By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
PLP CHAIRMAN Bradley Roberts has questioned whether former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham “orchestrated” the coup against Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis in a bid to return to front line politics.
In a statement released Sunday night, Mr Roberts called Mr Ingraham an “Abaco Dragon and resident coward” who pretended to retire from front line politics only to “undermine Dr Minnis at every turn for four years.”
Mr Roberts said there is no way the FNM, which is “unable to lead itself,” can be trusted to lead this country.
“There continues to be cries and a cynical campaign of subterfuge from a particular tribe or faction within the FNM to facilitate the return of the Abaco Dragon, the very man who said he only wanted two terms but returned in 2007 like a thief in the night to selfishly seize power despite assuring Tommy Turnquest the night before that he had no interest in the leadership of the FNM,” Mr Roberts said.
“The reasonable expectation of many in that party was that Mr Ingraham would have offered wise counsel, mentoring and guidance to the FNM’s relatively inexperienced parliamentary team. It appears now that all along, Ingraham orchestrated the organisational weaknesses within the FNM party from behind the scenes,” he alleged.
“The toxic product was constant infighting, the intentional washing of their dirty laundry in public and the open vilification of its duly elected leader.”
Mr Roberts said the latest blunders by Dr Minnis combined with the repeated criticisms by many of his colleagues proves that the FNM “is deeply divided and cannot stand on its on.”
“Take for instance the latest salvo – the scathing public attack (Central) Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant launched into Dr Minnis essentially accusing him of being disrespectful and failing to lead,” he said, referring to The Tribune’s exclusive report last week about a critical email Mr Grant wrote to the FNM leader.
“Apparently Dr Minnis left Parliament during the committal stage of the budget, blaming his departure on illness of some sort,” Mr Roberts said.
“Party Meritorious Councillors Tennyson Wells and Maurice Moore have defended Minnis while former Deputy Prime Ministers Brent Symonette and Frank Watson openly oppose his leadership. When this clear division and tribalism is coupled with (six) current FNM parliamentarians openly voicing their dissatisfaction with an opposition to Minnis’ leadership, it becomes crystal clear that the house of the FNM is deeply divided and cannot stand.”
Last month, St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly, Mr Grant, Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner, and Fort Charlotte MP Andre Rollins threatened to have Dr Minnis removed as leader of the opposition in Parliament by way of a petition to Governor General Dame Marguerite if he did not convene a conclave to decide the date of an early convention.
Mr Grant’s attack on Dr Minnis also comes weeks after the six MPs wrote a letter to the party’s Central Council outlining Dr Minnis’ weaknesses as a leader.
The memo, dated May 31, was used to outline their case to the council as they underscored the need for an early convention, which was later set for July 27 to 29.
Mrs Butler-Turner, the party’s former deputy leader, is expected to challenge Dr Minnis for the FNM’s top post at that time.