NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Arinthia Komalafe, 38, was elected on Friday night as the first female leader to head the Democratic National Alliance (DNA).
Komolafe won with a total of 64 votes and her competitor, Kendall Smith, received 14 votes.
Buscheme Ambrister was elected as the party’s deputy leader and Omar Smith was elected as the party’s Chairman.
The DNA’s election and convention were held on Friday night at the Courtyard Marriott.
When asked about her new post on Friday, Komalafe said gender is the least of her concerns.
“Participants have really asked things like, ‘is this individual competent to lead the task, and can she take us where we need to go’. Those are the questions that we have been focused on,” Komalafe said.
“The fact that my gender will be highlighted, I have no problem with that, but if it will inspire more females to take on a leadership role then hats off to that.
“There are no words to describe how I feel right now. I think the support goes to show for all the work that we’ve put in for several months. I’m just so happy for that right now.”
Meanwhile, the DNA’s deputy leader, Buscheme Ambrister, did not hesitate to express his concerns on Friday about the issues that are affecting Bahamians, mainly the need for employment.
“Once people are working, then everyone is happy,” Armbrister said. “When employment is up, crime is down, and everybody is happy. We need to get people back to work.”
Armbrister claimed that as it now stands, Bahamians are “sick and tired” of both the Free National Movement and the Progressive Liberal Party.
“And if you can still remember the bitter taste the PLP left in your mouth, and know that right now you’re catching hell from the FNM, then what is there to hold on to,” Armbrister asked.
“All you have is hope in the DNA. It’s a big task… but what we need to focus on is not the parties itself, but the Bahamian people. We can’t keep doing the same things repeatedly.”
Omar Smith, the DNA’s newly-elected chairman said that he believes that this time, more than ever, Bahamians will “rise to the occasion” and give some consideration to electing a new party.
The DNA party has vied to capture the government in two consecutive general elections, 2012 and 2017.
The party, then led by Branville McCartney and his deputy Chris Mortimer, was unable to capture a seat in either of those elections.