Pineridge MP Rev Frederick McAlpine.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Peter Turnquest said public pushback regarding the representation of Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine would not hurt the Free National Movement, but show it is a "democratic" party.
As he expressed confidence in the FNM's internal procedures yesterday, Mr Turnquest, who is FNM deputy leader, said ultimately it is the constituents who will have the final say.
This comes as the chairwoman of the FNM's Pineridge Constituency Association has publicly stated her desire to see Mr McAlpine resign from the party.
Mr McAlpine has been an outspoken critic of the Minnis administration and said last week he would not vote to support Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis in a vote of no-confidence the Official Opposition has pledged to bring to the House of Assembly. He said he would abstain instead.
"The party has a constitution, which we are governed by," Mr Turnquest said outside Cabinet yesterday when asked by reporters about the issue. "The constituency has made their views known and of course they have a right to do that.
"There are procedures of which they would follow if they are serious about calling for the member of Parliament to resign from the party and then there is a process that the party goes through to decide whether they will act on that recommendation from the constituency and the process goes from there.
"I think this makes us stronger as a matter of fact, we are a democratic organisation.
"The constituents are the ultimate deciders of who represents them and who they want to represent them and that process works its way up through the party and again we are committed to democracy and ensuring that the person that is selected in any constituency to represent the people actually does represent the people. This is just part of the process."
According to Vernet Munnings, Pineridge Association chairperson, Mr McAlpine "definitely should resign".
"That would be in the best interest of the people of the constituency," she told The Tribune.
"We don't think he would be offered the nomination again. In the House of Assembly, all you hear from him is bashing of the party. Would you expect for people to want that person to represent them? I don't think so. I have no idea what he is holding out for now. He needs to decide what he wants because right now we don't understand it and he doesn't understand it."
Earlier this year the Pineridge Constituency Association moved to remove its executives, a group of people said to be mostly loyal to the MP. The association held new elections last month and Ms Munnings was among those elected.
"We don't hear or see anything from the member of Parliament," she said. "Only time we hear from him is when someone calls and tell us he's on social media. As it stands now, it's as if we don't have an MP."
FNM chairman Carl Culmer said the party has not received a formal request from the Pineridge Constituency Association to remove Mr McAlpine from the FNM.
"Until the association comes to the party, there's nothing we can do," he said. "He's the MP for the area and until we or he makes a move, there's nothing that we can do. Like any other complaint, we would have to take it to the executive body of the party who would then investigate the complaint and then it would go to the council for their decision."
Mr McAlpine defended his performance in the constituency on Monday, citing his work, including recently giving money to students who received the highest GPAs at Sir Jack Hayward, St Georges and Tabernacle Baptist schools.