BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT – FNM Grand Bahama chairman David Thompson said he will “continue to embrace” Edison Key as an important part of the party despite the Abaco MP’s decision not to join his colleagues in boycotting the House.
“We love him; we cherish him, and we want him to stay with us,” Mr Thompson said when asked about Mr Key’s decision not to join the opposition’s walkout following the suspension of their leader, Dr Hubert Minnis.
Mr Thompson said the FNM believes in freedom of expression. Every member of the party, he said, has a right to their opinion.
“Let me indicate that the FNM came about as a result of us believing that every man, woman, and child, has a right to be heard, and a right to their opinion; they have a right to freedom of speech and expression – that is their right to do what they think is right,” he said.
“We in the FNM believe that everyone is important and that each has a contribution to make, and for that reason we understand that he had a mind that caused him to do what he did. That does not separate him from us, from being my brother as a fellow FNM. I continue to love and cherish him as an MP for the FNM.”
Mr Key, MP for Central and South Abaco, was also a no-show at the party’s mini-rally on Mackey Street on August 8.
The episode caused DNA leader Branville McCartney to describe Mr Key as a “political prostitute” and warn FNMs to keep an eye on him.
But Mr Thompson said as far as he is aware, Mr Key has no problem with the FNM or the leadership of the party.
“Members are free to sometimes express their own opinion and views,” he said.
“I continue to embrace Key as important part of our party and what we hope to achieve in the building of our tent. We invite all to come and join us.”
Mr Thompson has also invited DNA leader Branville McCartney – the former FNM MP for Bamboo Town – to return to the fold.
“I am keeping a close watch on Branville McCartney; I invite him to come back home to us where he knows that under this tent he has the freedom to do all that he chooses to do in a party that will embrace him.
“We are not for throwing people out, we are for bringing people in,” Mr Thompson said.
When he was asked about the issue, Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, a longtime FNM member, did not wish to comment.
“I reserve comments at this time, but the weeks and months ahead will be very interesting,” he said.
East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest said he felt that McCartney went too far in his judgment of Mr Key.
“I believe they are very strong words, I won’t go that far. All of us have disagreements, but I believe it is unfair to say he is a prostitute.
“Mr Key decided to take a position and we (have to) respect that,” Turnquest said.