Eleuthera: Cards, Candidates, Boundaries BY THE ELEUTHERAN NEWS TEAM
With five years just about up since the May 2012 election, the time is fast approaching for the General Elections in the country and even admidst a lack luster pace of registrations the mechanisms are moving and necessary parts being put in place. A public notice released by the Parliamentary Registration Department on Friday, February 17th, 2017, stated, “The Parliamentary Registration Department wishes to inform the public that as a result of the Boundaries Commission Report, approved in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, all persons registering as of today, Friday, February 17, will receive the new voter’s card. All persons previously registered will be notified in the next few days on time and locations where you can collect your voter’s card.” In reference to previously registered Eleutherans, Senior Administrator for Central Eleuthera, Mr. Joseph Ferguson confirmed on Monday, February 20th, 2017, that voter’s cards would be available for pickup at Administrative Offices on island in early March 2017. The draft Revision of Boundaries and Redistribution of Seats Order 2017, was approved by resolution of the House of Assembly on February 15th, 2017. Contained in the order, is an increase in the number of seats in the House of Assembly from 38 to 39, with 24 constituencies in New Providence; 5 constituencies in Grand Bahama and Bimini; and the 10 remaining constituencies in the various Family Islands. Along with the new seat in New Providence, called St. Barnabas, the seat formally referred to as Montagu
has been renamed, ‘Freetown’. The order also includes a variety of changes to polling divisions and constituency boundaries in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Bimini, as well as in the Family Islands. Eleuthera, remains divided into 2 constituencies of North Eleuthera, and Central & South Eleuthera. However, the boundaries were changed, in regards to which townships are now included in each constituency. The townships of Hatchet Bay and James’ Cistern, which were included in the North Eleuthera constituency, now in the 2017 order, have been added to the Central and South Eleuthera constituency. Controversy has surrounded this Boundaries Revision report nationally, in reference to the late timing of the tabling of the order, the lack of inclusion of information on voter registration and voters per constituency numbers, as well as typical accusations of ‘gerrymandering’ that surface when ever the invisible lines of a voting constituency are shifted for political favour, real or perceived. Candidates formally ratified to date for the two constituencies in The Eleutheras include: Mr. Clay Sweeting for the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in North Eleuthera - unchanged from 2012; Mr. Ricky Mackey for the Free National Movement Party (FNM) in North Eleuthera, replacing the 2012 FNM Candidate and current MP Theo Neilly; and Mr. Stephen Hank Johnson for the FNM in Central and South Eleuthera. Mr. Clifford ‘Butch’ Scavella is believed to be the pick for the PLP in the Central and South Eleuthera District, however, his formal ratification was still pending at press time.
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