The passing of the late Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, who was elected to the House of Assembly in September 2021 to serve as the Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, has triggered the need for the holding of a by-election to fill the vacancy.
The various political parties and independents interested in contesting the seat are said to be in discussions about who will represent them as candidates. However, the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Chairman of the governing Progressive Liberal Party said in a statement that the party would not be accepting any requested for candidacy until after the funeral services for Wilchcombe. Mitchell said, “there’s a funeral which has to take place when that is done then we can start talking about what transpires. All this stuff that you see in the public domain about this name, the next name and who is gonna do what, all of that is simply disrespectful, premature and not something which the party should be engaging in at this point in time.”
Former Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, Parkesia Parker-Edgecombe told ZNS News, “due process is definitely going to take place. I know within the party (FNM) leadership will speak more to that. But as the former Member of Parliament for the West Grand Bahama and Bimini constituency I can say that we will definitely be putting out best foot forward and trying to capture that seat at this time.”
The Coalition of Independents Leader Lincoln Bain says that they intend to run in the upcoming by-election. “We think its time for real meaningful change. We need to put someone in the House of Assembly, our organization in the House of Assembly who is gonna really fight for the Bahamian people. We need a voice for the people in the House of Assembly and that’s exactly what we are calling on West Grand Bahama to do,” Bain said.
When asked if a candidate has been ratified Bain said that his party is in the final processes of doing so. He said, “we cannot release the names right now but I can assure you that we’re gonna put someone there who the people believe in and who is gonna stand up and fight in the House of Assembly for the people.”
The Leader of the Free National Movement and Leader of the Official Opposition, the Hon. Michael Pintard declined to comment.