By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
ATTORNEY Michael Scott yesterday said Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis has been unsuccessful in gaining the financial support of white Bahamians because that demographic has little confidence in his ability to lead the organisation or the country.
Mr Scott, who several times insisted that he was not racist, added that in his opinion the FNM has also failed to become a successful opposition party under the Killarney MP’s leadership, who he said is not suited to become prime minister.
Although Mr Scott said he was not speaking in any way for Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner, the attorney sought to compare the MP to Dr Minnis, saying the FNM needs someone of her calibre to lead it to a victory in the next general election.
His comments came while he was a guest on the 96.9 FM radio talk show The Revolution with host Juan McCartney.
Mr Scott added that it was no secret that he supported the former deputy leader and if she were leader, the question would be a matter of how many seats the organisation would win by. As it stands now, he said it is “touch and go” if the FNM can win the next election.
Mr Scott, who has served as a legal advisor to the FNM among other positions, also called Dr Minnis’ plan to implement tax-free zones in inner city communities “a joke” and “nonsense”, saying it had not been well planned out or well conceived.
“He doesn’t project the confidence,” Mr Scott said while clarifying comments he previously made on another radio talk show.
“In my opinion he doesn’t have what it takes to be a successful leader of the FNM. He has not been a successful leader in the opposition and in my view will not be a successful prime minister and therefore he is not a catalyst for money and has not been successful in raising funds from the white Bahamian population. That is the gist of what I had to say and I got painted as a racist for that and that’s stupid. That’s what it comes down to.”
He added: “I don’t support Minnis. I don’t think Minnis can take us into the promise land because the whole point of having political parties is so they can become the government. I think as we are structured at the moment we are poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. If we had someone of Loretta’s calibre, it should be a matter of how many seats we’re going to win by. As it is now, it’s touch and go (if we) can win.
“I think with Minnis as leader, I don’t see that we are going to win. I am really saddened by that because I do not think this country can take another five years of (Prime Minister Perry) Christie but it’s my judgment on that.”
He also came to the defence of Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn who previously told The Tribune that he was accused of being “racist” during an FNM policy meeting after he criticised Dr Minnis’ tax plans for the Over-the-Hill community.
The accusation was also later thrown at Mr Lightbourn by former FNM Cabinet member Tennyson Wells.
“Because he raised questions about this Over-the-Hill tax initiative programme, which as far as I am concerned is a joke. Because as conceived by Dr Minnis and as I understand it, really is nonsense.
“You cannot have that kind of programme,” Mr Scott said. “It cannot work. First of all we have not had in recent years a demographic study of who actually lives in Bain Town and Grants Town. We don’t know how many Bahamians are there because it’s been this sort of diaspora population shift from the suburbs to the southern part of New Providence. So we don’t know who lives there.
“As I understand it there are a lot of expatriates particularly of Haitian and Jamaican extraction. There are a lot of drug populations. There is a significant drug population anyway.”
He continued: “There is a rental population over there too, so you have got that now. If you do that you are encouraging slum landlords. You are encouraging people to come in there and buy up these cheap properties. You are encouraging gentrification.
“So in other words no thought has gone into this. It’s an actual joke.”