Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM), Dr. Hubert Minnis will be sworn in as Prime Minister of The Bahamas in a ceremony scheduled for Thursday at 5:00pm (local time), following Wednesday’s landslide victory.
Up to late Wednesday, the official results were still outstanding but early returns showed that the FNM had won nine seats and the incumbent Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) had secured one.
In what has been described as the worst defeat of a ruling party in the country’s modern political history Prime Minister Perry Christie lost his seat in the constituency that he represented for decades.
However, Minnis, a medical doctor, easily won his seat .
Shortly before 10:00 pm Christie, the veteran politician called Minnis and conceded defeat.
“I called Dr. Minnis earlier this evening to congratulate him on his party’s victory. I understand as perhaps few others the challenges that await Dr. Minnis, and I wish him only success on behalf of our nation. He has my full support for a smooth transition.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Prime Minister of this great nation. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Bahamian people for that opportunity. To those who served alongside me, I thank them for their dedication to our shared ideals,” said Christie.
In response, Minnis told hundreds of supporters that those who voted for a party other than the FNM “have nothing to fear” adding that “our founding fathers did believe in victimization and neither do we” adding that “ we will not deny any Bahamian access to opportunity based on partisan politics.”
However the FNM leader warned those who abused positions of trust “(they) many have something to fear. We will give the Auditor General the money and tools he needs to find how the people’s money was spent and if there is evidence of criminality we will let the law take its course.”
The Prime Minister elect who took the stage at the FNM victory rally said it was a long fought battle “but victory is not mine. The victory is yours, This is the people’s time and I am your servant.”
In the run up to the general election Minnis campaigned on a platform of political and promised to implement term limits on the prime minister and promote “Bahamian ownership in the economy”.
Although Christie’s administration was rocked by a series of scandals he sought to assure Bahamians that the best was yet to come.
This election in The Bahamas – the island archipelago that gained independence from Britain in 1973, has followed the trend in the English speak Caribbean of ousting the party in power.
In recent years, the incumbents in Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts Nevis, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Guyana, Montserrat the Turks and Caicos Island all lost at the polls.
The general election was overseen by international and regional observers including the Organization of American States (OAS) the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) regional grouping and the United States.