Minnis Warns ‘Democracy Under Siege’

Sunday 27th, January 2013 / 10:53 Published by

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday that Thursday night’s Vote Yes Fest at Arawak Cay was “appalling”.

Minnis called it a siege on Bahamian democracy.

“I’m really disappointed when I look at the rally that they had last night to see that the number boys are giving away gifts to individuals,” he said.

“This is a form of bribery.

“We have fought against this type of process from the 60s.

“Our forefathers fought against it when rice and different things were given out for individuals to vote. We see the same thing happening.

“Basically what is happening now is democracy is under siege.

“These individuals can deposit money on a client’s account and therefore use that as a form of bribery to encourage voting.  We know that individuals are being paid to campaign.”

Minnis also claimed,  “Individuals I am told are paid via their account and for those who don’t have an account [they] are encouraged to open an account with the various web shops.

“This is very, very dangerous because democracy is truly under siege and if this continues today and they get away with it today, what’s to stop it from moving forward?

“The voting process that we fought for, for freedom of choice and freedom to vote, we would no longer see again.

“We would move into an undemocratic society and the FNM is only looking for transparency.

“We want people to go out and vote, we’ve advised them why we wanted them to vote in a particular manner.”

During the Vote Yes Fest, numerous 32-inch television sets were given out to members of the crowd.

In addition, several web shops have held events giving away grandiose prizes such as cars, laptops and even houses.

The FNM has asked Bahamians to vote no on Monday’s gambling referendum, claiming the government has not presented enough information detailing what would happen in the event of a yes or no vote.

In addition, the party has labeled the process flawed, something Gaming Board Chairman Dr. Andre Rollins agrees with.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who previously said he was not voting, said a demonstration to Parliament led by web shop owners stirred him to vote no.

Both Ingraham and Minnis have also said it is obvious that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is pushing for a yes vote.

On Sunday, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts issued a statement saying the PLP encourages Bahamians to vote yes.

However, that statement was later retracted.

Prime Minister Perry Christie has said on numerous occasions that his party has “no horse in the race” concerning the referendum.

But he has repeatedly said a no vote would present a serious dilemma.

Minnis said: “When you look at the prime minister’s comments that he has no horse in the race, everything he said points to him completely owning the race.

“Every horse in that race is his. He owns the racetrack.”

By:  Travis Cartwright-Carroll
The Nassau Guardian

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