BAHAMIANS today who offer themselves for leadership in government must be prepared to subject their personal ambitions and consider what is best for the Bahamian people and this nation called the Bahamas.
No longer can we entertain inexperienced leaders, no matter how clever they might be, even if their pride fancies the title of prime minister. Nor should their friends, in the best interest of their country, encourage them in their political ambitions hoping that they will eventually learn the ins-and-outs of governance.
In other words from this time forth, what’s in the best interest of the Bahamas and its people must be the prime consideration of anyone who offers for the top positions.
Also we must recognise that unless we want another five-year re-run of the incompetence of the governing PLP, three parties cannot enter the 2017 elections. The third party will always be the spoiler. As witnessed in 2012, it will win little, but will guarantee another PLP victory. It must be recognised that the Bahamas has always been a two-party system of government.
Although the PLP won 29 House of Assembly seats to the FNM’s 9 in the 2012 elections, the difference in the popular vote was not that wide — PLP 75,815; FNM- 65,633 and DNA - 13,225. If the FNM and DNA had been together, the FNM would have led in the popular vote.
In years gone by, we always thought that the late Sir Kendal Isaacs, former Attorney General, later Governor General, would have been the model prime minister for the Bahamas. However, despite his brilliance, his aristocratic bearing, his soft-spoken ways, he was not cut out for the political arena. In other words, he could argue his way to the top in the legal profession, but he lacked the cut and thrust to marshal the troops to victory in the political arena. If someone could have won the election and handed the premiership to him, we would have had honest government. But that was not to be. Sir Kendal relinquished his leadership of the FNM and later was sent “to the hill,” where, for a short time, he served as governor general.
Today the DNA is under the leadership of an aspiring politician, who covets – although lacking in the required depth of experience – the post of prime minister.
We don’t recall why Bran McCartney walked out on the FNM, but we understand it was a bitter clash with the leadership. Whatever it was, we recall thinking at the time of Hamilcar’s words to his son, Hannibal: “Son, before you can lead you must first learn to follow.”
Mr McCartney, anxious to lead the country, formed the DNA. Someone remarked recently that if he had remained with the FNM, he would have by now been nearer his goal of leadership.
For the sake of the Bahamas’ future, we urge that personal ambitions be submerged so that opposition forces can come together, hopefully to give this country the good government it needs and deserves.
The Opposition parties now have three years to get their houses in order in preparation for the 2017 election.
So far Dr Hubert Minnis, a well-meaning, dedicated man, but lacking in political skills, has held the party together. His deputy, a fiery, to-the-point woman, has the spirit and flair to appeal to the electorate. At present, these are the only two politicians contending for the top spot when the FNM goes into convention on November 21. By then, there might be other challengers as there are others who are thinking of throwing their hat into the ring. It is then that the party will have to decide.
However, if Dr Minnis and Mrs Turner-Butler are the only two contending for the top position, we believe that Mrs Butler-Turner, personality-wise, is the more colourful of the two and the likeliest to attract a following and pull the party together.
In the remaining three years, there will be other conventions. If in that time the party believes it has made the wrong decision, then there is always another opportunity to vote in the contender they believe best suited to take them into the 2017 election.
In the next few days, we shall know who the other contestants are. There are at least two gentlemen in the wings who would be excellent deputies, either of whom could step up to the plate should Mrs Butler-Turner not realise the political potential that we believe she has.
But when the FNM goes into convention next month, they should put personal ambitions on the side and keep theirs eyes on their goal — to retire the PLP from government, and select the best people to give this country the opportunity to breathe again and believe in the future.