Loretta Butler-Turner and Dr Duane Sands.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner and Senator Dr Duane Sands will run as a team in a leadership race against Killarney MP Dr Hubert Minnis and East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest at the Free National Movement’s convention at the end of next month, they confirmed to The Tribune yesterday.
The pair finalised the decision on Saturday and informed Dr Minnis and Mr Turnquest of their intentions yesterday.
The decision of Mrs Butler-Turner, who will run for leader, and Dr Sands, who will run for deputy leader, has set the stage for one of the most anticipated political events of the year, to be held from July 27-29.
The pair ran for the same positions in 2014 and lost to the current leadership duo, though they did not run as a team on that occasion.
“It is not lost on either of us that we would’ve attempted (to win posts) at the November 2014 convention but all I can say is that in life, defeat is only final if you don’t get up and try again,” Dr Sands said when contacted by The Tribune yesterday.
For her part, Mrs Butler-Turner said she endorsed all Dr Sands had to say about the matter. She declined further comment.
The leadership battle comes at a delicate time for the FNM, as Dr Minnis is believed to have only agreed for the early convention to take place after six parliamentarians, including Mrs Butler-Turner, threatened to seek his removal as leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly.
Dr Minnis’ tenure as leader has been defined by intra-party friction, creating fractures in the party.
Nonetheless, when he was challenged in 2014, he defeated Mrs Butler-Turner by more than double her number of votes, and many observers say it is difficult to successfully challenge incumbent leaders of political parities in the Bahamas.
“Certainly I think in both political organisations it is very difficult to accomplish change of leadership,” Dr Sands said.
The former FNM deputy chairman was recently appointed to the Senate by Dr Minnis after Lanisha Rolle resigned.
“This is not personal,” Dr Sands said. “I have expressed my gratitude to my leader for appointing me as an FNM senator to go after the concerns of the Bahamian people even as we involve ourselves in this skirmish for the leadership of the FNM. While it is true that the worst FNM team is better than any PLP team on any day, we are in a situation right now, where we have to go with whomever and whatever will give the Bahamian people comfort and hope. I believe that Butler and Sands is the tonic we need.”