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February 24, 2009


Youri Kemp

Hi Larry,

You put the readers and possible respondents in a difficult position, indeed!

It's akin to a gun-fighter, throwing the proverbial Colt 45 pistol at the feet of the little farmer boy, begging for him to pick it up for a quick draw shoot out! We all can imagine that how 9 times out of 10 it turns out! LOL....you ask us to either tacitly agree that the PLP is dead in the water for the next general election, or ask for us to hit out at the current FNM government... in power, at that!?!?

Ha! Should anyone fall for such legerdemain? Only if you are emotionally hyper-partisan or believe the total virtues of one side over the other, with ill regard for anything within reason otherwise--at the end of the day, they all turn into the government of the Bahamas!

The political scientist and economist in me, turned blogger, from a deeply academic/observatory position, would dane to give you what I think on the matter as a professional!

But, before that though Larry, them [any party], becoming the government of the Bahamas, depends on their ability--if they don't cheat election day (rolls eyes)-- to speak to the needs of how do WE as a people want to progress.

Have we been progressing to any large extent under any party to what we voted for? Especially since the rise to power of the FNM in 1992 (thusly, recognizing their legitimacy to govern and them winning 2 consecutive terms) to the PLP in 02 and then back to the FNM, now?

The answers are mixed, with more positives from Youri Aramin Kemp as an eternal optimist on any given Sunday! I won't mention any of them now, however....LOL...

In any event--not assuming you are as seemingly hyper-partisan as the previous author Simon appears to be-- I would have to say that both, truthfully, parties, are alive and well. In many different forms and manner of their behaviour!

The PLP has a lot more supporters. This is a rather obvious statement.

The FNM is slightly better organized with access to cash, even before they won the government.

But, the interesting thing here is that “voter's”, do not equate to the truth behind total party supporters en-masse!! This is the real problem for the PLP in the same token as it is a mirage of understandings on behalf of the FNM. Simply, you do not have to vote, every election, to support one party or the other. I admit, it would be better for folks to vote for the party they support, LOL...

They [the PLP] lack the capacity to energize the masses who truly know that their party is a better choice for the Bahamas, right now. As opposed to the FNM, who have a better manner in energizing their folks and depressing the luke-warm voters into "knowing" the PLP is all bad and their supporters knowing their way is the only best way for the country!

In addition to the FNM, they depend on- to make up the numbers on any given election- disgusted PLP's and/or independents, who seek better public and private sector re-distributions; job's, work, contracts, rate cuts on certain items come budget time...etc...

It turns out to an over exuberance of zealousness for different reasons on both sides. But, I wish more observers stick to the "issues" as Dr. Bethel said in an earlier comment, rather than the dynamics of the party personalities and to what they wish things to be.

That makes for a better dialogue I feel, Larry!

If not, it leads to confusions where folks, turned shocked, as did the FNM's in 2002 and the PLP in 2007, where they all thought they had a lock on winning. Only in hindsight, we realize the pundits were not telling the whole truth and “nothing” about the truth-- do help them God!

These so called “silent whispers on gross guesstimations” are fertile bull-fodder for the hyper-partisan and, in a small country like ours, permeates in an anti-socially destructive manner. This feeds the irrational fears, based on warmly welcomed fictions on what it takes to govern and win an election (which are two totally separate issues). This most defiantly feeds the political tribalism. Entrenches ideologies and pervades inconsistencies in economic development.

The USofA has a good control on this type of craziness—it’s called open and transparent government information services adn independence in the data providers. The truth, Larry, should always be discussed in the open, based on hard data.

More importantly, though, this social mix of psycho-political manifestations, lead to authoritarianism...no side would ever feel comfortable that it can depend on the electoral levers. So, they have to win by any means necessary, for only their short term.

While the USofA was creeping towards that [authoritarianism]--to now on the heels of Socialism-- since the 70’s and has sped up in the last decade, developing countries like the Bahamas, are already there!

I don’t know if Obama feels he would live forever as does Mugabe in Zimbabwe, but, also equally disturbing, is this pre-ordained family clique that develops in cultures!?!? Something in which the US democratic situation was supposed to prevent, but you tend to see the same nepotistic behaviour, as every child of a former politician wants to be a politician too!

Is that a socialized inevitability in cultures? Or, is it just gross vanity?

In any case, this is an interesting mix of “politics”- if you would like to call it that- we have in the Bahamas, where the majority party, is never secured a win as much as the party in power!


This means that one can never count any party out in this country.

Take it as you wish!


Chris Lowe

Good synopsis Larry, more objective thought is needed if we are to move forward.
Both parties I fear have done a great disservice to the under 40 citizen by effectively ignoring the constitution in many areas.
They tend to reinforce their supposed indispensibility by writing poor legislation when the existing law just needs enforcing.
We are primed to follow any despot that comes along instead of finding strength in the only place it is to be found:
Rule of law.
Also, the control mentality is the last vestige of the colonial mindset we just cannot seem to shake.
It's all about the control.

Nico Bethel

Good article, Larry.

My take?

1) Neither party can or will reform at this time. The active politicians and political supporters are mired in the practices of the past and, like the Republican party in the last US election, are bereft of ideas for the future, out of touch with the electorate, and barely capable of maintaining the status quo, much less responding to the needs of the 21st century. In order to be nominated to political office, it would appear, one has to cleanse one's brain of original thought, and parrot a party line that was forged in the 1970s and 1980s. (Oh, all right, and the early 1990s, fine.)

