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Fired - But Still Backing The Fnm

McAlpine warns people could fire Prime Minister

Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine speaking to The Tribune after being fired from his post as chairman of the Hotel Corporation yesterday for breach of the Manual of Cabinet and Ministry Procedure. 
Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine speaking to The Tribune after being fired from his post as chairman of the Hotel Corporation yesterday for breach of the Manual of Cabinet and Ministry Procedure. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Video

McAlpine greeted by supporters

Frederick McAlpine arrives back at Grand Bahama International Airport this afternoon.

Frederick McAlpine arrives back at Grand Bahama International Airport this afternoon.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

DESPITE being fired from government posts by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday for voting against the government’s planned value added tax increase, Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine said they remain supporters of the Free National Movement.

They were fired with former Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Travis Robinson over their position taken on the VAT vote in parliament. 

While he affirmed his respect for Dr Minnis despite his decision to swing the axe, Mr McAlpine suggested the nation’s leader would be voted out of office in the 2022 election. He also said the firings would not help the FNM’s falling poll numbers. 

“You can fire me but I’ve been living long enough to know that I have seen people fire people and the people who fire the people, I’ve watched the people fire them,” Mr McAlpine warned in an interview with reporters yesterday.

Mr Robinson declined comment yesterday when he was contacted. Centreville MP Reece Chipman also voted against the VAT increase to 12 percent. However he was virtually unaffected yesterday, having been fired as Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation chairman nearly three months ago.

The Cabinet Office officially announced the revocation of Mr Miller’s and Mr Robinson’s appointments as parliamentary secretaries due to a breach of the Manual of Cabinet and Ministry Procedure. Under Part II, Section III, Item 21 of the manual, parliamentary secretaries, like Cabinet ministers, are bound as a condition of their continuance in office to support governments decisions in public.

The same provision does not pertain to Mr McAlpine, the Cabinet notice suggests. However the notice said the governor general, in accordance with the advice of the prime minister also revoked his appointment as chairman of the Hotel Corporation.

When he spoke of his termination, the Pineridge MP said he had no regrets, adding if the vote was taken again he would do it the same way.

“He (the prime minister) gave me the letter and he didn’t say much, no more than that I was being terminated for going against the government’s position on VAT,” he said following a brief meeting with Dr Minnis which took place at the Cabinet Office at around 3pm yesterday.

“I was very quiet and listened to the little he said. He was saying he didn’t know why I did what I did and I said, ‘God bless you, sir.’

“If the vote has to be done again I would do it all over again the same way.”

He also told reporters if the prime minister had compromised on increasing VAT to 10 percent, he would have been open to that idea.

Before the meeting Mr McAlpine told reporters he believed the prime minister was under pressure, but he still had a right to act as he saw fit.

“Only thing I would say is even though we are in the Westminster system, the nation itself is democratic. This is not Communist Cuba or Communist Russia, this is a democratic society and people’s minds are open. People are not the same as they used to be. You can’t give them or tell them anything politically and think that they’ll swallow it. This is a different generation.”

He said he was not disappointed about his own situation, but for his colleagues who held more substantive positions.

Nonetheless, he maintained he was still FNM unless officials decided to throw him out of the party.

“I’m still right now as I know it a member of the Free National Movement and so are my colleagues. We are who we are it depends on what they decide to do. But of course, we all serve at the pleasure of the prime minister so he can do what he wants to do when he wants to do, whenever he wants to do it because he is the prime minster.”

He also said: “I think he might be under a lot of pressure to do what he is doing. You have persons in the Cabinet who gonna say ‘you have to show chief and you’ve got to flex your muscles. You can’t let these fellas get away with this’ and then you have the other side of the coin where you are hoping that he would consider so you terminate us. That’s fine but you also recognise that people were not happy with the decision of the government on VAT.

“So, the reality is when it comes to the party and the leadership, its poll numbers are going down and so doing this does not help. This does not help to elevate his poll numbers or the party’s poll numbers.”

Asked if he would seek re-election on the FNM’s ticket, Mr McAlpine said it was too early to give a definite answer, but he said, “Frederick McAlpine will seek re-election.”

For his part, Mr Miller said he voted against the VAT increase because he believed the people should have been consulted.

