Loretta Butler-Turner and Dr Duane Sands.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner and Senator Dr Duane Sands “don’t stand a chance” against Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest at the party’s upcoming national convention, former Cabinet Minister Tennyson Wells predicted yesterday.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Wells was adamant that the “tactical, smooth and politically savvy” Dr Minnis and Mr Turnquest had the support of the majority of the FNM’s delegates now as they had back in 2014 when they won their respective races.
At the time, the delegates elected Dr Minnis as leader of the party for a second time. On Sunday, Dr Sands announced that he and Mrs Butler-Turner are running as a team for the posts of deputy leader and leader, respectively.
Mr Wells, who resigned from the FNM in 1999 and became an independent candidate, defended Dr Minnis as party leader saying despite criticism that he is not an eloquent speaker, he maintained a record of success in his personal life and professional career. He said Dr Minnis was a true success story and possessed what was needed to unify what appeared to be a fractured party.
“I don’t think they stand a chance,” Mr Wells said yesterday when contacted by The Tribune.
“When he (Dr Minnis) went to the convention the last time he probably had 50 or just over 60 per cent of the council support.
“And all the media and many of the former leaders of the FNM and a couple of the oligarchic group of the FNM who believe they should control the party forever, they supported Loretta and Sands. But you see what happened, they lost. The delegates said no.”
He added: “Many of the people who were supporting Loretta and Sands them back then, they don’t support them now. So for this reason I don’t think they stand a chance, not one.”
On Monday, Dr Minnis said he had no doubt that he will emerge as leader after the July convention.
He told reporters on Monday that he had no concerns about a leadership challenge from his party’s former deputy leader, Mrs Butler-Turner.
Earlier, while making his contribution to the 2016/2017 budget debate, Dr Minnis was resolute as he addressed issues within his party, saying: “We are now preparing for a convention and I will enter as leader and I will emerge as leader of the Free National Movement.
“The delegates, Mr Speaker, will ‘roc with doc’. The young people will ‘roc with doc.’ The Family Islands and the entire Bahamas will ‘roc with doc.’ My deputy will ‘roc with doc.’
“As I look at their faces (government MPs) I can see their grimaces. I know, Mr Speaker, they are prepared to ‘roc with doc.’
“The 5,000 plus children that I have delivered into this world who are now able to vote will ‘roc with the doc,’” he said, referring to his time as an OB/GYN. “I say to them, Mr Speaker, I delivered (you) safely into this world and it is now time to deliver me and the FNM.”
He added: “Speaker, I thank the almighty God for giving me the fortitude to persist in my duty in the face of a firestorm of criticism from within and without.”
Later responding to a question from The Tribune about the leadership race, the embattled party leader said he believed in democracy. He said the party’s delegates would remember him as a leader with concrete plans and elect him as their leader once more.
Mrs Butler-Turner and Dr Sands vied for the posts of leader and deputy leader respectively at the FNM’s convention in 2014 and lost their bids. However, they were not running as a team at the time.