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Rebel Seven Hit Out At ‘Absurd’ Expulsion Plan

(L-R) Hubert Chipman, MP St. Anne's; Edison Key, MP Central and South Abaco; Richard Lightbourn, MP Montagu; Loretta Butler-Turner, MP Long Island, Neko Grant, MP Central Grand Bahama; Theo Neilly, MP North Eleuthera and Andre Rollins, MP Fort Charlotte. Photo: Shawn Hanna

(L-R) Hubert Chipman, MP St. Anne's; Edison Key, MP Central and South Abaco; Richard Lightbourn, MP Montagu; Loretta Butler-Turner, MP Long Island, Neko Grant, MP Central Grand Bahama; Theo Neilly, MP North Eleuthera and Andre Rollins, MP Fort Charlotte. Photo: Shawn Hanna

By TANEKA THOMPSON

Tribune News Editor

tmthompson@tribunemedia.net

THE seven “rebel” Free National Movement MPs who ousted Dr Hubert Minnis as leader of the official Opposition in Parliament have called plans to expel them from the party “absurd” and “perverse”.

In a statement released last night, the group said the actions taken by the FNM’s Executive Committee “to initiate expulsion proceedings” against them shows that party officials “are obsessed with the embarrassment suffered by Dr Minnis, instead of the interests of the FNM as an organisation, or the larger national interest”.

The statement came from Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner, Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly, Central and South Abaco MP Edison Key and Ft Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins.

The group called accusations from Dr Minnis that their actions were undemocratic “ridiculous,” stressing that the time had long passed to put the country’s interests ahead of the “selfish political pettiness of Dr Minnis.”

The statement said: “To be clear, it is absurd and perverse that our party would entertain the thought of expelling us for taking the same actions that the dissident eight – the founders of the FNM – took against Sir Lynden Pindling and the PLP in response to our country’s first preoccupation with the cult of personality in a post-Majority Rule Bahamas.

“We, the majority of the FNM’s parliamentary team, were constrained to seek the assistance of the governor general in the best interests of the FNM and the wider interests of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

“We acted in response to serious concerns about the performance of the leader of the opposition and those concerns do not go against the provisions of Article 53 of the FNM’s constitution in any way. Indeed, to assert that they do is to put forward the notion that the FNM is nothing more than a dictatorship, where concerns voiced about the leadership are met with violent intolerance. That is a form of fascism. The FNM was formed as a check against such dangerous political overreach. We wish to remind Dr Minnis that we live in a democracy.

“The ridiculous suggestion that our actions were treasonous or undemocratic suggests a lack of understanding the difference between the political party and the state. Any accusation that our actions were unlawful would only be appropriate if Dr Minnis were a reigning monarch. However, we must remind all Bahamians that Dr Minnis is not a king.”

The MPs added: “In taking these actions, we are enthusiastically supported by FNM supporters and Bahamians-at-large. The FNM was conceived in dissent and nurtured in struggle. The actions taken on December 7, 2016 were envisaged by the framers of the Bahamas’ Constitution, men like Sir Arthur Foulkes and Sir Orville Turnquest, together with founding fathers of the FNM like Maurice Moore and Dr Elwood Donaldson who are still alive today, as a democratic means of removing an ineffectual leader of the opposition. We have acted lawfully in accordance with our nation’s supreme law.

“We remind Dr Minnis that the FNM is at its root a party that was built on principled dissent in response to political intimidation. We proudly carry on that tradition of fighting against those, like Dr Minnis, who wish for us to cower in the face of threats of expulsion for speaking truth to power. Our country desperately needs people of courage to rise up and take a stand. We stand with men and women of courage.”

Last Wednesday, seven of the FNM’s 10 MPs wrote to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling asking her to remove Dr Minnis as leader of the opposition, invoking Article 82 of the Constitution. The MPs asked Dame Marguerite to replace him with Mrs Butler-Turner.

The Long Island MP was officially sworn in yesterday.

After a special meeting at FNM headquarters on Wednesday night, Dr Minnis, who is still FNM leader, called on the dissenting MPs to quit the party or face disciplinary action. The MPs have said they have no plans to resign.

Letters outlining the charges against the MPs was sent to them on Friday.

Comments

Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

The one you need to get rid of is Minnis not the 7 MPs.

It seems that the FNM Executive are intent on trying to ram down our throats a man the electorate don't want.

They will kill the party if they keep on with their out of touch ways.

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Honestman 5 years, 5 months ago

Minnis needs to go NOW. End of.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

I am begging Minnis & Collie ........... please expel the Rebels .......... do us all a favour and re-write the political landscape for 2017 ......... for better or for worse

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goodbyebahamas 5 years, 5 months ago

See my Bahamian friends, united you have all PLP members(Sheeprunner12)$hitting in their pants begging you to stop Turner, McCartney from rescuing the nation. LOL......Wait until Jan. 9th, the people will see the PLP $hit in their pants LIVE as the (UBC) United Bahamian Council enters the arena.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 5 months ago

Meanwhile: It's a fundamental principle under international law that nothing a dictator like Crooked Christie does in violation of the constitution of The Bahamas need be honoured by the Bahamian people. Crooked Christie has violated every democratic principle and ideal of the Bahamian people set out in the Constitution of The Bahamas as regards his "personal" dealings with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd (CTFE) against the wishes and interests of the Bahamian people. By contravening and usurping every known convention and basic law of governance embodied by of our Westminister Parliamentary System of Government for the protection of the constitutional rights of every single Bahamian, Crooked Christie's corrupt PLP government (not the Bahamian people's government) has no right or power whatsoever under international law to transact any business with his conflicted and equally corrupt Red China friends. Crooked Christie's Red China friends at CTFE are therefore on notice that they should not allow themselves to be "Fooked" by a Crooked Christie who no longer has any standing under international law to represent the interests of the Bahamian people!

