Now that the political battle lines for the upcoming general election are as clear as they will ever get - and the election has been set for May 10 - we can take a look at the prospects.
Initial observations are that the old guard of the PLP retain their mafia-like grip on the party. And they are desperately doubling down on promises and threats as the campaigning gets underway.
Familiar characters from my youth still loom large and in charge - grossly so, in fact. They include the likes of Bernard Nottage, Perry Christie, Balton Bethel, Bradley Roberts and Allyson Maynard-Gibson.
Meanwhile, disaffected and disappointed FNMs have made a reluctant effort to coalesce around Dr Hubert Minnis as the only effective option left to them. And the party now features fresh personalities from top to bottom.
But the FNM’s strategy still seems to rely on confidence that the government will fall into their hands no matter what they do or don't do. They may be right - the ground game is not visible to me - but on the surface this is the most laissez-faire opposition campaign in memory.
The seven FNM parliamentarians who removed Minnis as opposition leader last year are now politically irrelevant, and most won’t be running again. Only Loretta Butler-Turner has confirmed her independent candidacy in Long Island.
According to the DNA, the political reality in the Bahamas has changed dramatically, and both the PLP and the FNM will have to eat crow this time around. Bran McCartney believes he will decide who will govern the country for the next five years.
The DNA's 60-page platform includes pledges for a series of inquiries into hot-button controversies like the Bank of the Bahamas meltdown, a $500 million economic stimulus, liberalisation of the energy sector, creation of a national lottery, and implementation of local government on New Providence.
"Unlike the FNM and PLP who have released similar manifestos, and failed to deliver, this is not just campaign talk – this is what we will accomplish,” the DNA said. “We don’t have aspirations as a political dynasty and if we can’t deliver in our first five years then we don’t belong in government."
A recent spate of animal stories has unexpectedly highlighted the bad governance issues that are harming our country.
Swimming Pigs First we had the demise of a certain number of the celebrated ‘swimming pigs’ of Big Major Cay in the Exumas.
Despite the various fanciful origin theories offered on Wikipedia, these pigs were actually put on the cay by a Staniel Cay family following hurricanes in the 1990s. And there is a constant ‘turnover' that no-one talks about.
Since there is very little forage or fresh water on the cay for a passel of hogs (as such a grouping is known), the animals began to hang out on the beach begging food from passing boaters.
And in recent years, the stranded pigs have become a huge tourist attraction, with excursion boats from Nassau and the Exumas charging as much as $400 per head for a day trip. Tour operators have even taken to re-stocking the island with piglets from time to time.
Photos and video of pigs swimming up to boaters in the crystal clear Bahamian sea framed by a white sand beach turn up on social media frequently, and have been featured on news shows and in newspapers across Europe and North America.
It’s good publicity - something the Bahamas rarely gets these days. So when tales surfaced in late February that seven of the 22 swimming pigs had been found dead, there was an immediate uproar.
A stunning photo appeared on Facebook over the weekend. Taken from the stern of a small boat speeding away from New Providence, it showed the island entirely shrouded in toxic smoke from the exploding dump.
Other photos taken at night showed a still-raging dump fire when politicians and others were claiming the crisis was all but over.
And there were images of new bush fires burning unimpeded around the dump site, even as the government said it was calling in foreign experts to deal with the problem.
The path to the present crisis at the dump (it is one of many that have occurred over the years), began in the late 1970s, when the government phased out the Big Pond dump on Blue Hill Road and carved out a more remote site in the pine barren off Harrold Road.
A homeowner who has lived near the Harrold Road site since 1976 recalls how the surrounding area developed into a dense residential suburb over the years. Some of these communities had to be evacuated wholesale when the current fire began earlier this month. And it is still not known when they will be able to return.
‘Kill the Bill’ has become a rallying cry for privacy advocates in the Bahamas ever since the government - without prior notice - tabled a draconian new surveillance law called the Interception of Communications Bill.
This law will let the authorities intercept and store any communication. Other than applying for a warrant, there are no safeguards built in that would cover such issues as attorney-client privilege, the confidential sources of journalists, or the conversations of members of parliament.
The proposal follows on the heels of similar legislation enacted in Britain, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana and other countries over the last decade or so.
These laws all trace their origin back to the US Patriot Act, passed after the 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington. Among other things, the Patriot Act gave authorities a free hand to conduct mass surveillance and secretly enter homes and businesses.
Secret search of your home or office is also a feature of our government’s Bill, which was recently withdrawn following an avalanche of criticism. However, the government is not abandoning the law. Rather, it will craft a public relations campaign to help push it through.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s rise to the American presidency, fake news has become a trending topic and media bias is the hot issue of the day.
As Trump himself declared recently, “A lot of the media is actually the opposition party — they’re so biased.” He could easily have added his favourite word: “Sad.”
The range of alternative news sites on the internet has complicated matters for most. Russian dissident Garry Kasparov pointed out that, “it can take a high level of education to separate fact from fiction in the dense information jungle we face online.”
And conservative American talk show host Charlie Sykes acknowledged that fake news during the US election had “polluted political discourse and clogged social media timelines…helping spread conspiracy theories and indulging the paranoia of the fever swamps.”
Sykes’ unfortunate conclusion is that any news deemed to be biased, embarrassing, annoying or negative can now simply be dismissed as fake.
As a journalist who trained in the early 1970s at the height of the profession’s prestige and influence, this is all deeply troubling. Widespread distrust of the professional media has serious consequences for democracy and public accountability.
We know all too well here, that when our political leaders feel threatened by mass communication they do not control, the first thing they do is attack the messenger.
But if citizens are ever to hold those in power accountable, we have to rely on the press for information that we can use to judge their policies and behaviours.
As we head into the second month of 2017, the political battle lines for the upcoming general election are becoming clearer.
The old guard of the PLP (and by old we mean geriatric) confirmed their mafia-like grip on the party at the first convention allowed to to be held in seven years. They are doubling down on promises and threats as the campaign begins.
The Minnis wing of the FNM bumbles along with business as usual, and no apparent strategy or plan, confident in their faith that the government will simply fall into their hands no matter what they do or don't do.
And those seven FNM parliamentarians who believed Minnis lacks political skills are now on an exposed ledge, figuring out how to move forward.
Meanwhile, the power-hungry DNA jackals are nipping at the heels of both legacy parties, even as ‘We March’ activists seek to concentrate popular outrage at the status quo.
Added to this complex pot are untried groupings like the United Peoples Movement, formed by ex-PLP MP Greg Moss and labour leader John Pinder.