Former Bahamas PM loses constituency recount by four votes

Former Bahamas PM loses constituency recount by four votes

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Free National Movement (FNM) supporters surround member of Parliament for Centreville Reece Chipman (third from the left) after the recount of ballots for the Centreville constituency on Friday. Chipman defeated long-time Centreville MP and former Prime Minister Perry Christie during Wednesday’s general election. Photo: Ahvia J. Campbell

By Krystel Brown
Nassau Guardian Online Editor

NASSAU, Bahamas — Following an exhaustive recount that lasted just over 24 hours, Free National Movement (FNM) candidate Reece Chipman won the Centreville constituency by four votes, taking down former Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, who began his career in frontline politics before Chipman was born.

Chipman, 36, got 1,909 votes. Christie, 73, received 1,905 votes. The MP-elect said he is ecstatic and pledged to represent the people of Centreville with dignity.

It was unclear on Friday whether the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) would take the case to Election Court, but Chipman said he would be surprised if Christie pursued it further.

Chipman added: “It is a close race and if he endeavours to pursue the developments of this community for the next five years, then so be it. I’ll see him in Election Court.”

Christie, who remains the leader of the PLP, was not at the recount on Friday and has not made a statement about his political future. However, PLP trustee Valentine Grimes said Christie is “very upbeat”.

“[Christie] accepts the decision of the Bahamian people,” Grimes added.

Although Chipman is not a first time candidate, his story is being likened to the story of David and Goliath. Christie has represented the constituency since 1977 and was considered to be virtually untouchable.

Shedding a few tears as he hugged supporters, Chipman said now that the recount is behind him, the real work can begin.

“There’s a lot of work to do and we’re ready and up to the challenge,” he said as his supporters cheered.

“The main purpose for me is to build the spirit of the community back again. I intend to be result-oriented. I want to see things [happen]. I want to see plans move from beginning to end. Annually, we want to make sure that we see the results of my representation.

“We want to educate and make the community aware of all of the resources that are afforded to them so that they can hold me accountable for their resources. We also want to empower the community and encourage entrepreneurship.

“We want to take care of small businesses. We want to encourage the free tax zone so that they can have more money in their pockets and, of course, contribute to our economic development.”

The establishment of tax-free zones for Over the Hill and depressed areas was a primary plank in the FNM’s platform.

The FNM previously outlined its intention to provide Bahamians who live and invest in such communities with exemptions from the payment of customs duties on imported materials, exemptions from real property tax, business licence and other taxes.

Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian

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