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New Era Of Opposition Leadership Starts With Arguments Over Seats

Dr Hubert Minnis

Dr Hubert Minnis

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ALTHOUGH Parliament began yesterday with a pleasant exchange of formalities between House of Assembly Speaker Dr Kendal Major, Prime Minister Perry Christie and Loretta Butler-Turner over her new appointment as leader of the official Opposition, the session quickly turned contentious as the drama in the Free National Movement exploded into full view amid arguments over issues of legitimacy and the meaning of seating arrangements.

It was clear that the effects of last week’s decision by the “rebel seven” FNM MPs to express no confidence in FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and to seek Mrs Butler-Turner’s appointment as his replacement as leader in Parliament remained at the forefront.

For her part, the Long Island MP said she viewed her position as a privilege.

Her appointment, she said, “Did not occur outside the parameters of democracy and the parliamentary system of government which we adhere to and follow.”

The pleasantries, however, subsided when Dr Minnis began to speak.

The Killarney MP said he has no plans to resign as leader of the FNM, a response to social media rumours.

He said the FNM remains stronger than ever.

Regarding his opposition adversaries, he said: “In all of this, those seven members have caused more damage to themselves. As a matter of fact, they can now be referred to as a tumour that is cancerous.

“I speak on behalf of the FNM. The leader of the opposition, the member for Long Island, does not speak for the FNM.”

Parliamentarians have seating arrangements based on their roles in the House of Assembly and rank, and in light of his demotion, Dr Minnis, Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells and East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest were made to sit at the end of the first row on their side rather than their previous positions in the middle.

“This morning I was told that I have to sit in the extreme seat,” Dr Minnis said of the arrangement. ‘I was reminded that it was the seat that (former Prime Minister Sir Lynden) Pindling took.’”

However, newly appointed leader of Opposition business Theo Neilly later stood and said it was not his team’s decision to place Dr Minnis near the end of the row.

His statement prompted Mr Wells to rise and respond as he accused Mr Neilly of misconstruing Dr Minnis’ words.

Mrs Butler-Turner then rose.

“I do not believe the result of what has happened need to be belaboured,” she said. “The Bahamian people are anxious. We have in fact been referred in this House as a tumour or a mass. That is very well; we will not answer that call. We must be very careful when we refer to things such as that. This country is filled with people suffering from cancer that is carrying and taking their lives. Cancer in fact can be malignant or it can be benign. I imagine in this instance we will be that tumour. We will be highly malignant and we will grow.”

Before the spat, Mr Christie, in his first public remarks on the matter, said the governing party is not “concerned about the process that led” to Mrs Butler-Turner’s appointment, a likely response to the characterisation by Dr Minnis that his removal was undemocratic.

“There is a requirement for consultation between the person holding the office of leader of the opposition and the person holding the office of prime minister,” Mr Christie noted. He encouraged Mrs Butler-Turner to make the most out of her new responsibilities and to engage “constructively” with the governing side.

After the argument with the opposition concluded and Dr Major moved to the next item on the list, Mr Christie took to the floor to announce the sale of Baha Mar.

Comments

Publius 3 years, 10 months ago

There are no words for this level of foolishness in the Parliament of The Bahamas. Is Minnis really this simple-minded to haggle over what he knew would be a change of seats? And is he really this ignorant to invoke Pindling?

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Greentea 3 years, 10 months ago

Oui. Yes. Si. etc. etc. in every language. What a shame.

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Economist 3 years, 10 months ago

About right for Minnis. All about himself.

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TalRussell 3 years, 10 months ago

Comrades! Under the spell of confused fuzziness, the house Speaker Kendal rose to ask the red party's chief representative Minnis to take his seat to allow the Queen's official representative Loretta to stand to confuse the honourable house even further - all while the green party's senator Bran, the red party's point man's in the senate, looked down from the window of the upper red chamber. "Only in Bahamaland politics, you say's" Pity..."

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OMG 3 years, 10 months ago

Whatever Minnis is smoking , I want some. "the FNM remains stronger than ever" what planet is he existing on ?

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 10 months ago

Minnis and his two supporters should have been placed at the end near the gallery ........ why are they sitting up under the Speaker??????? ................. Rollins and Chippie should book-end the Sterling Seven ............ for what its worth ......... I will enjoy the show

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Gotoutintime 3 years, 10 months ago

Prayers are seriously required for our country!!

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Bahamaland 3 years, 10 months ago

Registration numbers will surely increase now...my appetite for politics and casting a vote has surely been renewed with this Butler-McCartney Coalition...now I gotta find my old voters card and go reguster.

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Rhetoric 3 years, 10 months ago

The headline is misleading There was no argument. Minnis commented that he was relocated to the end seat that was the same seat that Sir Lynden sat in.

Theo Neilly then started apologising and then Loretta explained what kind of tumour she was.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 10 months ago

"then Loretta explained what kind of tumour she was."

LOL. It's so funny that the people supporting Loretta believe they've "won" something. They seem blind to the fact that the only thing they did was divide the vote further. This is like King Soloman's decision to divide the baby between the two women. Only this time, I don't think any of the women love the baby enough to give it up.

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DillyTree 3 years, 10 months ago

Hardly, my dear ignorant ThisIsOurs! Keep watching. There's much more to come. Win or lose, it's far from over.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 10 months ago

Oh? Are you joining the UDP and Peoples Movement? Are more FNM's going to fall behind Loretta? Jokes. Can't wait for that to happen and the ensuing battle over who will be leader. No, Deputy leader. And who will be disgruntled in month 2 because they didn't get it. Popcaarn please. LOL. PLP all the way. ROTFL.

