With just two weeks to go until the country's general elections, the Bahamian blogosphere has been filled with political discussion. Blogworld yesterday compiled her usual Twitter Weekly Updates, which gave a good overview of the issues being discussed. The dark horse in the elections race (this is apparently the first year in the history of Bahamian politics that there is a strong third party contender – The Democratic National Alliance) tweeted:
@mydnaparty: @nicobet Our vision for ALL Bahamians is for us to be esteemed higher than any material or natural resources. We are worth so much more.
…to which she responded:
@nicobet: Great start–Details?>>RT @mydnaparty @nicobet Our vision for ALL Bahamians is to be esteemed higher than any material or natural resources.
Under the hashtag #Bahamas2012, @nicobet posted several tweets to the various political parties letting them know what voters were looking for:
@nicobet: #Bahamas2012 @YourFNM @MYPLP_Believe @mydnaparty We need a vision. We need deliverance from paternalism. We need, after all, a nation.
@nicobet: #Bahamas2012 Democracy is turning down the emotion & turning up the mind. Educate, investigate, interrogate. #DemandDebates
Other issues were also coming to the fore:
@nicobet: @sbaranha: Q: Which party transformed rusty steel into our national stadium? A: Communist Party of China. #DemandDebates”>>w/Chinese labour
@nicobet: Principles have to cut both ways. Under #PLP loan scholarships were being regularized, the way #FNM regularized mortgages. 6 of one & other. #
Edward Hutcheson, blogging at Weblog Bahamas, talked about the one-sidedness of the political discussions:
As May 7th approaches, all registered voters and people who we think are registered will be faced with a common problem. Someone is going to tell you how you should be voting. PLP, FNM, DNA or Independent.
It really does not matter, someone’s representative or even the candidate is going to get in your face in an attempt to have a one-sided discussion with you, based on their overly informed opinion. I would implore you to have the discussion, and, listen carefully to what they are saying. Those who would be fair will give you their opinion and not try to ‘win the argument’. Those who would try to win the argument will be coming from an environment where discussion is not really allowed, a place where persons dressed in the same colours are routinely slapped down for expressing views that are dissimilar or not as radical as they should be.
There are winners and losers in each election, but the real winners are the persons who can look over the fence or May 8th and say, ‘Good morning’ to their neighbour, sincerely.
In another post, he called politics “a game” in which “there are no rules”:
The game board is comprised of players who claim that they want what is best for us. They will say anything and do anything to get ‘another chance’, to do all the good things they would like to do for us. The good thing about political gaming is that we get to see them trying to do their best, but the worst of who they are always finds a way on to the stage. Those of us who are burdened with the task of voting, must be just as committed to our responsibility as citizens as the candidates are to playing their games. We will have to judge the newcomers by what they are saying and what we know about them from their public and business involvements. We will have to judge the experienced fellows as we relate what they have done to what they have previously said they will do.
Here is a suggestion. If you are still confused about what you hearing and all the stuff that is going on, get a hold of the recent financial disclosures made by the candidates and do the leg work to see which companies they are involved with. What you are looking for, are persons on opposite sides of the political spectrum who are actually business partners or associates, or who share responsibilities on different boards. If the company or association is a successful one, then you will have to question the disconnect between their public and private personas, which allows them to sit at the same table and make rational decisions but use public political behaviour to sow discord and separation among the persons they want to lead. We will have to have our own rules in place to deal with the political gamers.
Finally, Political Bahamas Blog republished mainstream newspaper articles which they felt were relevant, including criticism of key political parties not yet putting forward a manifesto and the impact that women voters could have at the polls.