By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEMOCRATIC National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney yesterday dismissed recent assertions by Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner that he threw her “under the bus,” charging that if Mrs Butler-Turner feels so strongly about her accusations, he is “ready and willing” to resign as leader of opposition business in the Senate.
Mr McCartney, during a press conference yesterday, insisted for “the last time” that his discussions with Mrs Butler-Turner were only about having him appointed to the Senate in December, and that those talks were based purely “on the understanding that we would work as opposition forces, nothing more, nothing less.”
Mr McCartney also said that he would like “some explanation” from Mrs Butler-Turner about her statements and her reasons for making them.
On Wednesday, Mrs Butler-Turner broke her silence on the apparent rift between herself and Mr McCartney, stating to Our News: “I think it’s an open secret that Branville McCartney has thrown me under the bus, despite the fact that we clearly had discussions going on and a key in those discussions realised what we were trying to build.”
During that television interview, she also admitted that her plans to shake up the political scene have not gone so well this far.
“I admit that the most powerful coalition that I thought would have transformed the landscape has pretty much fallen flat, but there are other individuals, Bahamians out there who want to come forward that want to be a part of change, that want to be able to serve their country,” she told Our News.
This came after Mr McCartney, on several occasions, insisted that he is unaware of the “very powerful and bold” coalition the Long Island MP said she was building with the DNA that would “change the direction of the country.”
Mr McCartney said yesterday: “With all respect, I truly don’t know what Loretta Butler-Turner is speaking about. For the record, and I’ll make this the last time I speak about this because I have said it over and repeatedly. When I was asked to be a senator, and in particular the leader of opposition business in the Senate, that was on the understanding that we would work as opposition forces, nothing more, nothing less. There was no type of plan, there was no type of coalition, there was no type of deal.
“As a matter of fact, we said, and I specifically outlined, that by me going in that position, we will continue to move forward in preparing for this election and promote the policies of the DNA. That is what we’ve been doing.”
Mr McCartney said he had the “good fortune” of messaging Mrs Butler-Turner via Whatsapp on Wednesday night about her statements in the television report.
“I was a bit concerned about the comments, if she could tell me what it’s about,” he said. “The only thing I could say is that if Mrs Butler-Turner really feels that I’ve thrown her under the bus, I can certainly do, or if she wishes, I can certainly tender my resignation.
“But I’ll like some explanation as to what do you mean by throwing you under the bus, because that is something that we didn’t do. But I am ready and willing if she wishes to take that route, (to) tender my resignation from the Senate.”
When asked if there were any discussions to have Mrs Butler-Turner absorbed into the DNA fold, and whether he felt she should have been given a substantive position in his party, Mr McCartney said: “That was never discussed by Mrs Butler-Turner, that was never discussed. Mrs Butler-Turner has never offered herself to be a part of the DNA, as a matter of fact none of the other persons have offered themselves to be a part of the DNA. So that was never a question. And of course, if they wanted to put that position to the DNA, there’s a process.
“I don’t act unilaterally, I don’t act on my own. Anything that is done regarding the party I have to get the permission from the party, and it would have gone through the process. But that has never ever been a question. And in every meeting that we’ve had, most meetings even leading up to the Senate position, Chris Mortimer was there, other members of the DNA, they were present, and what I say is what transpired. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Mr McCartney also hit back at Ft Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins for accusing him of using the Senate appointment solely to advance the DNA’s agenda.
Earlier this month, Dr Rollins claimed Mr McCartney knew “full well” of Mrs Butler-Turner’s attempts to unify the two parties, and that Mr McCartney was “gung-ho about promoting this idea of a unification.”
However, Dr Rollins said Mr McCartney backed out after “he received a lot of backlash from his supporters, many of whom threatened him with departure from the party if he gave it any further consideration.”
Thus, Dr Rollins said appointing Mr McCartney to the Senate has “done nothing really”, and that Mr McCartney was merely about “propping himself up politically.”
Mr McCartney responded: “…I am the leader of the DNA - you want me to promote some other agenda?
“I am the leader of the DNA. It was said from the beginning that we will promote the policies of the DNA. That was said from the beginning. Loretta Butler-Turner is aware of that. Andre Rollins is aware of that.
“Andre Rollins also mentioned the other day that there was some arrangement and I wanted too much. Wanted too much from who? What was there that was offered? And who can offer us something that you don’t have? Let me put it as simple as that. Andre Rollins was talking out of his head when he said. He was not telling the truth.”
Mrs Butler-Turner appointed Mr McCartney as leader of opposition business in the Senate in December, shortly after being appointed leader of the Official Opposition after she and six other FNM MPs, including Dr Rollins, moved to have FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis removed from that role.
At the time, Mrs Butler-Turner said Mr McCartney’s appointment was the result of a “collaboration” between the two to rid the country of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) in the next general election.