Despite being fired over his decision to go against the party position, Mr Miller, who was axed as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Social Services, said he saw no reason why the party would not offer him a nomination in the next general election.

He said his meeting yesterday with Dr Minnis was amicable. At the time, he said he thanked the prime minister and told him he not only loved but respected him. However, the Golden Isles MP said he could not go against his convictions to vote in accordance with the plight of Bahamians.

His firing came as no surprise, so he had no regrets, he told this newspaper.

Mr Miller said: “I’m still a Free National Movement member.”

“I couldn’t live with myself otherwise. I have convictions and I have a conscience and I have a God that I will have to answer to,” he also said. “I couldn’t vote for putting this on the backs of the poor and the middle class and small and medium sized businesses. To me it was just unconscionable. That’s just my opinion.

“I say that in light of this: I think we have too many options to choose from. Firstly, I thought we should have gone to the public. The public should have played a bigger role in this. We should have heard their possible ideas.”

Mr Robinson was tight-lipped on the way forward when he was contacted yesterday.

However, shortly after voting against the VAT amendment Monday night, the Bain and Grants Town MP posted a quote to his Facebook account from former US President John F Kennedy.

The quote read: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

Repost: Minnis and the FNM party will now go about making political life as miserable as possible for each of the four FNM MPs who were compelled to vote both their conscience and the very strongly expressed sentiments of their constituents. Arrogant Minnis and the FNM party will conveniently forget that they nominated these four MPs to run for elected office a little over a year ago and that each of them invested great time and energy in successfully campaigning for their seats. The vindictiveness and arrogance of Minnis is such that he will ensure these four FNM MPs are prevented from accomplishing anything for their constituents by means of the public purse. I would encourage all four of these brave FNM MPs (Robinson, Miller, McAlpine, and Chipman) to officially become independents at the earliest possible time recognizing that it will not be long before they are joined by other FNM MPs who, like them, and like the vast majority of voters throughout the country today, are most unhappy with Minnis's dismal leadership.

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Alex_Charles 3 months ago

Can't say that I necessarily care.

I honestly don't give a flying fart about any of these guys or the current administration. What needs to be discussed and reported on is the impact of increasing taxes and the intricacies of how atrocious our fiscal situation is. People are praising these MP's or defending the PM in his decision. In the grand scheme none of that trash matters, we vote everyone out anyway. What will remain with us is debt and the bills associated with it.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

You're most disturbing and unsettling big picture point is unfortunately shared by many of us.

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Alex_Charles 3 months ago

I don't think so. Maybe amongst those that frequent this forum but the wider public seems completely oblivious to how bad of a position we are. Couple that with the outbreak of a global trade war with the United States we might be seems a slow down of the global economy, which we depend on.

All of this is nothing but political pump and pageantry to me. I really, really, hope their forecast for this new tax into 2020 is successful. We need to also slash the burden of these government funded non-contributory pensions that are about to drain the public purse when scores of those over 50 retire from the public service. Then there is the issue of National insurance increasing AGAIN, The dumpster fire of BOB and resolve Bahamas and the fact that we never remitted the landfill. Man I can go on and on.

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geostorm 3 months ago

Couldn't have agreed with you more. It is also my hope that the government stays on track with trying to bring fiscal responsibility. Peter Turnquest is looking at 3 years, while that is hard, it is completely attainable. It will take serious adherence to the targets and a serious wake up call for the Bahamian public.

Sadly, I do not think that the wider public is even aware of how close we are to ruin. They choose to listen to political pundits and follow the silly personalities on social media.

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bogart 3 months ago

These letters seem to be more of ... more like letters of getting 'laid off' from da job as there are words like 'thanks' and 'apprrciation' and 'godspeed' used. So there is no need fer trying to start no conflict when dere is respect on all sides.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months ago

No one should ever give serious attention to a politician's words, whether spoken or written. It's only his or her actions that count in active politics.

