Loretta Butler-Turner, leader of Opposition in the House of Assembly. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE minute Official Opposition Leader Loretta Butler-Turner nominates herself as an independent candidate for Long Island she will no longer be a member of the Free National Movement, the party’s Chairman Sidney Collie said yesterday.
In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Collie said according to the party’s constitution, any FNM member that runs against a nominated FNM candidate “automatically disqualifies him or herself”.
Last month, Mrs Butler-Turner confirmed to The Tribune that her bid for re-election in Long Island during the upcoming general election would be as an independent candidate.
Last week, she posted a series of photos on social media showing her constituency headquarters in Long Island being repainted blue. She captioned the images with the hashtags independent2017 and campaign2017.
“She can do what she wants,” Mr Collie told The Tribune.
“Once she nominates she automatically disqualifies herself from being in the FNM, but right now it is just talk.
“I am not going to speculate whether she will actually nominate or not. We will wait and see what happens on nomination day. Politicians say lots of things, you cannot put too much stake in talks. If she nominates we will do what we have to do.”
In December, the FNM appointed a three-person tribunal to decide the fate of Mrs Butler-Turner and the six other members of Parliament who ousted Dr Minnis as leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly earlier that month.
The party accused the group of MPs of bringing the party into “disrepute, division, rancour and dishonour” as well as signing, delivering and causing a letter expressing no confidence in Dr Minnis to Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling to be read in Parliament.
The FNM’s council also withdrew Mrs Butler-Turner’s candidacy for Long Island and ratified Adrian Gibson, 32, an attorney and former Tribune columnist, for the seat.
When asked for an update on the progress of the tribunal, Mr Collie said the leadership of the party is staying out of the process.
“The rebel seven is taking care of that themselves,” Mr Collie said.
“We are watching them though. The tribunal has its own process and the leadership is staying out of it. I have not inquired about it.”
Attorney for the “rebel seven,” Michael Scott told The Tribune he also has “no idea” what is happening with the tribunal process because he gave the group “one set of advice” and they “took another”.
“I don’t know what is going on,” Mr Scott said. “I gave the seven certain advice and the leader of the opposition decided to take another course. So right now, I do not know what is happening.”
In an earlier interview, Mrs Butler-Turner told The Tribune there was no need for her to appear before the FNM’s tribunal - which she called a “kangaroo court” - on “trumped up” and “bogus” charges.