Providence. The view here is that the 21 seats Prime Minister Perry Christie is concentrating on to form the new government, post the upcoming general elections, do not include any GB constituencies, other than Wilchombe’s political domain in the west.
This approach gives the FNM candidates in other parts of Grand Bahama good odds to fight with. The FNM machinery is on full speed in East End, Central Grand Bahama, Pineridge and Marco City.
For the PLP, there has not been much activity in East End thus far; Central Grand Bahama was just decided upon and Senator Julian Russell is far behind Iram Lewis’ pace; the same is the case for Marco City, with Pintard’s campaign in full stride; his former fellow FNM, Norris Bain, who carries the banner for the PLP this time, has gotten a late start in Marco City; and in Pineridge it is said that McAlpine is making inroads and posing a real threat to incumbent Dr. Michael Darville.
The expectation is that the FNM strong focus on the seats other than West Grand Bahama/Bimini will indeed continue. On the other hand, the PLP’s approach seems casual, at best.
Who wants Grand Bahama the most?
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017