IF former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham nominates himself for the Free National Movement’s leadership race on the convention floor, it would be “one of the worst things that could happen”, Maurice Moore said yesterday.
However, Mr Moore, who is considered to be one of the FNM’s founding fathers, does not think that Mr Ingraham would be much of a threat to incumbent leader Dr Hubert Minnis, saying the Killarney MP appears to have the majority of support from voting delegates.
Mr Moore also said he is frightened at the thought of Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner and Dr Duane Sands leading this country, saying the inexperienced duo would put The Bahamas in “grave danger”.
Mrs Butler-Turner will challenge Dr Minnis for his post at the party’s convention later this month, with Dr Sands as her running mate for deputy leader.
Mr Moore also said he believes Dr Minnis needs to “tighten up ship” regarding discipline in the party, something he thinks will happen after the convention.
His comments came during a candid interview on the radio talk show “Hard Copy” with host Steve McKinney.
When asked about the possibility of Mr Ingraham, who quit as FNM leader in 2012, making a surprise return to politics, Mr Moore said: “My attitude is, let him come to the floor of the convention and nominate, let him come. The council of the party, along with additional persons, makes up your convention. From what I can see, here in Nassau and in the Family Islands, he will not be able to out vote Dr Minnis. In Grand Bahama for instance, you may have, and I am being very generous, a maximum of ten persons who may vote for Loretta and Dr Sands.
“If they get ten, they will be doing well. And if Mr Ingraham puts his hat in the ring, if he gets another five or so out of Grand Bahama, again I believe he will be doing extremely well to do that.”
However, he said, the last time he spoke to Mr Ingraham, which he said was about six months ago, the former North Abaco MP said he was not planning to leave retirement.
Mr Moore, a former Cabinet minister, also said he fears what would happen if Mrs Butler-Turner and Dr Sands were elected to lead this country.
“If God forbid Minnis and (Peter) Turnquest are not the winners, we would be in a serious quandary,” he said. “We would be putting our country and the leadership of it and the possibility of these persons being the next government. We would be putting ourselves in grave danger. Neither of them has had any real experience in administering governmental affairs.
“While Dr Sands is very good and I would choose him for my medical reasons over anybody else that I know here in Nassau if I have an ill in that area - but beyond that there is no record.
“I can’t turn to one single thing anyone of them have done for and towards the furtherance of the administration of this country. Loretta, she served as a junior minister under (Dion) Foulkes in the Ministry of Social Services. That’s the extent. It frightens me because I fear for my country and I fear for what we have to contend with against the international world.”
He also praised Dr Minnis, saying one of his strengths is being a “common man who keeps his common touch” and can interact with people.
“He is somebody that is approachable and what he has done for the last four years, he has visited all the islands, he has visited all the constituencies, he is one of the few fellows in front line politics who can go Over-the-Hill anytime, anywhere and everyone knows him and they have the greatest respect for him. He knows how to talk to people and I believe that it will be a great day for the Bahamas to have a prime minister like Dr Minnis.”
For much of Dr Minnis’ time as FNM leader, the party has been plagued by infighting and discontent. This tension reached a boiling point in May, when six FNM MPs, including Mrs Butler-Turner threatened to have Dr Minnis removed as leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament if an early convention date was not set. The group also wrote a letter to the FNM’s Central Council, highlighting Dr Minnis’ deficiencies.
Yesterday, Mr Moore commended Dr Minnis for not hitting out at the dissenting MPs in the face of their public critiques.
“He has handled it correctly. The measure of the man, he will never say a word against any of those six. You notice he has never said a word against them, even though each one of them on their turn just lambaste him on matters that were half true or were not true at all, or was taken out of context.”
During the interview, Mr Moore also took a swipe at Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant. When asked by a caller who would do a better job as a representative than Mr Grant, Mr Moore suggested Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells, who joined the FNM last year.
“He’s a qualified young man, he’s quiet, but he is deep,” Mr Moore said.
“We have to know when it is time to move aside and pass the baton on to the younger generation, they are better trained than we are . . . a person like Renward Wells I would feel happy because Neko Grant ain’t doing nothing. He is wasting the time. In fact, if he was doing his job, we wouldn’t have the problem that we are having today.”
Two weeks ago, Mr Grant, who is leader of opposition business in the House of Assembly, wrote a scathing email to Dr Minnis. He accused the FNM leader of being unprepared for the 2016/2017 budget debate and abandoning his colleagues in Parliament under the guise of not feeling well.