Four of the five Free National Movement (FNM) candidates for Grand Bahama and Bimini traveled with a contingent of supporters to East Grand Bahama for the Annual Easter Monday Coconut Festival in Pelican Point, where they not only shared in the economic boost for vendors, but spoke to this daily about their visions for their prospective constituencies.
FNM Deputy Leader, K. Peter Turnquest, Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, stressed the importance of showing support for local businesses and entrepreneurship.
“One of the things that we have to do, as we go forward and as the next government, is to promote what we have out here in East Grand Bahama. Steve Laing and the entire Laing family, with their cottages here, we need to promote that and more like them, encourage them to develop because this is how you create ownership in the tourism industry. Starting with this small seed, you never know where it will end up,” Turnquest said.
“As we move into the next leadership, we will pay more attention through the Ministry of Tourism, to promoting and supporting small Bahamian owned boutique resorts and bone fish lodges so that we can foster and facilitate this kind of activity, so that we can take advantage of what God has given us.
“Right now, if you were to go further east, with regard to some of the Cays out here you would find some tremendous natural resources and beauty that people just do not know exist.
“If we can continue to have these small boutique type developments created along the coast, it will make the tours of such areas more economical and available for guests. We are happy to be here to support and continue to throw our two cents behind this Coconut Festival,” noted Turnquest.
Iram Lewis, candidate for Central Grand Bahama said that moving forward, in the next three weeks in preparation for the 2017 general elections, “We are going to be on the ground. First of all, encouraging people, if they have registered, to vote because that is their voice. As our motto says, ‘It is the people’s time.’
“We are here to do our best to bring Grand Bahama, not back to what it used to be, but even beyond that because the potential exists. We are here, knocking on doors, touching people and encouraging them to participate in the resurgence of Grand Bahama because we believe that it is going to happen. But it is going to take the full participation of everyone.
“There is a lot of voter absentees, a lot of persons are discouraged but we are asking them to just hold on, give us a chance and we can assure them that there will be a big turnaround on the island of Grand Bahama. We are going to continue to knock on doors, we are going to continue to solicit support and we are going to continue to support local events, such as this to empower our people.”
Rev. Frederick McAlpine, candidate for Pineridge said the people can expect a “voice.”
“What they can expect from me is a voice, because for a very long time, despite having PLP and FNM members of Parliament and Senators, it seems like there has been a silence for the last five years.
“We have gone through so much – economically, socially and environmentally, but we have heard very little from representation. What you need is someone who is bold enough, bodacious enough and strong enough to stand up and say, ‘I am going to stand up for the people.’ It is time that someone speaks for the people and not for self interest; this time, McAlpine.”
West Grand Bahama and Bimini candidate, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, the lone female running in GB noted that along with her colleagues, she intends to continue to listen to the cries of persons residing in the various communities and do their best to address the issues and bring relief.
“What we have been hearing on the ground is that they are really dissatisfied with representation. I think that it is very important that once we get into the government, that we let the people know right away that we are there to hear their concerns, and we are going to ensure that we work towards addressing those concerns.
“A lot of what has to happen in our communities begins with that caring factor. People get left behind, because we do not show enough care. I think that once we start to show them that we are invested in their lives and the success of their lives and that of their children, we will have better communities throughout our country.”
Parker-Edgecombe concluded by stating, “We are definitely doing our best here on Grand Bahama to actually address those concerns that are being expressed right now. We are going to be knocking on a lot of doors, we want to hear from our community, because in hearing from our community we know how to address the issues effectively.”
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017