By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
FORMER Senator Heather Hunt has emerged as the front-runner to represent the FNM in the Yamacraw constituency, according to party insiders.
The Tribune understands the 31-year-old mother-of-three has been tapped by the party’s leadership to vie for the seat in the next general election.
When contacted by The Tribune yesterday, Mrs Hunt admitted that she had not completely reconciled the personal decision to return to frontline politics and declined to comment on whether she was in talks over a possible nomination.
However, she said she could not “run from the facts”.
“(Yamacraw) that’s where I’ve established relationships in the past from a very young age, and served on their executive (committee), but when the time is right and if it is meant to be that I represent the community in which I have a strong connection to, we will see.”
“In general, in the country we need more women in politics. I intend to continue to be one of the women in political life whether that means I’m going to be running in 2017 has yet to be determined, but what I will say is that I intend to be – as long as circumstances permit – one of the women in politics in the Bahamas because it’s just an absolute obligation that I remain.”
She added: “Now in what capacity I remain it’s a matter for my party, my leader, and for me after personal reflection as well.”
Less than 300 votes separated the former FNM candidate for Marathon from victor PLP MP Jerome Fitzgerald during the 2012 general election.
Mrs Hunt pointed out that she set out on the campaign trail in 2012 as a young mother with a three-month-old baby.
“While that may not have been the best fit for political life, I can’t sit down and cry about spilt milk now. What I’m contending with is, three years later, am I going to do the same thing now that I did in 2012?
“The decision I made in 2012,” she said, “with the experience of having served for two and a half years in the Senate, there are different things to consider.”
In Yamacraw, incumbent PLP MP Melanie Griffin secured another consecutive win for her party with a little over 400 votes ahead of FNM candidate Dion Foulkes.
The eastern New Providence constituency has long been considered a PLP stronghold as Mrs Griffin has held the seat since 2002.
Yesterday, Mrs Hunt elaborated on her connections with the area.
“I was in Torchbearers for years, I was on the executive (committee) of the Yamacraw constituency as a youth officer. I’ve campaigned not only there but in numerous party campaigns. I’ve just been around politics a very long time.
“My first campaign, I was very young but I was around when (Long Island MP) Loretta Butler-Turner ran for the first time in St Margaret in 2002. We need more women.”
“The public service was really inculcated in me from childhood. Girls in this country need more women that they can patent their life, the more girls and young women that we can attract into making the real sacrifice to be involved in public life.”
It has been rumoured that Mrs Hunt was not on good terms with the party’s leader since her resignation from the Senate earlier this year. The resignation came amid accusations from party insiders that FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis was attempting to rid the party of anyone who did not support him in the last FNM convention. Mrs Hunt has said that she resigned at the request of Dr Minnis.
However, a source told The Tribune yesterday that the pair had met recently to discuss Mrs Hunt’s candidacy.
Mrs Hunt reflected on her political career yesterday.
“I was honoured to be asked to run in the last election, at a young age and probably not at a time that it would have been expected of me to do so because of the stage of my career and the stage of my family life. With my background in mind and having served two years in the Senate, I really need to pay attention to those things.”