By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRESS secretary Anthony Newbold yesterday said he was unaware of any "frosty tensions" between Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine in the wake of Dr Minnis' accusation that the backbench MP wants the people of Grand Bahama to "suffer".
When asked if Mr McAlpine, who has been critical of the Minnis administration's polices in the past, is still considered to be in good standing, Mr Newbold was coy.
"He's an MP, a member of the government, representative of the people of Pineridge, and doing what he thinks those people wish for him to do," Mr Newbold replied.
When pressed on this question, Mr Newbold reiterated: "He's a member of the Free National Movement and a member of the government."
On Thursday, Dr Minnis attended a town meeting at the Ezekiel Thompson Centre in Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island, where he talked about the government's purchase of the Grand Lucayan Resort in Grand Bahama.
There, the prime minister took a swipe at Mr McAlpine, who was critical of the purchase, and said the latter wants Grand Bahamians to suffer. Mr McAlpine refuted this statement on Friday.
During yesterday's press briefing, Mr Newbold was asked how the relationship is between Dr Minnis and Mr McAlpine.
"They're colleagues in the Free National Movement. He's the prime minister, he's an MP for Pineridge," Mr Newbold said.
When asked if tensions are frosty between Dr Minnis and Mr McAlpine, Mr Newbold replied: "Not that I'm aware."
During Thursday's town hall, Dr Minnis said, "So I ask you, here today in Crooked Island: were we wrong in purchasing that hotel to save some of your brothers and sisters in Grand Bahama? Let Nassau hear you. Let McAlpine hear you, who thought it was wrong.
"Let McAlpine hear you -- one who lives in Grand Bahama, want the entire Grand Bahama to suffer. I could not believe what I heard. Everybody gat to live. Because today it's Grand Bahama, tomorrow it's Crooked Island. And we'll do the same thing for you. We will not allow you to sink or suffer."
The next day, Mr Alpine refuted these remarks, saying he only wants to see the island's economy progress.
"It is unfortunate that my leader of the party, and the prime minister of the Bahamas, under whose government I serve the people of Pineridge, has expressed to the people in Crooked Island, and not Grand Bahama, that I wish for them to suffer; or that I want the people of Grand Bahama to suffer," Mr McAlpine said.
When asked about the apparent strained relationship between himself and Dr Minnis, Mr McAlpine said: "I don't know and I am beginning to ask myself the same question. I don't know if I've done anything to the prime minister. If I said anything to the prime minister, I am sorry. But I want to publicly apologise if I have offended him personally or publicly, that was never my intention."