by Larry Smith
If sip-sip is anything to go by, the governing Progressive Liberal Party is in turmoil as it prepares for the 2017 general election, severely wounded by the recent referendum debacle.
Dismayed by the low turnout and overwhelmingly negative results, party leaders are scrambling to avoid a catastrophic defeat like that suffered by the FNM after the 2002 failed referendum. But you wouldn’t know that by reading the newspapers.
As someone once wrote, put a ballot in front of citizens and they will focus whatever they feel strongly about onto it. It seems clear that, for many, the citizenship referendum had no relationship to their daily lives, so they said “no” with a high level of contempt for the subject, the process and the party in power.
The chief message was political in my view. And the only real difference from the 2002 referendum was that Perry Christie had the sense not to say (as Hubert Ingraham did) "whoever wins the referendum will win the election".
As the opposition Free National Movement tries to gain traction, we have had the spectacle of running battles in the press between MPs and the leadership, the curious intervention of resentful splitters who quit the FNM years ago, and a flaming public row among senior FNM figures who are not even involved in front-line politics.
And that is in addition to ongoing sniping from the minority Democratic National Alliance, which claims it wants a pre-election agreement with the FNM to fight the PLP - and seems to have no leadership issues of its own.