NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Former House Speaker Dr. Kendal Major has called into question the voter turnout of the 2017 General Election, claiming he has “credible evidence” people were paid to stay home.
Major called the electoral process “corrupted” during a Progressive Young Liberals Marathon youth meeting on Friday.
He was responding to a question on the decline in voter turnout over the past three elections.
“I have credible evidence that persons were paid to stay home and so what has happened in our election is it has been corrupted, truly corrupted,” Major said.
“And I am not saying this to point a finger, I am saying the process has been corrupted. And one of the things the PLP ought to do is legislate campaign finance reform, in the first order, at the first opportunity.”
According to statistics from the Parliamentary Registration Department (PRD), 88 percent of the 181,000 registered voters in The Bahamas cast ballots during the General Election.
This compares to the 90 percent voter turnout in the 2012 elections and the 92 percent turnout during the 2007 elections.
In the months leading up to the 2017 elections, voter registration was sluggish.
Former Parliamentary Commissioner Sherlyn Hall attributed this to voter apathy.
Asked yesterday about Major’s claims, Hall maintained that the elections were “free and fair.”
“I cannot speak to who was paid and who not paid but our election was free and fair to the best of my knowledge,” Hall told Eyewitness News Online.
“Our election ran corruption free.”
Four days before the election took place, Hall was removed as parliamentary commissioner and replaced with Charles Albury.
The Free National Movement won the government with 35 seats and the Progressive Liberal Party won four.
Former Prime Minister Perry Christie lost his seat to FNM candidate Reece Chipman by four votes.