West GB, Bimini advance poll stations challenged

CHALLENGES – The advance poll process in West Grand Bahama did not go without some challenges for candidates. However, they are all looking forward to better organization come September 16. (PHOTO: BARBARA WALKIN)

Advance poll voting in West Grand Bahama, although described as “going very well” by Administrator for the District, Gilbert Clement Kemp, did not proceed without challenges for Independent candidate DaQuan Swain.

The young candidate, who in recent times has been outspoken on issues facing Grand Bahamians, expressed frustration over his poll workers not being able to cast their ballots in the advance poll on Thursday (September 9), in the West Grand Bahama and Bimini constituency.

Swain said that after going through the required process of listing his workers and providing the documents that were needed for them to be voting in the advance poll, only one worker was permitted to vote.

“I was told that they were not on the list, that the list is put together in Nassau and there is nothing the local parliamentary workers could do about it. It is a sad feeling, after watching my workers stand in line for hours in the sun to cast their vote, only to be turned away,” said Swain.

Kemp did not comment on the particular issue but reiterated that overall the voting process was moving smoothly, albeit he admitted that going forward better arrangements must be made to accommodate the senior citizens.

“The process this morning is going very well; sanitization stations and all protocols are in place. There are two persons from the COVID Ambassadors. They are managing the lines. Therefore, so far, we are doing relatively smoothly.”

He continued: “My main concern is the senior citizens. I believe we need to have a better system in place, because you have persons on the lines who may be sickly. They are diabetic, they have pressure, or whatever it is they have. Right now, out in the heat they are getting extremely sick.”

Kemp revealed that a senior female was near fainting, as she waited in line.

While seating was provided, the elderly citizens were still in the heat. 

Moving forward, Kemp said, the concern needs to be how better arrangements can be made for the persons over 65 years.

Questioned whether heading into the general elections next week, if he will be able to make some adjustments, Kemp said the situation needs to be addressed.

“Well, I am sure we don’t have that kind of budget, and certain things need to be put in place. However, the discussion needs to be had. We need to organize some kind of platform where we can have that discussion.”

Free National Movement (FNM) candidate for West GB and Bimini Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, too, expressed concern over the condition the senior citizens were waiting in.

“There must be something that we can do to make this a little more comfortable for the seniors and handicap citizens,” she voiced, while visiting the voting site at the Eight Mile Rock High School Gym.

She noted that moving forward better accommodation must be made for seniors

Coalition of Independents (COI) candidate Stefan Hall voted on Thursday.

“It’s a sobering to see how many persons came out here to support the vision of change. I think that it is going smoothly and I like the way the process is set up (inside the gym). It appears that it is going to be fair. I pray that it will be fair. We are looking for change,” Hall said.

He surmised that the advance poll will be a “staple” of the party’s position going forward in the election.

“So, we are hoping for a great outcome. We hope the people see the vision and know that we are actually here to bring real, relevant issues to the forefront.”

Hall expressed confidence in Bimini voters.

“The reception there was tremendous on the several trips I made. I am excited about the response in North and South Bimini and I am looking forward to a good outcome,” Hall stated.

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