FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis.
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
FORMER Senator Heather Hunt has suggested that Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis has not shown effective leadership because he has failed to communicate his position on the four constitutional equality bills.
She told The Tribune yesterday that Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney falls in the same category.
Mrs Hunt is one of the co-executive directors of the YES Bahamas campaign and said it was her hope that neither of these party leaders falls into a trap of using the equality bills as a “political football”.
Instead, she said both Dr Minnis and Mr McCartney should use this opportunity to inform voters of what they plan to do differently should their parties ascend to government.
Despite the overwhelming misinformation circulating regarding the bills, Mrs Hunt said she remains confident that each of them will be successful on referendum day. The event is slated for June 7.
Mrs Hunt was contacted yesterday in response to Dr Minnis’ highly critical comments of the government in which he questioned how Bahamians were expected to vote yes on the four amendments when they have “little to no knowledge” of what the bills seek to do.
She dismissed this claim saying the Constitutional Commission has worked around the clock for the last two years ensuring the electorate has a clear understanding of the amendments.
“The yes campaign wants to highlight that all of the amendments were almost unanimously passed in the House of Assembly,” Mrs Hunt, who served in the Senate until January 2015 until Dr Minnis asked her to resign, said.
“With this exercise of constitutional reform, the Leader of the Opposition worked very closely with the Prime Minister and in fact they issued a joint statement with respect to the passage of these bills in the House of Assembly. So it is important that Dr Minnis not criticise the work of the YES Bahamas campaign because really the yes campaign is really only in keeping with the entire government of the Bahamas’ decision that these bills are a good thing and they ought to be put to the people because they were passed almost unanimously.
“Now as to the educational responsibility of the YES Bahamas committee, we need to remember that the Constitutional Commission has been educating the Bahamian public on this topic consistently now for at least two years. We also wish to remind persons that this topic of discussion has been in the public domain on and off for 15 years and so the idea that YES Bahamas is not carrying more of an educational thrust is really not a proper assumption.”
She added: “My view is this: voters look at what politicians do more than sometimes what they say. Based on the actions of the Parliament of the Bahamas this yes vote is a good thing. If it were not, then we would have been having more no votes coming out of Parliament and we would not be here.
“And further, voters and Bahamian people in general are looking at the men who aspire to be the Prime Minister of this Commonwealth of The Bahamas. They have a responsibility to speak to issues and to let people know this is a good thing or if this is a bad thing. Let people know I would do this differently. Let people know when you elect me to be Prime Minister of this country this is what I will do and this is how I will change it.
“If that is the type of conversation you wish to have then I can fully respect that and I will say that you are being effective as the Leader of the Opposition and Mr McCartney, who is the leader of the Democratic National Alliance who also aspires to be the Prime Minister.”
Mrs Hunt said she remains encouraged that the four amendments will be successful.
“I am still very confident and very hopeful. We are continuing to push in these last few days to make sure that we continue to dispel misinformation and try to inform Bahamian people and to minimise the anxiety that has been placed out there.”
On Monday, Dr Minnis questioned the Christie administration’s method of obtaining support for the bills, saying the yes vote was being shoved down voters’ throats. He claimed that the government was biased and undemocratic. Dr Minnis further asserted that the YES Bahamas campaign has been encouraging the electorate to vote yes to each of the bills but said he found this hard to understand saying people could not vote in the affirmative if they don’t know what they are voting on.