Nomination Day in Central Grand Bahama proved to be a very noisy, energetic morning where the three political parties met at St. Georges’ High School in staggers to avoid any conflict.
With the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate Julian Russell; Democratic National Alliance (DNA) candidate Jerick Robinson and Free National Movement (FNM) candidate Iram Lewis, ratified in what all three acknowledged was a smooth and quick process, each party started to celebrate with the crowds of supporters that were evident.
The FNM candidate, Lewis, shared with this daily that he was overwhelmed by the support, especially because it was very early on a workday morning.
“Our motorcade was 700- strong and the energy was breathtaking as we arrived at St. Georges,” Lewis noted.
The FNM candidate for Central Grand Bahama acknowledged calling the PLP candidate the day before to wish him luck and discuss ensuring the parties arrived at St. Georges’ separately to avoid any tension.
“Today is the official start of change, the change we really, really need. This is a time for good things to happen for Central Grand Bahama. Central is the foundation, the heart of Grand Bahama. Pinders Point, Lewis Yard, Hunters, Bartlett Hill, Eight Mile Rock were all here first – the heart of the island. Once we build those areas, Grand Bahama will be on the rebound.
“The whole message is, this is the people’s time. If we rebuild our foundation, the message will be of hope, a message of change for the people so Grand Bahama comes back strong – back beyond where it was,” stated the FNM candidate.
Lewis then went on to say he is extremely confident he will be elected Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama and encouraged Bahamians from Abaco to Inagua to support the FNM, as it is indeed “the people’s time.”
Larry Wildgoose of Eight Mile Rock was out in support of Lewis early Thursday morning and he shared why he is confident the FNM candidate is the man for the job. “I have known Mr. Lewis for many, many years. He is an outstanding man who loves to talk and listen to people. He is the ideal candidate as he is young, energetic, intelligent and a super person,” Wildgoose said.
The Eight Mile Rock resident encouraged Bahamians to vote FNM and the residents of Central Grand Bahama to give Lewis a chance due to him being an “exceptional individual.”
Wildfred Bevans, Chairman for the Central Grand Bahama FNM Association acknowledged the need for a young representative, who can see in to the future, “and Lewis is that man,” Bevans claimed.
After catching up with the FNM candidate and supporters, this daily spoke with DNA Candidate Robinson, as he, was flanked by excited supporters praising his plans for Central Grand Bahama.
Robinson said, he too has confidence in his campaign to become the new M.P. for Central Grand Bahama.
“My confidence stems from my walking about the constituency and assessing the needs. Hurricane Matthew’s damage to the south shore has illustrated the need for a sea wall in Pinders Point, Mac Town and Eight Mile Rock.
“The fumes residents also suffer from in the Industrial area must also be addressed. The DNA plans for Bahamians as a whole,” Robinson insisted.
Monette Bain, a DNA supporter believes that “Mr. Robinson has a plan that is important to the constituency that has suffered almost 20 years at the hands of an M.P. that did nothing of size.
“One of the things he has in place is an overdue shelter to accommodate victims of domestic violence,” she added.
In addition, Robinson’s supporter acknowledged the need for revisiting the Hawksbill Creek Agreement as businesses on Grand Bahama are suffering and will not survive without intervention.
The DNA Secretary for East Grand Bahama and resident of Central, Lisa Davis said she backs Robinson because he has a heart for the people. “His vision is clear – he wants to focus on single mothers, the jobless, instigating a mentor program for boys and girls, building a community center and has a strong focus on the family,” Davis shared.
The PLP candidate for Central Grand Bahama Julian Russell spoke to this daily about his goals for the constituency, the main one being to ease unemployment while ensuring those who are working have a livable wage.
“It is most important that people are earning a wage that can sustain them and their families,” Russell acknowledged.
When asked about the homes that are still in a state of disrepair in the Central Constituency following Hurricane Matthew, Russell said in November he toured the area to note how many homes, especially along the shoreline were in need of assistance. “I rode through the area and took down names, however that is regardless of party affiliation or party politics. The restoration program is a government one, it is not PLP or FNM, so I got a list of what we could see, and talked to several residents,” Russell shared.
The PLP candidate for Central Grand Bahama stated that as a citizen with numerous ties to the Eight Mile Rock area, and as a former resident of that area himself he was able to see that the settlement did not suffer damage to the same extent as Pinders Point, Hunters, Lewis Yard, etcetera, so he was able to redirect the assistance as it initially travelled from West End east.
“About 200 homes have been finished or are at least started on. This government’s (PLP) business is to get people back in their houses. It is slow in coming but it is coming,” Russell maintained.
The PLP candidate noted that it is his personal plan as well as that of the party he represents to listen to the constituents. “The PLP build their platform from the ground, we go out; we listen and build from there. We listen to what our constituents have to say first,” he stated.
Russell added that Hanna Hill, Lewis Yard, Bartlett Hill, and Mac Town all have a common problem; one he insists is an easy fix – the environment. “I have always lived in the area and I do not think any other PLP or FNM knows the issues or would care about their constituency in anywhere near the same way as I know the concerns facing Central Grand Bahama.” Russell added.
A vibrant and colorful PLP contingent, including Russell’s former opponent for Central Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey, were present as Russell completed the nomination process. Moxey was wearing a T-shirt reading “Ginger for Julian” indicating that despite the fight Moxey and Russell had prior to the latter being chosen as the PLP candidate, the party stands united.
Published Friday, April 21, 2017