Sidney Collie, the new FNM chairman.
By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE FREE NATIONAL Movement (FNM) has raised all of the money they needed to fund the party's national convention next week, chairman Sidney Collie said on Friday.
Mr Collie told The Tribune the finance committee had received a "substantial payment" on Thursday evening and he has also been informed that Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner has paid the remainder of her outstanding balance.
Leadership challenger Mrs Butler-Turner and incumbent Leader Dr Hubert Minnis were each asked to raise $100,000 to fund the FNM’s national convention on July 27 to 29. The convention is estimated to cost the party $350,000, with the party’s finance committee tasked with raising the remaining $150,000.
As of Wednesday, Dr Minnis had paid in full, Mrs Butler-Turner had only paid half and the finance committee had contributed $50,000. Mrs Butler-Turner told The Tribune on Thursday she was hesitant to pay the remaining balance because she has questions about "transparency and accountability".
However, Mr Collie said he met Mrs Butler-Turner on Thursday night and, as far as he is concerned, "the problems have been ironed out".
"We got a substantial payment from the finance committee and I have been told Mrs Butler-Turner has paid her balance but I am still confirming. So if that is the case, we are only about $10,000 or $5,000 short of our $350,000 goal, which we can get by next week," Mr Collie said.
"I met with Mrs Butler-Turner and she put her concerns forward. She and I had a long conversation and she promised to send me an email with her concerns. I took the concerns to the finance committee and went through them one by one. If she has any other issues, she is not a deep freeze, so I am sure if there was anything else she would have said. But from where I sit it is all good."
Mr Collie said Dr Minnis is expected to have a major rally on Tuesday, before the convention opens the following day.
He said nominations for the party’s top five positions will remain open until the last night of the convention.
So far, only Dr Minnis and Mrs Butler-Turner have announced that they are vying for leader, while Dr Duane Sands will challenge East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest for his deputy leader post.
It has been speculated that former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham will return to frontline politics and vie for leader of the party. However, many within the FNM have dismissed the assertion as nothing but a rumour.
The theme for this year’s convention is “Because You Matter” and is scheduled for three days at the Melià Nassau Beach Resort, Cable Beach.
Mr Collie said evening sessions begin at 8pm and are open to the public. The convention will also be carried live on Our TV, ZNS TV, ZNS Radio, Peace FM and Star FM. It will also be streamed live on Facebook.