The main problem with this setup is that Loretta didn't get to be leader via a vote of "confidence", ironic isn't it? On her side she will swat hard at anyone who questions her authority. She will feel threatened because she knows she didn't get it the right way. From the other side, people will question her authority because she didn't get it the right way. The road ahead is clear, the baby is in danger.

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UserOne 3 years, 10 months ago

Divide the vote further? It looks like they are forming a coalition with DNA which will diminish the split vote. (Note I said "coalition", not joining parties.) That is the best move to go against the PLP in the next election.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow! All it took was a Senate seat to get Bran to turn over the DNA to LBT thereby abandoning and betraying all longtime supporters of that political party. Next will come a most interesting re-shuffling of the DNA's leadership apparatus along with changes to its slate of candidates for the next general election. It seems Bran was always about Bran and Bran alone as many of us suspected, explaining why his party was never able to secure a seat in the HOA. The implosion of the FNM now seems to have led to the implosion of the DNA, leaving only the PLP standing.

Crooked Christie's enrichment of the Dimwitted Doc's pocketbook has bought Christie much more than he (or his Red China friends) could have ever expected or dreamed. Yes, it certainly looks like Red China has decided and made it possible (by dishing out the cash) for Crooked Christie to have another five-year term. And to think the Obama-led U.S. government is worried about the Russians having interfered with the recent U.S. elections! What a joke!!

By the way, who in their right mind would now cast their vote for Lloyd or the constantly yapping white-haired little poodle?!

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realfreethinker 3 years, 10 months ago

Anyone who believe a coalition between lorreta and bran is a recipe for winning is more deliusional than perry christie. The elephant in the room is the fnm voters which accounts for at least 40-45% of the voters. The dna won 8% of the votes in 2012 the fnm 43% the plp 48+% do the maths

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

Wishful but not smart thinking. Now much more like FNM 20%, DNA 25%, Undecided 45% and PLP 10%, with most of the Undecided to vote for who they perceive to be the better person regardless of the voter's past party affiliation or the candidate's current party affiliation or lack thereof. It's the 45% Undecided that will keep the register of voters to an all time low until the last minute possible. They simply don't want (and don't need) to tilt their hand and for good reason. They want to make sure the Boundaries Commission has no opportunity to throw them into a bucket of voters where their vote will count less towards the outcome of the election they desire in their constituency. Bahamians thankfully are not as D - stupid as the PLP might think and have uncanny instincts.

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realfreethinker 3 years, 10 months ago

there is no data that shows undicided voters represent such a high %. his torically swing voters in the bahamas range between 10-15%. You are day dreaming.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

You must have been one of those rather naive and uninformed supporters Hilliary Clinton!

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licks2 3 years, 10 months ago

Hahahahahahahahahahaha. . .and the those whom the gods will destroy they first make mad. . .you are now lying to yourself. . .the blind leading the blind. . .yinna gat a date with one ditch just down the road there! Lol! Watch out nah. . .word on the street is that doc will not allow the "UBP-FNMs" and they will give their money to Bran and LBT. . . doc want to give the "lil" man a chance at the pie. . .that's why yinna "jooking him up" . . .he is the man for the people! Whether this true or not. . .IT HAS TAKEN ON A LIFE OF ITS OWN AMONG THE PEOPLE. . .AND NOW THE DNA HAS BECOME A PART OF THE "SELL-OUT" BACK TO THE WHITE UBP-FNM GROUP! Now it has two white persons who added to that perception. . .enough said. . .word to the wise! The race has been effectively handed back to the PLP or FNM. . .make me wonder if this was not a clever plot by doc to "kill" the DNA by the ego of its leader. . ."bait-and-switch" . . .throw him "lil power" and he can't resist. . .now he all over the place saying things. . .contrary to some of the things he stood for in the past! For example, when doc said they want to "talk" with the DNA. . .LBT WAS THE ONE WHO JUMP-UP IN THE PUBLIC AND SAID THAT THE FNM WAS THE ONE WITH THE "BRAND" AND BRAN MUST DISBAND THE DNA BEFORE SHE WOULD PAL-AROUND WITH HIM. . .THIS GER BE LONG! Now everybody saying something else. . .hehehehehehehehehehehe.....................I hope the FNM don't get rid of LBT. . .

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licks2 3 years, 10 months ago

This joining has effectively "neutralized" the DNA factor for CLEAR RUN-UP TO THE PMship for Doc. . .the seven and the DNA all one time! I may be sitting on the sidelines among these "political strategists" around here who cannot think their way out of a wet paper sack. . . I will do like Minnis, Pindling et al. . .don't give them any advice. . .stand aside and watch them self-destruct!! I will comment when this group eat its "own dung"! A party leader who stood before the public and lied to us about the "talks" that was going on with the DNA...lol!

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Economist 3 years, 10 months ago

Doc is a can't do, have done nothing in 4 years dud. He sure as hell will make sure that I don't vote FNM if he stays.

FNM needs new leadership period. And that includes the executive and most of the geriatric council.

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Allan 3 years, 10 months ago

Your figures are not correct

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

Rumours are running rampant that Bran has promised LBT she can run under the DNA banner in the Montagu constituency if she senses Long Islanders will not give her the support she believes she deserves and that this apparent fact has greatly offended and incensed the constantly yapping little white-haired poodle who has very foolishly and prematurely proclaimed his undying loyalty to the Dimwitted Doc Minnis.

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Allan 3 years, 10 months ago

There are times when silence is golden. For some in the political arena, this might be a good thing at this time,

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

This dimwitted greedy tyrant and the few who choose to cling to the party he has hijacked are going nowhere. His political wings have been clipped but good....he will now flounder around on the ground for a while making more noise than a squawking albatross suffering from excruciating labour pains, but thankfully he will never fly again over our country's political landscape!

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