Loretta Butler-Turner, leader of Opposition in the House of Assembly. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Deputy Chief Reporter
OPPOSITION Leader Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday said her remaining Senate appointments will soon be announced as she dispelled speculation that three community activists were among those being considered for appointment to the Upper Chamber.
She has also revealed that she intends to assume the position of Public Accounts Committee chairperson.
During a press conference last week, which followed her announcement that Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney was her first pick as leader of opposition business in the Senate, the Long Island MP told reporters that the remaining three appointments could cause “some shock, some awe and some surprises.” However, she said they would be a reflection of a microcosm of society.
The comments sparked a wave of speculation that Mrs Butler-Turner was mulling over activist Louby Georges, talk show host and former DNA candidate Rodney Moncur and activist Erin Green for the Senate.
It has also been speculated that former Senator Monique Gomez is also among those being considered.
However, when contacted yesterday, Mrs Butler-Turner told The Tribune none of these persons had been chosen.
“To be honest with you to best of my knowledge and based on where we are at I haven’t agreed on any of those to be senators at this stage,” she said. “There has been a lot of speculation (and) those are names that people are putting out there. But that is not the case.”
Last week, Mrs Butler-Turner’s appointment of Mr McCartney to the Senate raised further speculation over the strategy of the “rebel seven” who two weeks ago wrote to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling and House Speaker Dr Kendal Major expressing no confidence in FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis.
At the time of the announcement, Mrs Butler-Turner maintained that she and her colleagues will not be joining the third party, but stopped short of revealing how the resulting collaboration will influence the election campaigns of either party.
She said last week: “The significance is that we were able to even get this collaboration, that is the most significant thing. The second significant thing is that we respect the differences we bring to the table, but more importantly we understand the commonality that we share and all of our people, our supporters share, and that is people have been begging and asking us to please either come together formally or to work together to pool your resources to rid yourself of the PLP government.”
“We have a work in progress,” Mrs Butler-Turner told reporters when asked for more details, “we have told you we have a plan, and we are moving now in building out that plan. The only thing that stops us now from rolling out the rest of our senators is the fact that we understand from the prime minister that there has to be clarification as to whether we will be able to use three senators or whether we will be able to appoint four senators.”
“So in that regard that is what we’re concentrated on, I ask you to stay tuned because essentially what is going to happen is going to be so dynamic and you’re going to be able to see that we’re able to do something totally different from what you look at in terms of just party politics in the Bahamas.”
Mrs Butler-Turner added: “Party politics has not served us well at this juncture, we have become very tribalistic and what we’re showing is that we’re able to move away those tribal barriers to work together for the common good and that is to prevail.”
She has revealed that she was awaiting legal clarification from Parliament on a request made by the remaining three FNM MPs to appoint a senator. Sources close to the matter have confirmed that Dr Minnis intends to issue a formal request to House Speaker Dr Kendal Major.
“We had to put everything on hold after the prime minister indicated that he’s gotten information that the three FNM MPs might be asking for a senator, that is the hold up right now, and if you look at it they have a tenth (in the House) and so they may want to be able to do that. It’s a real split in there,” she said in response to the Senate appointments.