2) At the same time, anything can happen. There is a conceptual gulf between the people who are currently leading this country (politicians and civil servants alike) and those people they are supposedly leading, and that disjunction makes it impossible to predict what will happen in either, or any, political party. Bahamians under forty are smarter, less tolerant, and more intelligently critical (some are cynical) than most people over forty expect, and they are as likely to cluster around issues as they are to cluster around personalities. The fact that that has not made much of a difference in elections to this point is more a failure of nerve on the part of voters than anything else; but I doubt that the Obama generation will suffer even that.

Anything can happen. Whether it will depends on who rises up to lead us. The initials they bear will be largely irrelevant.

larry smith

Obviously you can count many parties out in this country - the CDR and BDM and NDP and SDP spring to mind. But is there any organic reason for the PLP to be in major decline?

Their predicament seems to be due to the fact that they have failed to adequately address the contradictions that arose after 1984.

Despite a lot of talk in 2002, there was no real follow-through. It was, for many, as if the intervening 10 years had never happened.

Here's one analysis: The PLPs unexpected victory in 2002 was the FNMs loss due to arrogance. The PLPs unexpected loss in 2007 was the result of independent swing voters realising their mistake.

drew Roberts

My take:

The FNM deserved to lose in 2002 but the PLP did not deserve to win.

The PLP deserved to lose in 2007 but the FNM did not deserve to win.

We shall see if anyone deserves to win this next time.


Nico - you forget our conversation.

I think that there is room in the PLP for reform right now. It is evident to everyone in the party that reform is needed, and there is a group from within that represents the 45 and under population that is pushing for this. It takes time and does not happen over night, but I predict, it will start to happen at the next convention.


Hi all,

LOL@Drew! Nice one. Gross Guesstimation, indeed!

Larry: I thought you were refering to the major political parties in the Bahamas--the PLP and the FNM??

There have been numerous smaller parties-- as you mentioned-- but, I took your assessment to be the ones we identify with the most and, more importantly, the ones who held the levers of power at some point and time.

As my honest oppinion, I think we ALL have to get over the election of 2007. The ones who won and the ones who lost!

Basking, or, on the other side, wallowing, in the loss/win, is soooooo non-productive. Move forward, Larry!

But, just to add some contect to the issues, the FNM lost more embarrasingly in 2002 and many thought that they were down for the count, for good. This was not the case at all and I don't know why people thought that!?!?

With that, I don't even think anyone truly knows, why they lost in 2002 to begin with; some blame the refferendum, which is not a big enough issue as the reccession and the banking fiasco, brought by the OECD, which put a severe strain on resources in the Bahamas.

In contrast, I never thought the PLP would be a one termer, but never thought that the FNM was down and out--chances did get a little better when PM Ingraham came back, of course.

The PLP lost by a few seats, and we are prepared to count them out more than we did the FNM in 2002?

I don't see the equivalence!?!

In fact, unless anyone here has a crystal ball, no one knows what's going to happen--or, so it seems!

You can't count either one of them out at any time...one reason being; they all know how it is to be in power and run this country. Something in which the other smaller parties, do not have in common with the two. As long as no one can re-write history in that regard, there will always be a viable, alternative to the government in power--who ever it may be at the time.

Also, and take no offence, I find this excerpt from your comment: "Here's one analysis: The PLPs unexpected victory in 2002 was the FNMs loss due to arrogance. The PLPs unexpected loss in 2007 was the result of independent swing voters realising their mistake."..more of a statement, rather than analytical.

As for analysis, what about that post election report the PLP did after they lost? They found out allot of things about attitudes towards politics in the Bahamas.

I have never heard of any political party in the Bahamas, taking that type of scientific approach.

That's what I'm talking about; quit with these blanket statements and gross guesstimations, based on whispers of innuendo and, rather, get into some true insight on the issues based on information and hard data.

Because-- and we have seen this in many different countries and not just the Bahamas-- when your "ideas/ideals" start to not pan out as you would want them to, you in turn start doing and saying things, to make those ideas/ideals fit the world you would wish for it to be--which leads to a whole myriad of issues, overhyped and over-stressed, as I mentioned in my previous response.

It would serve any political party and the country well, if they were to do allot more market research/opinion tracking on their population.

Some say that we should not listen to the polls, but it all depends on what the polls look for--and, it all depends on who delivers the poll to you and for what reason.

This is why most political parties, have their own internal opinion trackers, rather than rely on independent trackers.

We should continually move away from this tuck shop style of politics and public administration and, instead, keep progressive and up to date with your approaches to better serve the public.

As a side note: The only thing I had with the post election research the PLP did after the 2007 election, was with the fact that it was a foreign firm that did the work.

I could have done that, with half the price, with being more informative as well as keep the attitude and opinion tracking current, because I am sensitive with the culture and know what to look for as well as they [any party] having hands on access to see me with the data at any time or for a new survey at any time.

It doesn't take much.

Just saying.



larry smith

It appears that subtlety is getting me nowhere.

I wrote this article because of the many comments being made that the PLP was a dead horse and would be consigned to long-term irrelevance.

The point of my synopsis was to show where the PLP came from and to note that it had been counted out before. And also to note that the FNM had been almost wiped out before.

But there seems to be no organic evidence for predicting a fatal decline of either party.

However, I can see that the contradictions within the PLP over large-scale corruption have never been fully addressed. And this is one of the big reasons they lost the last election, in my view.

One of the main points I wished to draw was the missed opportunity presented to the PLP on a platter in 2002. They dropped the ball - and that has led directly to their present situation.


Maybe it is time that we have more than two political parties...



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