By NICOLE BURROWS
WHO in their right mind is listening to Loretta Butler-Turner?
I stood back from the post-Free National Movement (FNM) convention slaying last week, hoping that within the following week of that occurring something meaningful would transpire and I could have something sensible, maybe even encouraging to write about. But it seems the passage of time has only led to the uncovering of more insanity.
I was also hoping, after Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, I could follow the next morning with some type of positive comparison between Clinton and Butler-Turner. The very next morning, it was more than apparent that I could not.
This breakdown-showdown in the FNM ... it really could not have gone any other way than this.
In her own words, Butler-Turner said not so long ago before the convention that she intended to be “a leader who will stay on the battlefield”. And doggone it, if she didn’t leave the next minute; she didn’t even reach the battleground. She didn’t even climb the crest of the mountain to get to the battleground to wage the war. Who on earth wages war from a valley one mountain removed?
The FNM leaders’ dancing on convention night was a sham. The level of artifice on display was nauseating. It reminded me of the very fake relationships some women have with one another, as depicted on equally nauseating reality TV, pretending they get along so well and seething at the thought of having to communicate at all with one another.
The whole thing was and continues to be a sham. The entire show put on by Hubert Minnis and Butler-Turner was like the show staged by unhappily married people. You live in the Bahamas - you’ve seen it. We’re together, just not together. We live in the same house, but we stay in different rooms. He sleeps on the couch, I sleep in the bed. We really can’t stand each other and so much has gone wrong between us but for the sake of our children, family, and friends, we’ll keep performing until the music stops, or the curtain drops, whichever comes first.
After all that has transpired between Butler-Turner and Minnis, who with a functioning brain is going to back Minnis as leader of the FNM, at Butler-Turner’s request, when she didn’t, and probably, secretly, still does not back him herself?
It’s done, FNM leaders and want-to-be leaders. Butler-Turner, Sands, Turnquest, Minnis … just pack it all in. Go back to your day jobs. This politics business is not working out for you. Politics is not your game. More importantly, the governance of our country is not for you.
Unless the FNM flushes all the tired, inept souls from their ranks and begins with a clean slate, they could easily be no more. Bahamians like to vote, don’t mind them saying they ain’t gonna vote in 2017; they like to feel a part of something big and important. A ‘no’-vote for the FNM, and a ‘no’-vote for the PLP only leaves a few viable alternatives.
And the FNM leaders ask, if not them (FNM), then who? The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)? No. Absolutely not. The only thing anyone can agree with the FNM about at this point is that the next government of the Bahamas cannot be a PLP government. So that makes the two of them good for nothing.
Bahamian people, do your country a favour; take your one good vote like it was your one good child and put it anywhere else it might have a hope of surviving. Whether the place you put your vote lies with the largest of the political party contenders - the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) - or another smaller party, or your independent representatives, put that vote with whomever among them makes the most sense and relieves us of this recycled foolery that is FNM and PLP.
All non-PLP, non-FNM groups or persons seeking to lead or represent Bahamians, you should be focused on all disenfranchised Bahamians within your earshot. And at this given moment, that number is large and ever-increasing.
Loretta Butler-Turner has shown us that she is either too temperamental, too wishy-washy or too backstabbing. And frankly none of those things are helpful for us, whether or not she seeks renomination in Long Island, whether or not she stays with the FNM on a special agreement and under special terms. As a leader, she has proven her lack of worth. And as a woman, I wish I could speak better of what she presents and represents. I, for one, am seriously disappointed, and I’m not even remotely interested in supporting the FNM.
Some folks are debating … was it the plan, if unable to oust Minnis as FNM leader by established procedure, that Butler-Turner and the other five MPs of the ‘Subversive Six’ find another way to make Minnis look foolish, by making the party look foolish and divide it even more? By creating even more disunity, you make the party as a whole look incompetent and Minnis becomes the obvious failure as its leader?
But that makes absolutely no sense and would be a very expensive and risky route to take; expensive because of the ridiculous amount of ‘convention money’ spent (which now keeps Butler-Turner bound to the party), but also because such a route is a gigantic political sacrifice, not to mention Duane Sands’ carriage being tied to Butler-Turner’s horse and now they both suffer the consequences. And in the end they look as foolish as they made or hoped to have made Minnis look? None of that makes sense. Maybe we’re just trying too hard to make sense of something that carries none.
Wherever you try to insert logic into the fiasco that is now the FNM, you simply can’t, particularly as it relates to the leadership race. So you’re left with two sad possibilities: Butler-Turner is a hopeless case, very weak and inappropriately in leadership and governance, or she’s a loose cannon waiting to blow at any moment, obviously with no place in leadership and governance.
The end result is, whether she intended to or not, whether she likes it or not, whether she wants to hear it or not, she has failed as a leader and needs to revert to a quiet corner with sealed lips like all the rest of the parliamentarians, or ‘exit stage left’ or right, whichever direction gets her off the stage faster.
And then, on the other side, in walks Alfred Sears, a man who, on the surface, seems like he might have what a Bahamian leader should, in the way of intelligence, experience, demeanour, some attractiveness, and dare I say a little charisma?
But Sears has been in and with the PLP for some time now, with nothing memorable to show. If he can’t do anything of consequence while in there with the rest of them now, how will he do it after now?
I don’t hear him saying anything different so far. His most recent statement just reiterates the problems we have. But we know the problems we have. We know the issues. What are the solutions? My job is to write about the issues; if you want to lead me, your job is to tell me what the solutions are. But the PLP as a whole has no solutions, or else we’d be well on our way to improvement. Though, I’m sure Bernard Nottage thinks we’re improving ... still gloating in the ‘no murders in July’ limelight, when the BEC/ BPL power outages probably have more to do with a reduction in murders than any measures taken by local law enforcement (should that murder number increase, again, I hope they will also take credit for that).
With Sears as a member of the no-solutions PLP, it will be interesting to see how far he will take his leadership bid. I’m sure he’ll run a good show. Because the most charming thing he may have on offer is his affiliation with the numbers bosses. I am indeed being facetious.
Bahamians of the PLP variety don’t like too much nice behaviour. They like dirt. They want to know you can keep their status quo … keep the crony pipelines flowing and keep rolling dirty. If Sears manages to shake off some of the dirt of PLP politics and appeals enough to voters of a bit more discerning variety, ie won’t go for the same old nonsense, will he then be electable enough? Can you support him as a lone ranger member of a party that has been instrumental in inculcating ignorance and hazardous behaviours in our people … for decades?
As unprepared as you might think the DNA is right now, consider that the only preparation the PLP and FNM have is that they’ve led you to the vapid life you now lead. They have all been there since the beginning, such that being there for a long time becomes the foundation for their platforms. But being around for a long time, in and of itself, is no good reason to be encouraged to stay around.
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