The Governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is embroiled in allegations of blatant conflict of interest involvements. It has been 51 years since a governing party in The Bahamas faced such overwhelming conflict of interest allegations.
The Wall Street Journal, in 1966, published a detailed expose of members of the United Bahamian Party (UBP) receiving fees, allegedly related to their parliamentary status.
Ultimately, it was widely considered, that the controversy led to defeat of the UBP by the PLP in the general elections of 1967. Fast-forward to the present and three Cabinet Ministers are the targets of critics who claim the conflict of interest situations are way out of order.
Accordingly, supporters of the opposition forces, in particular the other major party, the Free National Movement (FNM), are emboldened and confident of victory on May 10.
It is amazing indeed, how the world turns.
The PLP, then, led by Sir Lynden Pindling and the rest of that courageous and pioneer group of political warriors who were pushing for Majority Rule, were forceful on the attack against the UBP. Among charges leveled at the UBP, were the unfair structuring of constituencies, and voting status that enabled one person to vote several times; and conflict of interest inclusive of questionable payment of fees.
The UBP was unable to overcome the strong charge of the opposing force. The PLP made significant inroads across the country in bringing new supporters on board and tied the UBP, 18-18 during the elections. Independent and Labor Party winning candidates (Sir) Alvin Braynen and (Sir) Randol Fawkes, respectively, threw their support to the PLP and Majority Rule came about.
How will the conflict of interest allegations impact the general elections this time around?
If the PLP wins, it would mean that the voters make the decision to endorse a party that is stigmatized, disapproved of and thought by many, deserving of being denounced. A victory, we think, would give the PLP the authority to function in a business as usual fashion.
If the people show a preference for the FNM, then that would be the case, in our view, largely because the conflict of interest charges became too unsettling for voters, generally.
It does indeed appear as though the campaign battle has come down to a conflict of interest issue. The party, able to do the best at painting negative views, will likely win. At the moment though, noted PLP Cabinet Ministers being involved in hot conflicts of interest, does not help the cause of the governing party.