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Reality_Check 5 years, 5 months ago

I do not agree with your apparent belief that we have no government at this time. The Bahamas has a government until such time that the Crooked Christie-led corrupt PLP government is replaced by another government. I do agree though with many Bahamians who now believe that getting rid of Crooked Christie should be done asap rather waiting on the next general election. The fact that there has been no sunshine at all on the various deals Crooked Christie has allowed himself to be coerced into making with his Red China friends for his own political survival, and the financial gain of members of his family and his cronies and their family members, will be sufficient grounds alone for the next government to rescind all of those tainted deals that wrongfully and unjustly rob the Bahamian people.

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MonkeeDoo 5 years, 5 months ago

We still need to find out about all of the family contracts at Baha Mar & The Pointe. Who got what and when ?

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xtreme2x 5 years, 5 months ago

Why don't they quit the fnm party and form their own, like Whitfield and crew did.Do she have the backing of the majority of FNM's. Why she did not do this a year after loosing the election to the PLP. Why wait 8months before the next election. Rollins/ Brad wants to be leader - mmm think that is like trying to mix oil and water together. (never work)

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

That is a D-average level analysis right there!!!!!!!

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theplpsucks 5 years, 5 months ago

minnis has to go and whoever wants him can go with him

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The_Oracle 5 years, 5 months ago

The original dissident 8 were dismissed from the PLP, foundered awhile and formed their own party, they didn't try and hijack the PLP! Which is what this smells like, trying to Hijack the FNM, therefore disregarding the rules of your own party. Should you be applauded for sabotaging your own party and duly elected leadership? You must be kidding. No matter who is backing you, it smells of desperation and rank insurrection. Resigning might save a margin of personal honor at this point, but would certainly be a day late and a dollar short. Should have been resigning before you petitioned for house opposition leadership. Bass Ackwards all around. But, perhaps if you take the DNA and Bran down with you the FNM might stand a chance!

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Greentea 5 years, 5 months ago

Tribune- these seven were not "rebels". It miscasts them and what they have done. Expand the vocabulary and find a more fitting descriptor.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

Heard ZNS News with the same propaganda nonsense .......... SHAME!!!!!

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viewersmatters 5 years, 5 months ago

I have been lost with confusion for a very long time but can some body please assist me by letting me know if Dr. Minnis is or has served as the PM of the Bahamas, and please assist me and inform me what on the earth has any of these 7 members did so spectacular for the Bahamas and the people?

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Alex_Charles 5 years, 5 months ago

people scream about democracy yet LBT rage quit the convention race. lol Every last one of them are contradicting themselves. Minnis is a terrible leader but was elected as party leader, the last time by no competition. He has a democratic RIGHT to remain as leader as his party descends into the bush to burn. What you are seeing is not a triumph of democracy, but a mockery of it from Perry to Minnis to LBT and Bran. The best thing that can happen is a coalition and even then expect personal gain and self interest to trump national interests once again.

We are NOT reforming our system, just changing the faces of power. Our system is just as rotten as that of America. However, we are at a point where we don't vote for the better choice, just who will screw things up at a slower pace.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

My dear Alex ............ do you honestly believe that any challenger stands a chance in the FNM or PLP to win a party election with delegates that are picked by the party Executive (that answers to the Leader)?????????? ........... Hell NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

The Leader shold be elected by every card carrying FNM or PLP party member ............ that is democracy

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 5 months ago

Most Bahamians fail to understand that a UK styled Westminster parliamentary system of government has been ill-suited for an independent Bahamas since July 10, 1973. Pindling quickly realized that it was all too easy for the leader of a political party to gain absolute control over the party by fully stacking the party's leadership apparatus with small minded loyal supporters and cronies who would always put their party leader above the well being of the Bahamas and its people. Our political parties do not have a true democratic purging mechanism for the party leader who invariably successfully hijacks the entire leadership apparatus of the party in order to cement his/her position as party leader with unquestionable and unlimited authority to remain in that de facto dictator role.

Hubbigity, Crooked Christie and the Dimwitted Doc are all from Pindling's school of thinking when it comes to gaining and retaining absolute control over the leadership apparatus of their political party, thereby capitalizing on one of the key weaknesses within our ill-suited system of government. Bahamians need to wake up to the fact that the political parties will always serve the hijacker's interests in obtaining unchecked power, with no built-in democratic mechanism for booting the hijacker when necessary for the good of the party and the Bahamian people.

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Economist 5 years, 5 months ago

Well_mudda_take_sick you are correct. That is why the PLP started the "dumbing down" process (no more elite Government High School) as soon as they were elected.

All developed countries have elite schools that produce thinkers.

Grade "D" or less is a perfect way to keep people subservient.

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sheeprunner12 5 years, 5 months ago

Check the new Jerome Fitzgerald high school diploma ma boy!!!!!!! ......... while his children are in private boarding schools ...... and city teachers have their children in private schools ........ our public schools are breeding grounds for dumb followers of the educated elite class (PLP and FNM)

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