Andre Rollins speaks in the House of Assembly.
367 total votes.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Deputy Chief Reporter
FORT Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins says it was “irrational and selfish” of Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis to request that the “rebel” seven members or Parliament who ousted him from the post of Opposition Leader in the House of Assembly resign, as he suggested the Killarney MP had a “lust for power”.
Dr Rollins was frank when it came to the group’s game plan and revealed to The Tribune on Friday that he hoped their bold move in the House of Assembly on Wednesday would lead to senior FNMs successfully calling Dr Minnis to a series of closed-door meetings with the intention of helping him to realise what was important.
He defended their actions as a move that “spoke truth” in acknowledging that the parliamentary Opposition had suffered from an “inexcusable lack” of competent leadership.
“Asking for the resignation of 70 per cent of your representation in the House of Assembly is irrational and selfish," Dr Rollins told The Tribune. "I am hopeful that senior, respected members of the FNM will be successful in calling Dr Minnis into a series of closed-door meetings with the intention of helping him to realise that the welfare of the party is far more important than the lust for power.”
The MP said seeking to reduce the Opposition’s presence in Parliament to just three of 38 seats was not the best course of action. He went on to accuse Dr Minnis of swearing that he would break up the party if there were any attempts to remove him as leader.
This comes after Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key told The Tribune on Thursday that Dr Minnis could not force him out of the party and Central Grand Bahamas MP Neko Grant’s “respectful” rejection of the leader’s request that they all resign.
Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly and St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman, in speaking to ZNS News, also said they had no plans to resign from the party.
Dr Rollins continued: “Dr Minnis recently advised me that if there was any attempt to remove him as leader he would - and I quote - 'break up the party'. I want to publicly ask Dr Minnis, in light of his irrational request for the resignation of practically the entire FNM parliamentary team, whether he still intends to 'break up" the FNM party?
“I believe that I can say without fear of contradiction that none of the seven, several of whom have been members of the FNM far longer than Dr Minnis, is motivated by any selfish desire to 'break up the party'. Our mission is to speak truth to power, whether it be in relation to the governing party or the opposition, for the purposes of promoting the advancement of our country.
“Our actions yesterday spoke truth in acknowledging that the parliamentary opposition has suffered from an inexcusable lack of competent leadership and serious change is desperately needed for the sake of our country and the Bahamian people.
“Therefore, I will be recommending to my parliamentary colleagues that we seek to join senior figures within the FNM in a closed-door meeting with Dr Minnis to determine the best course of action for the party under these difficult circumstances. Seeking to have your party's representation in the House of Assembly reduced to three out of 38 seats, or less than 10 per cent, certainly does not qualify as the best course of action.”
Dr Minnis was blindsided by the seven MPs when House Speaker Dr Kendal Major revealed on Wednesday morning that they had submitted a letter of no confidence in the Killarney MP and revealed that they voted to have Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner be the new Opposition Leader.
This letter was also sent to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, who has to officially approve the request. On Sunday afternoon she will formally present the Instrument of Appointment of Leader of the Opposition to Mrs Butler-Turner at Governmnet House.
On Wednesday night at the FNM’s headquarters following the stunning move by the rebel seven, Dr Minnis called on the MPs to do the honourable thing and resign from the party or face disciplinary action.
Speaking to a raucous crowd of supporters, Dr Minnis said he thanked God that the MPs launched their plot before the party was victorious at the 2017 polls, as their actions would have destabilised the government.
He called the plot a “stunning usurpation of the very essence of the democratic right of a political organisation to determine its leadership.”
Likening the party to a sea-faring vessel, he said that the ship has already left the harbour and no “mutineers” will stop its course towards Government House.
None of the dissident MPs were present at the meeting.