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TalRussell 3 months ago

Understand this was NOT a cabinet decision but a secretive 12% VAT sprungs upon nation by Minnis and KP.... truth is no cabinet rules could be broken when it was NOT a cabinet decision. The demotion four red shirts MP's means nothing considering Comrades Frederick, Travis, Vaughn and Reece has be measured by their being all but 'strangers' to the inside inner going on's Imperial red shirts cabinet room.... being they were only allowed attend 'by special invitation' and that to my understanding was rare to never invite. The PM and KP, didn't even inform their substantive minister colleagues who are always allowed behind guarded cabinet walls about an approaching 12% VAT. This is taxing ways strong man's and authoritarian regimes. The 7 marked absent from House vote by the Speaker were absent with good Minnis and KP reason..... yet they are not being punished. Why not?

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DDK 3 months ago

Four of them were in the Cayman Islands!

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licks2 3 months ago

Time will tell if he is correct. . .

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jamani2 3 months ago

You have to ask yourself, who is these gentlemen's boss? Who hired them? The answers to these two questions in conjunction with the system of government brings us to the logical conclusion. Is the British parliamentary form of democratic government the best for the Bahamas? Is it outdated? These are important questions worthy of discussion.

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tell_it_like_it_is 3 months ago

Fully agree, this is the point that some don't get. Laws are changed and/or amended all the time. I think that particular policy makes no sense IMHO.

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brethab187 3 months ago

Pardon my ignorance. I digress for a minute. But why are we restricted from commenting on all the Vasyli stories. Is this some law that we cant comment on supreme court matters or something?. Each of the stories on her comments are disabled. Unless i am ignorant to the fact, this is a prime example of why our country will continue to suffer. The people ,The Bahamians are the at the bottom of the bottom shelf compared to the wealthy or well off. Money,Power and Heritage of the bigger heads in this country continue to have our country by the balls. Our people, whether criminal or not in a criminal case would be scrutinized to the fullest degree. now all of sudden we can barely have an opinion on this Vasyli case.

Having nowhere to post on the story ,i came here. excuse me.. Please tell me that i aim misinformed on this matter and that this is not another example of Power over people.

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Honestman 3 months ago

The rebel four knew the rules (or should have).

The bigger picture as a previous poster has indicated is that the country is in the financial sh#t courtesy of five years of corrupt and inept governance by the disastrous Christie led PLP. We have to raise tax revenue and seriously cut back on government expenditure. That is obvious. Failure to do so will result in The Bahamas treading the same path as Barbados and effectively handing over control of the country to the IMF. VAT is a horrible regressive tax and should never have been introduced by the PLP. The FNM had little choice however but to increase the rate but I would have set it at 10% with no exemptions save for medicines and health insurance. The Cabinet now needs to look seriously at reducing the civil service and IMMEDIATELY introducing mandatory pension contributions for ALL existing employees not just new hires. The new taxation levels for the Web Shops has not gone nearly far enough. The Government should increase them even higher next Budget and reduce the suffering caused by these parasitic numbers bosses.

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DDK 3 months ago

According to the Attorney General, since 1968 the Bahamas Government has never paid down on its outstanding debt but has only added to it every year to run the country. While we understand how irresponsible and stupid this has been, I think most are in agreement that other measures could have been, and should be, taken and that this budget and its tax "remedies" was poorly though out and presented. Concur with all your points.

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DDK 3 months ago

I commend THE FOUR who voted their convictions. While understanding the "Westminster" regulation as concerns voting to support a bill being presented by one's party, I do not understand the point of forced voting. It seems tantamount to a totalitarian government attempting to give the impression of democracy. However, removing said rule could create governmental chaos........

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Greentea 3 months ago

why chaos? Maybe our politicians will finally learn how to communicate and bargain. This my way or the highway BS is killing us.

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PastorTroy 3 months ago

Congratulations MCMR Boys! (Miller, Chipman, McAlpine, and Robinson) The silver lining behind this cloud is two of the other political parties in our Bahamaland needs REAL (((Electable))) leaders who CAN win on a third party ticket. Bran, swallow your pretty pride, I recommend Mr. Vaughan Miller for leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Let's send them a message of "We the people" and not the corrupt elite and their UBP puppets. Let's get this ball rolling NOW!!!! - MILLER For Prime Minister!-

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licks2 3 months ago

Boy you can hear some things. . . that man is a long stretch. . . nobody in that crew got it. . .maybe Travis Robinson may in future. . . them other. . .no time soon. . .now God is the only person who can say for sure. . .but experience tells me that " HEADY CREW" een thinking!

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