Election, Uncertainties & Many Firsts

AuthorDerence A. Rolle Davis
The Law: The Social and Economic Effect on The Bahamas 2000 - 2020
During this period of growth and development in Bahamian history and
having reached at least two decades of independence, The Bahamas also saw
many firsts as it embarked upon embracing the equal opportunity agenda.
Women within The Bahamas therefore saw more opportunities to be recognised
and to take leadership than ever before.
For instance, Dame Joan Sawyer achieved several firsts and led the
judiciary, the third arm of government, for more than five years when she was
appointed the first female Chief Justice in 1996. Dame Joan was later appointed
first female President of the Court of Appeal, the highest court within the
country for several years, replacing Edward Zacca. The Hon. Janet Bostwick was
the first elected female to the House of Assembly. Dame Ivy Dumont succeeded
Sir Orville Turnquest as Governor General of the Commonwealth of The
Bahamas in 2002 and in so doing became the first female Governor General. The
first female Deputy Prime Minister, Cynthia “Mother” Pratt was also named
during this year.
Additionally, in 2005 Wendy Craigg became the first female to be
appointed as Governor of the Central Bank, replacing Julian Francis. Vernice
Walkine was named the first female Director General of Tourism as Vincent
Vanderpool Wallace demitted office. These are significant to show that although
many consider women as in the minority this is clearly an indication that in The
Bahamas they are not.
The year 2017 marked the first time in The Bahamas that a sitting Prime
Minister was unseated during general elections. Veteran politician and Prime
Minister, Perry Christie, the representative for the constituency of Centreville lost
his seat to a novice Parliamentarian, Reece Chipman.
The FNM government politically slaughtered the PLP in a landslide
victory in the general elections, winning 35 of the 39 seats. Phillip Davis became
leader of the PLP. The makeup of the Cabinet is 17 members of Parliament and
one senator, for a total of 18, excluding the PM who determined that he would be
without a portfolio. Note that the previous administration had 13 Cabinet
members, which included the PM and DPM.

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