Sensing weakness and division in the United Democratic Party’s West Bay stronghold, the opposition is moving in for the kill.
The People’s Progressive Movement will run a full slate of candidates in the district for the first time in the 22 May election.
Three candidates have already been announced and Progressives Leader Alden McLaughlin hopes to confirm a fourth before Saturday’s annual party conference.
“This time we hope to field a full team in West Bay. With the split between the UDP and the weakening of Mr. Bush’s support generally, we believe we have a real chance of breaking into what has hitherto been a UDP stronghold,” Mr. McLaughlin told the media on Wednesday.
Ray Farrington, Woody DaCosta and Capt. Bryan Ebanks have already been confirmed as PPM candidates in the district.
Mr. McLaughlin said the party was in advanced talks with two individuals, including one who has already declared as an independent candidate, about filling the fourth slot on the ticket.
At the last election the UDP swept all four seats in West Bay.
But Cline Glidden and Rolston Anglin split from the party following the arrest of UDP Leader McKeeva Bush in December.
Mr. Glidden and Mr. Anglin are both expected to run in West Bay, though they have not yet confirmed whether they will stand as independents or as part of a new group.
Mr. McLaughlin said the uncertainty in West Bay created an opportunity for his party. The PPM opened an office in the district earlier this month with the leader announcing his intent to break into “fortress McKeeva”.
At a press briefing this week ahead of Saturday’s party conference, the Progressives leader expressed confidence in his team.
“We have a whole slate of new candidates and some younger candidates who have really changed the face and to a certain extent the focus of the party.
“We believe we are well placed to present to the country a team, a plan and a set of policies, which will excite the country and give the country hope that we have the wherewithal to lead the country through what is still a difficult time.
“We have 14 candidates and I expect we may well have a 15th candidate by the time of the conference.
“We are in advanced stage of discussions and going through the usual PPM selection process to name the 15th candidate, the fourth candidate for the district of West Bay.”
Saturday’s conference at the Family Life Centre in George Town will feature a guest speech from country singer Jimmy Wayne.
The party’s candidates will be introduced and Mr. McLaughlin will outline some of the party’s ideas.
He added: “Once we get through the conference we move on to nomination day on Wednesday and then the campaign really begins in earnest.”