Renewed calls for order at Bahamas elections
Opposition leader’s wife spat at during advance poll.
NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday May 04, 2012 – With tensions rising ahead of the Monday May 7 general election, Bahamian politicians have renewed calls for civil and orderly behaviour.
The appeals came after Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Perry Christie and his wife faced angry jeers from supporters of Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s Free National Movement (FNM) when they arrived at the advance poll earlier this week.
Christie said the couple were bombarded with vulgar and provocative insults as they pulled up to the entrance of the College of the Bahamas Hotel Training Institute. The perpetrators reportedly called Mr Christie a "sissy" and shouted at his wife to return to the United States.
Christie's wife Bernadette was reportedly spat at by an elderly man in a Free National Movement shirt who approached the car.
"There was somebody out there in a lacefront weave. She was just spewing venom at me," Mrs Christie said.
"We're beyond this. I don't know why people get so worked up. It's just a political process. You vote for who you prefer, give me the opportunity to vote for who I prefer," she added.
Former prime minister Christie said: "Anyone who knows me, knows I ain't no sissy. The point is that kind of talk is just so vulgar, unacceptable and inflammatory, because you see on the other side were PLPs and when they heard that we had to calm them down."
"We have to be very careful about moving forward. All political leaders must ensure that our supporters know that the leaders want them to act responsibly, conduct themselves responsibly and remove themselves from provocative situations. That's what we have to do to ensure that this democracy reigns supreme," he added.
FNM chairman Carl Bethel condemned the act as unacceptable regardless of the tense political climate.
"We are in a tense situation and sometimes people say things. But to spit, to seek to touch, to seek to hurt or harm anybody is absolutely unacceptable conduct," Bethel said.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham added his voice to the condemnation of the incident.
Speaking to members of the press at the airport in Central Andros, Ingraham said: "I condemn the action of anyone who would have spat on his wife. I don't think that anyone should call him names either."
Ingraham added that he takes no offence to verbal abuse from PLP supporters.
"When I went to the polls this morning, PLP supporters were there saying 'Hubert gat to go, Hubert gat to go'," he said. "I stopped the car, smiled at them, waved to them and moved on. No big deal."
There are 38 seats being contested in the May 7 polls, which are being monitored by observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).