Former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette yesterday admitted that he would have liked to see an earlier date set for the Free National Movement’s convention.
He also suggested that if party members presented “practical” reasons to reschedule the event sooner in the year, some consideration could be given.
Mr Symonette further expressed “surprise” over the direction the party’s nomination process for a new chairman has taken. He hinted that there was an understanding that only one person would offer for the post.
Former DNA candidate for the Bain Town and Grants Town constituency Rodney Moncur and former Local Government Minister Sidney Collie are the only candidates vying for the post. The nomination process ended on Monday.
The FNM announced last Friday that a full convention is expected from November 15 to 19. At this time all positions, including the leader, are expected to be open for challenge.
“That’s the date the council has set,” Mr Symonette said when contacted, “everyone was asking for it and the council has had their say.”
Asked if he thought the convention could have been set for an earlier date, he responded: “I can see both sides of the argument from those who want it to be much earlier and others who have no problem with it.
“Personally I would have preferred an earlier convention. There is some feeling in the wider community that they would have liked this to be able to review the performance of the leader and then have sufficient time to act accordingly if needed.
“But nothing stops them from bringing it forward in the event that it’s not acceptable. Someone would have to go back to council and say why they think it can’t be and then they would decide whether to make the change for some practical reason.
“If you do it in November, then it would be closer to an (election) and I suppose tougher to manoeuvre.”
Regarding the upcoming vote for national chairman, Mr Symonette said: “I am surprised there was more than one hopeful. Usually in these things a person offers and there is an understanding that that will be it. But hey, it’s a part of the democratic process.”
Last week, the FNM announced that Mr Collie had been nominated for the chairman’s race.
Then on Monday, Mr Moncur announced his intent to vie for the post as well. He told The Tribune he believes he is the best choice for FNM chairman because the party lacks “a fighting machinery” and needs more people who “connect” to grassroots Bahamians.
Mr Moncur also criticised the FNM and the governing PLP, saying neither organisation had presented adequate strategies to prevent crime or pin down issues within the law that prevent murderers from being executed.
He said: “Essentially based on my political experience for the last 42 years, I think what is lacking is a chairman who has the capacity and the ability to organise the party and take the fight to the Progressive Liberal Party.
“The party lacks a fighting machinery and I think I have that capacity and this is fundamentally it.”
Asked whether he was concerned about criticism of his loyalty, having been a DNA candidate in the 2012 general election, Mr Moncur was adamant that he was not a turncoat. He said he was a Bahamian who was greatly concerned about the well being of this country.
Before joining the DNA, Mr Moncur, JP, headed the now defunct Workers’ Party.
This follows former Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson’s admission to The Tribune that he expects the next FNM chairman to be someone favoured by FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis.
Acting Chairman Brensil Rolle told The Tribune on Sunday that he will not run for the post. On Monday he said he planned to focus all of his attention on his 2017 election bid.
Mr Rolle was appointed as interim chairman when former Senator Michael Pintard resigned last month.