EDITOR, The Tribune.
ON December 7th, 2016, Loretta Butler-Turner and six other Free National Movement Members of Parliament submitted a letter to the Governor General, expressing no confidence in opposition and FNM leader, Dr Hubert Minnis. They were referred to as the Rebel 7. This essentially caused Minnis to be fired from his job as Her Majesty’s Leader of the Opposition.
History tells us that in 1970, the dissident 8 broke off from the PLP and formed a group called the Free Progressive Liberal Party (FPLP).
These dissident members of parliament comprised of legendary Bahamians like Cecil Wallace Whitfield, Arthur Foulkes and Maurice Moore who had a conviction to change the course of politics in this country and they eventually succeeded.
Led by Wallace-Whitfield, the FNM was eventually formed. But where will the Rebel 7 of today end up?
Their leader Butler-Turner made history when she became the first female leader of the official opposition. She came out with guns blazing and made some noteworthy Senate appointments. She appointed Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Branville McCartney, Monique Gomez and Jude Knowles. She also appointed controversial community activist Mr Rodney Moncur. This was a group that she said represented a microcosm of society.
She seemed poised as the new opposition leader to make some big inroads on the weakened political scene. But this fairy tale did not last long and the harsh reality started to set in.
Immediately after the new Senators were sworn in, trouble began as Senator Moncur made a controversial statement to a Tribune reporter about marital rape. Butler-Turner apologized for Moncur’s comments the following day. Then a public pronouncement by McCartney that there was no coalition with Butler-Turner and the DNA, left her with essentially no foot to stand on. This was in contradiction to an earlier statement that she had made which led the public to believe that a coalition with the DNA and the rebel 7 was imminent.
And then Edison Key announced at the PLP convention that he had joined the PLP. He had essentially been led by Butler-Turner for less than two months before he jumped ship again. Additionally, the self-proclaimed leader of the women dem and beach movement Senator Moncur continues his rants on his popular talk show Freedom March. He has made many personal attacks on well know figures in society and while he has a loyal following, some believe that his actions are not becoming of a Senator.
Dr Andre Rollins recently admitted that in hind sight Butler-Turner made a mistake by appointing Moncur and McCartney to the Senate. Rollins also suggested recently that he would welcome the idea of running as a candidate under the FNM, which is led by Dr Minnis, the same leader who he recently had no confidence in.
Furthermore, McCartney has told Butler-Turner that she should fire him if she believed he misled her on coalition talks with the DNA that were supposedly at its height after she had become leader of the official opposition.
So is Butler-Turner also a leader in wanting as some persons suggest Dr Minnis is? Is she also an ineffective leader given the way things have turned out for her in less than three months as opposition leader? What are the plans of the Rebel 7 who are now the Rebel 6 and could soon be the Rebel 5 if Dr Rollins becomes an FNM candidate? Will they form their own political party or will they form a coalition with another political party? If the PLP follows the constitution, general elections will be called in approximately 10 weeks so the Rebel MPs time to mobilise an effective team and campaign seems an almost impossible feat.
What is certain though is that the now Rebel 6 are in complete disarray and could very soon be reduced to the political abyss.
February 23, 2017.