by Larry Smith
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."