North Abaco MP seen handing out $50 bills
As the 2022 General Election nears, North Abaco MP Darren Henfield was seen in his constituency over the holidays handing out $50 bills to his constituents in addition to Christmas toys to kids in the community.
Constituents said it was strange that Henfield would be handing out money for Christmas when he has been largely absent from the constituency since the 2017 General Election. They questioned if the decision to put money in their hands was an attempt to buy their votes ahead of the General Election.
The North Abaco MP’s popularity plummeted following the insensitive burials of 55 unidentified Hurricane Dorian victims on Abaco earlier this year.
He also put $50 in the hand of the mother of PLP aspirant Dennalee Penn, who has been campaigning in the constituency in recent weeks and hopes to unseat Henfield in 2022.
Henfield faces an uphill battle on the road to re-election as he no longer has the support of long-serving North Abaco MP and former prime minister Hubert Ingraham, who is upset with Henfield and the FNM’s leadership over the handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, among other things.
Reports of Henfield spending big money on the ground comes days after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis shrugged off questions about campaign finance reform before the next election during his recent trip to Abaco.
Minnis campaigned on the promise of campaign finance reform and promised to bring legislation during his five-year term.
However, his talks changed earlier this year when he arrogantly told reporters that he has “seven more years” to fulfill this promise.
It is unlikely that campaign finance regulations will come before the next election.
The absence of this important legislation means that persons awarded contracts by a government can spend unlimited funds to try and get that government re-elected.
A large amount of contracts are currently being given out by the government, something campaign finance reform will help to control.
200 contractors were engaged for $20 million sidewalks that seemed out of place on some streets and are not necessary at a time when the country’s economy is in free fall.
On Monday, the prime minister travelled to Cat Island, the constituency of Opposition leader Philip Davis, for the signing of a $3.1 million government water supply contract on the island.
The lack of campaign finance regulations also allows candidates to use any means necessary to spend their way into office, including handing out money and calling it a Christmas gift.