By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Perry Christie said yesterday the country had “reached the level of sophistication” that warrants public debates among persons vying for public office, hinting that he would be open to such a move.
He spoke during the launch of the Inter-American Development Bank’s Vision 2040 two-day seminar.
The Centreville MP said political leaders should be mandated to demonstrate whether they have the capacity to manage a country.
Mr Christie said: “So you find that it is difficult to get whoever is the leader of the opposition to stand on the same platform as me and then openly discuss and debate where we are going.
“It has been difficult, has not been a part of our culture and the country has not seen it necessary to bring that about,” he added.
During a 2015 speech at the College of the Bahamas’ School of Journalism, Mr Christie implored students present to challenge him, FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and DNA Leader Branville McCartney to a public debate to determine who of the three has a better grasp on national issues.
“Bring Minnis here, bring Branville here, Christie here and say ‘tell us what you believe in,’ and make your judgment. Ask questions, see who has a command of the country, who understands where the country ought to be going and who could speak to those issues,” Mr Christie said at the time.
The challenge was subsequently accepted by Mr McCartney who offered to also sponsor the event.
However, Dr Minnis rejected the challenge.
At the time, the FNM Leader said he had “no interest” in a public debate between the political leaders, contending that he was “by far more interested in” beating Mr Christie in a general election.
“My answer to that challenge remains the same, we have an ineffective CEO running our country. I am by far more interested in removing him than a debate,” said Dr Minnis.