Large billboards dominate the landscape along King’s Highway, some artful, others strongly-worded. It’s election season in the westernmost district of the Bahamas, and for a few weeks, it’s red and gold, not the typical turquoise, that define Bimini. Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has called elections for May 7, and Bimini, which is part of the West End (of Grand Bahama) and Bimini constituency, is heating up. While a third party, the Democratic National Alliance, launched in the country in 2011, it’s the ruling Free National Movement’s red and the Progressive Liberal Party’s blue and gold that cover the island.
With 25 days left before the 2012 general elections and more than 172,000 Bahamians registered to vote, most of residents polled in Grand Bahama yesterday say they are simply marking time. Parliament was officially dissolved Tuesday, signaling the countdown to what is believed will be the hottest contested election in the history of The Bahamas. Up to this point, the three parties — the governing Free National Movement (FNM), the Progressive Liberal Party and the recently formed Democratic National Alliance (DNA) — have mounted an aggressive campaign to woo the electorate. Now that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has announced the long-awaited date, Grand Bahama residents who intend to vote say they are ready.
Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act could lead to the elimination of the requirement for Bahamians whose addresses do not change to register before every general election.
“We are unique in that we require people to register every general election no matter whether you’ve moved or didn’t move,” said Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham as he led debate on the bill in the House of Assembly yesterday.
The requirement has been viewed as an unnecessary one for years. The government is hoping that this will be the last time that people who maintain their addresses will have to re-register.
Amendments to the Parliamentary Elections Act would empower the parliamentary commissioner to establish polling stations outside The Bahamas and allow for early voting for a wider range of Bahamians.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham introduced the bill in Parliament yesterday.
The bill contains a broad spectrum of amendments and changes aimed at streamlining the voting process. Under the new legislation, polling places would be established outside the country at Bahamian embassies and high commissions.