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Opposition wins general election - Prime Minister concedes defeat

Published:Thursday | May 11, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Perry Christie

NASSAU, Bahamas, (CMC):

Prime Minister Perry Christie conceded defeat late Wednesday as voters sent a clear signal about the political future of The Bahamas following a keenly contested general election.

Shortly before 10 p.m. (local time), Christie, the veteran politician, called leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) Dr Hubert Minnis.

"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 honour 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 not believe in victimisation and neither do we" and that " we will not deny any Bahamian access to opportunity based on partisan politics".

... Auditor general to investigate how money was spent

Hubert Minnis is warning those who abused positions of trust in the country that "(they) may 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," he said.

The prime minister-elect, who took the stage at the FNM celebrations, 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 promised to implement term limits for the prime minister and promote "Bahamian ownership in the economy".

In recent years, the incumbents in Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts Nevis, Jamaica, St Lucia, Guyana, Montserrat, as well as 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, the 15-member Caribbean Community regional grouping and the United States.