Bahamas Calling For General Elections May 7th

NASSAU, Bahamas – Remarks by Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham Prime Minister of The Bahamas on calling for an election on May 7th:

My Fellow Bahamians,

I address you tonight after serving as your Prime Minister for the last five years, but more importantly, as a husband, a father and a citizen of the country that we all love.

Over the last five years, there have been challenges, successes and above all, hope for the future.

As we’ve worked to achieve success and stability, there has been one guiding principle of my government:

Our Bahamaland belongs to us all. For as the well-known song reminds us:

This land is your land.

These are words we must never forget.

Since the election in 2007, we have been working nonstop to restore your faith and trust in your government.

That effort guided us as we confronted the Great Recession, which was the worst global economic crisis since Independence. It has been a tough battle, but we are winning that fight.

We are relentlessly and aggressively tackling the long simmering immediate effects of crime while addressing the conditions that have given rise to a culture of criminality by some.

This is fight we will not lose. And it is a fight I ask all Bahamians to join in, because Crime victimizes us all. It is a blight on our society that knows no Party and no creed. It makes no distinction. We, as a people, must stand as one against this menace perpetrated on our country; it is something too important for partisan politics to side-track us from..

Elsewhere, we are making progress in terms of economic recovery and national security. And, we have invested in making our country better every day.

These things were not done because we like roads or we like building; they were done because we love the people of our country.

My Fellow Bahamians:

I want to thank you for the privilege of serving you over many years in public life. I thank you for placing your trust in my leadership and that of my Party.

Now we look to the future and the next election. As we begin this process, I want to ask all of our citizens to commit themselves to an election that is truly fitting of this great democracy of ours.

Whatever the outcome, this will be an historic election on many levels. As of today I announce that the Register of Voters is closed; this means that there will be no more registrations and no more transfers of registrations. With the closing of the Register, it is my privilege to tell you that there are some 172,000 registered voters in the Bahamas; this is 22,000 more registered voters than in the last election and the highest number of registered voters ever recorded in the Bahamas.

No matter what Political Party you lean toward, the most important thing you can do if you are a registered voter is vote. So, please check or collect your voter’s card, make sure the information on it is correct, and if it isn’t, have it corrected at once.

Casting a ballot is a right of all registered voters. And we have strived to make sure that those registered voters who are unable to vote on Election Day because of travel schedules, hospitalisation, pregnancies, or government assignments overseas, will not miss their opportunity to exercise that right. Early voting will be made possible for those who are unable to cast a ballot on Election Day.

Equally as important, we must have a clean, free, fair and honest election as, these are the most sacred aspects of democracy and it is in that endeavour we invited, for the first time ever, international observers from the from the Organization of American States, Caricom and the United States of America to come to the Bahamas and see a truly historical event.

My fellow Bahamians:

It is now time for the General Election. It is time to return your government to you. Tonight, therefore, I ring the election bell.

I have the honour of informing you that, I have today advised His Excellency the Governor General to dissolve Parliament. General Elections will be held for the 38 constituencies of The Bahamas on Monday May 7th, 2012. The new Parliament will meet on May 23rd, exactly 5 years from the first sitting of the present Parliament.

Again, I thank this country from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you and God bless the Bahamas.

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