City of Freeport Local Government Chief Councillor Frazette Gibson invites all eligible Bahamians 18 years old and older that have not registered to vote in the upcoming Bahamas General Elections to participate in a Voter Registration Drive on Saturday, January 7, 2017 beginning 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Britannia Plaza (Stop ‘n’ Shop), Caravel Beach.
Thirty-two thousand Grand Bahamians are expected to vote in the upcoming General Election hence the chief councillor encourages the Bahamian Electorate, particularly first time voters throughout the community, who may be too busy to go to the Parliamentary Registration Department located on the second floor National Insurance Board (NIB) Building, Downtown between 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday to register to take advantage of the drive thereby exercising their constitutional right.
“The Voter Registration Drive scheduled for this Saturday is the second attempt I am making to have persons throughout Grand Bahama register for the upcoming elections, be it for The Bahamas General Elections and/or Local Government Council elections.
“Personally, I believe that voting is the cornerstone of democracy, unfortunately however, within the Grand Bahama community and The Bahamas at large sadly far too many people do not exercise their right to vote,” revealed Gibson, who noted she conducted a survey to understand why eligible voters do not engage in the practice and had been flabbergasted by the data collected.
“Several persons surveyed revealed that they do not have a complete understanding of the issues that plague The Bahamas therefore, they do not engage in the voting process, meanwhile many others are of the belief that all politicians are alike and operate the same way, hence registering to vote and voting in their view is a complete waste of their time.”
Hoping to help the Bahamian Electorate throughout the Grand Bahama community gain a better understanding of the democratic process and the importance of not only registering to vote in the upcoming Bahamas General Elections but also exercising their constitutional right, Gibson noted that with a government elected by its citizens they have a voice in affecting how persons are educated and in every other sphere of their lives.
“Voting is critical and it is a very important right in our society and I truly believe democracy can still work but leaders that are elected by a handful of voters does not reflect true, honest democracy at all.
“Keeping this truth in mind this is the reason why the push has been made for the registration to go out in the community to the people is very necessary, as obviously eligible voters are not going to the Parliamentary Registration Department as they are misinformed and/or lack the necessary facts or simply are discouraged with the process.
“It is very encouraging that the very first voter registration drive which occurred in the Hunters community had one of the largest ever turnouts at any particular time for the Parliamentary Registration Department in regards to having persons register.
“Therefore, I made it my mission to ensure that the Voter Registration Drive continues ensuring that we go to the people rather than having the people come to us.
“Furthermore, I believe as times change we have to change the way we register persons because people are not interested and it is our duty to ensure that they do and most important understand why they must exercise their constitutional birthright in this regard,” declared Gibson.
New methods of registering eligible Bahamian voters must be engaged to ensure persons are educated and interested in the process, which is the right as citizens of The Bahamas.
Again, the City of Freeport Local Government Chief Councillor implores the public to find the time to register and make the difference by voting.
Within the past several months Parliamentary Registration Department Assistant Commissioner Reno Smith and his team of officers have also conducted mobile Voter Registration Drives and for the first time ever commenced registration of teachers, custodial and support staff as well as students, who would have attained the legal age of 18 years at Jack Hayward Senior High School.
“Nine students at Jack Hayward Senior High School were registered for the very first time during that particular registration drive, hence we encourage other schools to call upon the Parliamentary Registration Department for the same practice to be conducted, which allows all staff members and 18-year-old students (first time voters) to exercise their Constitutional birthright by taking advantage of the mobilized service provided.
“Furthermore, Parliamentary Registration Department Mobile Voter Registration Drives have been conducted at Sanitation Services Co. Ltd., the Bahamian Brewery Co. Ltd. and BTC Downtown and all persons who have not yet registered are encouraged to avail themselves of these opportunities to do so as well as come in to register during this slow period at the Parliamentary Registration Department,” declared APC Smith.
At the Britannia Plaza (Stop ‘n’ Shop), Caravel Beach Voter Registration Drive on Saturday, January 7, 2017 beginning 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. all eligible Bahamians registering to voter must be 18 years and older, they must bring either: a valid Bahamian passport; or Bahamian birth certificate and the new N.I.B smart card and other reasonable documents, as requested by the Parliamentary Registration Department Revising Officer; or the 2012 Voter’s Card and the new N.I.B smart card and supporting documents requested by the revising officer noted Chief Councillor Gibson stating, “The Britannia Plaza (Stop ‘n’ Shop) is one of the perfect locations in the community for eligible voters to come and be registered whether they wish to do so before or after that would have stopped and shopped, stop and washed or visited BTC, which is also in the plaza.”
For further information regarding Voter Registration at the Parliamentary Registration Department all are advised to contact the office at 352-9185/6, 351-9400 or 352-4289 or send a facsimile (fax) to 352-9182 as well as email email@example.com.
Published Friday, January 6, 2017