By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIAL Opposition Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday that more “credible” Free National Movement candidates like Brent Symonette are propping up the “weak” and “indecisive” leadership of Dr Hubert Minnis in an effort to make the party appear to be a better option than the Progressive Liberal Party.
She also told The Tribune that Mr Symonette, the country’s former deputy prime minister, faces a “huge uphill battle” when trying to improve the performance of the FNM’s leadership team.
Her comments came a day after Mr Symonette revealed that he is seeking the FNM’s nomination to run in the St Anne’s constituency in the upcoming general election. Mr Symonette represented the area from 2007-2012.
“I didn’t hear Mr Symonette’s statement (about returning to frontline politics as a candidate for the FNM) and I’m probably speaking from a position of not being fully knowledgeable about his acceptance of the position, but I do believe that given the many opportunities myself and people like Mr Symonette have had in trying to bring the party and the leadership to where it needs to be, I think he has a huge uphill battle ahead of him,” Mrs Butler-Turner told The Tribune.
“While I find it interesting that he has determined to become a part of the FNM’s candidates, I’m not totally surprised given the fact that I believe at this juncture the FNM finds itself in a very difficult position and all that appears to be happening is that (the) weak and indecisive leadership of Hubert Minnis is perhaps being substantiated by more credible candidates in order for them to be a viable option in the upcoming election. I think there are a lot of internal problems in the party and Mr Symonette has been trying to resolve that. It’s my opinion that maybe he needs to try and join and become a part of the internal strife the FNM is going through.
“I imagine a person of his stature who held the high office of deputy prime minister probably feels that he can help to elevate the profile of FNM by joining again.
“The difference between Mr Symonette and others who are considered high profile is he has parliamentary experience, a lot more than Minnis and others. On paper people may have a good resumé but people could be extraordinary in private life but that doesn’t always translate to a high level of competence once in public service,” Mrs Butler-Turner told The Tribune.
In the last year, Mr Symonette has at times been critical of Dr Minnis’ performance as party leader.
He endorsed Mrs Butler-Turner for leader ahead of the party’s convention last year. He did not, however, publicly support the decision of her and six others to oust Dr Minnis as leader of the Official Opposition last December.
Shortly after the actions of the “rebel seven” FNM MPs, the FNM rescinded Mrs Butler-Turner’s nomination for the Long Island constituency.
She has said she plans to run in the area as an independent candidate.
Last week, the Long Island MP forecast that it was “very likely” the PLP will be returned as the government unless splintered opposition forces can put the future of the country before their own egos.
Mrs Butler-Turner told reporters outside Parliament that the path to achieving a unified opposition is “very straightforward” but was blocked largely by the leadership desires of all persons involved.
She maintained that, despite the protestations of other groupings, the only team that she has not had formal talks with was the FNM.