BRAVE NEW DAY: PM Minnis concedes election to Philip Davis and the PLP

BRAVE NEW DAY: PM Minnis concedes election to Philip Davis and the PLP
Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis stands with his wife Anne and grandson as he delivers his election victory speech in Cat Island.

Davis acknowledges impact of voter disenfranchisement, supression, and COVID-19 fears on voter turnout

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Davis will be the next prime minister of The Bahamas, according to unofficial results last night.

Outgoing Prime Minister and Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis phoned the Cat Island, Rum Cay, and San Salvador MP to concede his party’s defeat sometime around 9pm, less than two hours after the close of the last polling station at 7.30pm.

Based on unofficial figures, the FNM appears to have retained only seven of the 35 seats the party won in its 2017 sweep.

Those remaining seats are St Annes Adrian White, St Barnabas Shanendon Cartwright, and Minnis’ seat Killarney in New Providence; Central Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson, East Grand Bahama Iram Lewis, and Marco City Michael Pintard in Grand Bahama; and Long Island Adrian Gibson.

The Parliamentary Registration Department will conduct the official recount today with results expected to be completed by this evening.

In an emotional victory speech on stage in Cat Island, Davis thanked his constituents and the wider electorate for their confidence and promised to govern with both humility and determination.

“To those who voted PLP today, I promise to work hard to justify your faith in us,” Davis said.

“For those of you who voted for a different party today, I pledge to work hard to overcome your doubts.”

For his part, Minnis released a statement that conceded his party’s defeat and expressed gratitude to Bahamians for his term in office.

Minnis confirmed his intention to lead the FNM in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition.

In Cat Island last night, Davis acknowledged a number of factors that likely impacted voter turnout that he pinned on the outgoing administration.

“Many of you didn’t vote at all today because the snap election took you by surprise and you weren’t able to register on time, or transferring from one constituency to another was deliberately made too difficult for you. Many of you didn’t vote today because you are afraid of being exposed to the (COVID-19) virus, the protocols to protect voters were only published at the last minute.”

He said: “It is the first time in our modern history that a government has worked to disenfranchise voters and suppress turnout. But I want to say tonight whether you voted PLP or for the other party, whether you came out to vote or you weren’t able to you, our government will serve all Bahamians.”

Davis remarked on his political journey to becoming the nation’s leader, noting it was a feat he did not dare to dream of as a young child but became attainable due to family support and mentorship.

He pledged to ensure his party’s governance would make the electorate feel prouder and producer with each passing year.

“If you saw me as a small child running around in Cat Island. You might not have thought — now there is a future prime minister. I would have never had dared to dream such a thing myself but we never know what God has in store for us. I may not have started with much but I was blessed with the advantages that really matter. I had grandparents who loved me, a mother and a father who believed in me.

“Tonight I’m missing sorely those who are no longer with us, those who made me who I am. It is because of them this whole incredible journey was possible. My parents Brave and Georgie, Carlton Rolle, my teacher in Old Bight, Petey Galanis who saw that I could be an attorney before I did. And then my father who believed that the PLP was the answer to inequality and injustice, and the vehicle for our nation’s progress.”

Davis continued: “Sir Lynden Pindling who believed I could serve the Bahamian people in Parliament. You see how blessed I’ve been? This is what I want for all Bahamian children.”

“Even with the best mentors, the journey to this moment was not always smooth. Setbacks, disappointments, and losses, we are not defined by all those moments but how we respond to those moments. We have to dust ourselves off, get up and keep going.”

He said: “It’s easy to do that when you have a wonderful family by your side. To my wife Anne, I want to thank you for your support and hard work, and encouragement, we did it. You will be a very beautiful First Lady. To my children, who are all here with me, nothing gives me greater joy than your achievements and seeing the wonderful people you have become.”

“I want to thank the volunteers across the country who were the people power behind this campaign,” Davis said.

“I especially want to thank those who were with us at our lowest point in the days and months after the 2017 election. When we needed to rebuild the party and renew our spirit I want to remember those particularly shortly after May 10 2017 because together those who were there, we did something special.”

Last night, Davis added: “For all those who called to say they were praying for me, thank you, your prayers have surely lifted us all up. I am profoundly grateful to you for giving me the chance to serve you. I will not forget any of the people I have talked to along the way in this journey. I will not forget the tough questions you all had for me or your struggles, and I will not forget your hopes and dreams for yourselves and for our nation. This victory belongs to you.

“In the morning we will rise as one nation and meet the challenges ahead, may God bless you, and may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

About Ava Turnquest

Ava Turnquest is the head of the Digital Department at Eyewitness News. Her most notable beat coverage spans but is not limited to politics, immigration and human rights, with a focus especially on minority groups. In 2018, she was nominated by the Bahamas Press Club for “The Eric Wilmott Award for Investigative Journalism”. Ava is deeply motivated by her passion about the role of fourth estate, and uses her pen to inform, educate and sensitize the public.