By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
FOX Hill MP Fred Mitchell yesterday brushed off reports that lawyer Fred Smith was considering a 2017 election bid in his constituency.
“This is a free country and all it takes is to be of sound mind and have $400,” Mr Mitchell told The Tribune. “I hope he qualifies. We will have a good reception waiting for him in Fox Hill.”
Mr Smith revealed to Tribune columnist Adrian Gibson on Tuesday that he was looking to campaign with the Free National Movement or as an independent - citing an alleged high level of corruption within the PLP and the dismal performance of the FNM as an Official Opposition.
Last night, Mr Smith confirmed that he was seriously considering his options; however, he said that he was now considering joining the PLP because he has been repeatedly been rejected by the FNM despite his consistent support of the party.
He maintained that he would still seek a nomination in the Fox Hill constituency in order to protect the Bahamas from Mr Mitchell’s long-term agenda to become prime minister. He questioned whether it was time to work with the PLP to reform the party so that it acted in the best interests of the Bahamian people. He pointed out that its new talent - like Dr Andre Rollins and Renward Wells - touted to be the face of change had mostly abandoned the party.
“I am seriously considering my options,” Mr Smith said. “I am considering joining the PLP because they are so corrupt and they have become a party of thugs and political abusers.
“It may very well be that I come in as the hatchet man and sweep it clean and keep it clean. I’m exploring my options. Both the FNM and PLP in recent decades have abandoned respect for the rule of law and it seems like getting power and holding on to power at all costs is the only motif.
“I consider Fred Mitchell a very dangerous politician,” he said, “very clever, an intellectual gymnast, demagogue and capable of extraordinarily adept spin-mongering. Someone like Fred Mitchell has potential to become prime minister. There’s been fighting for leadership of the PLP, and people like Bradley Roberts are passé and will soon be evaporating from the political scene.
“Fred Mitchell is a person that has a long-term agenda, he has always wanted to be prime minister and it may be that to protect the Bahamas from Fred Mitchell I should join the PLP and seek the party’s nomination.”
Mr Smith noted that his family had historically supported the PLP, adding that the FNM has not been kind to him. He recalled how the party refused him the nomination for the Pine Ridge constituency in the 2007 general elections despite the fact that he won majority support from members in the area.
He added that the FNM had stabbed its former chairman Michael Pintard in the back by making him a scapegoat in the ongoing controversy surrounding Save The Bays’ lawsuit against Canadian designer Peter Nygard.
“The FNM has on a number of occasions rejected me most unceremoniously,” he said. “Just like the FNM stabbed Mr Pintard in the back and made him a political scapegoat the FNM has not been kind to Fred Smith despite his offers to serve the country on many occasions.
“I have contributed over the decades to the FNM party many, many dollars to support them, worked diligently in managing the polls, helping to organise poll workers and working several election court cases for them.
“But the reality is that although they speak of having this big tent they are terrified of people who have capacity.”