NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Insisting the existing political parties have failed the electorate, Bahamas Democratic Movement (BPM) Leader Cassius Stuart said the party has a 40-year vision for the Bahamian people that will bring “happiness back” to the country.
When asked how the BDM differs from the existing political parties, Stuart said the philosophical principles are similar, but the difference is reflected in the vision and plan to move the country forward.
“The difference between us is we have a plan to take our country forward, unlike the now governing party,” the BDM leader said.
“We see that this party does not have any direction for the country. In addition to that, when you look at the Progressive Liberal Party it is clear that [PLP Leader] Philip Brave Davis does not have any clear vision for the country, and so, I think the Bahamian people; we are looking for a party that can really show us [the way forward].
“We’ve had both the FNM and PLP for the last almost 50 years, and it is clear that what they have given us has failed because COVID-19 has exposed the fact that the economic model that we have to date is a failure. What we need now is a new economic model… and a new direction for our country.”
Noting the electorate is unhappy with the current state of affairs, Stuart added: “We want to bring that happiness back to The Bahamas.”
The BDM has outlined a 40-year plan for The Bahamas on its website.
The plan centers around sustainable human and capital development; digital currency and a digital economy; economic growth; quality and affordable education; good governance, transparency, accountability, equal opportunity; upholding human rights, healthcare reform, and driving investments in technology, among other commitments.
As part of its platform, the BDM has pledged if successful in the next general election to construct a University of The Bahamas in Andros and a “new city” around the campus.
“Within our first term of office, the BDM will outline a forty-year development plan for the formation of our new city,” reads the plan.
“Andros, the fifth-largest island in the Caribbean, will become the pride and joy of The Bahamas.
“The development of Andros will be the key to Bahamians unleashing and maximizing their full potential.
“The BDM will seek to establish within Andros, an industrial area called ‘Manufacturing Alley’, where Bahamians will be encouraged to own major manufacturing corporations. Joint ventures will be encouraged by major manufacturing companies around the world.”
As part of its vision, the BDM commits to ensuring all Bahamians become cognizant of their role in political, social, spiritual, education, and economic advancement, “recognizing the supremacy of God and believing in the fundamental rights of every individual”.
It notes that the people should possess greater control over their lives and development, and to ensure the needs of the people are met, the people must be a part of the decision making and evaluation process of the government.
The BDM released its ratified executive team yesterday, including its chairman Ivan Thompson.
Asked how soon the BDM could ratify its candidates, Stuart said the party intends to run a full slate of the “best of the best” in the next general election.
“Shortly will be presenting our slate of candidates, but of course we are going through them with a fine-tooth comb to make sure they are the best,” he said.
“We have to be able to show the Bahamian people that we are serious and we have what it takes to become the government.
“And so, with that being said, we will definitely put forth candidates in all 39 constituencies.”
Stuart, the founder, and leader of the BDM, joined the Free National Movement in 2011.
He ran on the FNM’s ticket in Bamboo Town in 2012 but lost to Renward Wells by 279 votes.
Stuart gained 1,661 votes, compared to Wells’ 1,940 votes and then-incumbent MP and Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney’s 1,022 votes.