By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Perry Christie said yesterday he is not surprised Desmond Bannister resigned from the Senate, claiming the former FNM cabinet minister “never had the mindset of a politician”.
Mr Christie’s comments came after Mr Bannister announced his resignation from the Upper Chamber, effective September 30.
The Prime Minister said he always thought Mr Bannister found the financial sacrifices of politics challenging, but said he wishes him well in his future endeavours.
“Desmond Bannister has always had a challenge, I think, of politics because he was a highly paid legal practitioner and he had to give up a lot, and this is my personal knowledge of him, and he had to give up a lot to become a minister. I think they made some effort to keep him as a minister by making some special arrangements to keep him so I am not surprised that he dropped out,” he said.
“I didn’t get the impression that he was positioned in his own mind of being a career politician. Now I don’t know what’s happening in the FNM and for that matter it really is none of my business to involve myself in whether they’re weak or strong and what is happening there, I only know that he has been a Minister of Education and he has been a contributor of public life and if he has chosen now to demit office and go about a career. I wish him well.”
But PLP chairman Bradley Roberts saw political reasons for the move.
“This latest act of political abandonment is a referendum on (FNM leader) Dr Minnis, whose leadership was weighed in the balance and was found woefully wanting.
“Further, this sequence of events clearly demonstrates for all to see that the support for and confidence in the leadership of Dr Minnis are waning by the day,” he said.
“Here you have a leader in Dr Minnis charged with the responsibility for rebuilding his party and is not only unable to galvanise his caucus, but is unable to remain in the House to effectively discharge his constitutional duties. He managed to get himself suspended over his foolish behaviour.
“Dr Minnis is well advised that creating a circus outside of Parliament and siding with those who would harm this country’s reputation in order to create confusion and to distract from the people’s business are not the qualities of effective leadership. Unless and until there is a paradigm shift in his leadership style, Bahamians should not be surprised if this disaffection within the FNM continues.”
Mr Bannister is the second FNM senator to resign since the FNM became the opposition last year. Former Minster of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing resigned in 2012. He was replaced by John Bostwick in February of this year.