Tourists, the Bahamas main source of revenue and only feet industry, kept business going as usual after Tuesday's (September 19) election in which Prime Minister Lynden Pindling's Progressive Liberal Party, campaigning on an independence platform, gained an overwhelming majority of seats.
Tourists, the Bahamas main source of revenue and only feet industry, kept business going as usual after Tuesday's (September 19) election in which Prime Minister Lynden Pindling's Progressive Liberal Party, campaigning on an independence platform, gained an overwhelming majority of seats. But at the same time the recently-formed opposition Free National Movement, which does not want independence from Britain in the near future, predicted a decline in foreign investment and eventual financial hardship for the island if it did gain its freedom. Mr. Cecil Wallaco-Whitfield, leader of the FNM, also reminded the public of Cubar Premier Castro's threat that 'if Britain couldn't take care of the Bahamas, Cuba would'.
Before going to the polls on Tuesday, premier Pindling said if his party won, the Bahamas, population 180,000, of which eighty per cent are black and relatively poor, would become independent in July 1973. After the elections, in which the PLP took 29 of the 38 seats with one tied seat to be recontested, he said he would keep his promise and take the Bahamas into a 'Western-oriented' independent state under a black nationalist government.
The scenes of joyful street celebrations after the PLP's victory became apparent were in contrast to a bitter and sometimes violent election campaign involving at least one suspected political killing, and bombings and arson. It was fought almost entirely on the independence issue and its economic ramifications, and independence opposition pointed to an initial decline in foreign investment and the tourist industry after Mr. Pindling first came to power five years ago and introduced black nationalist policies which allegedly scared away white investors, mostly from the United States. Another decline, said his opposition, would begin with independence.
In reply Mr. Pindling, a black 42 year-old Lendon-trained lawyer. blamed the Bahamian recession on financial problems in the United States. After the election, Mr. Pindling said he old not think it necessary to reassure foreign investors about the investment climate in the country. They would have to take the Bahamas as it was, he said.
SYNOPSIS: The government election in the Bahamas, where an overwhelming majority have voted for the Progressive Liberal Party which promises independence from Britain next July, has brought both joy and gloom to the little group of sun-soaked Caribbean islands. Joy to the PLP's supporters, and gloom to the opposition party, the Free National Movement opposed to independence.
For day party leaders, the black nationalist policies of the PLP, which first came to power five years ago under the premiership of Mr. Lynden Pindling, led to an initial decline in foreign investment then. It's also led, they say, to a decline in tourism, upon which the Bahamas rely heavily. The slip would begin again, they claim, under black nationalist independence soaring away white investors, mainly from the United States. Nevertheless the electorate, from a population of one-hundred-and-eighty thousand of which eighty per cent are black and relatively poor, voted in the PLP and Mr. Pindling, who explained the independence issue after his victory.