MARCO City MP Michael Pintard.
By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
MARCO City MP Michael Pintard has drawn a clear line in the sand over his willingness to work with detractors, telling parliamentarians on Wednesday he won’t talk private strategy with a parliamentarian who was not committed to his party’s mission.
His comments in the Upper House during his contribution to the budget debate were a clear shot at Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine, whose strained relationship with the Free National Movement continues to fray at the seams.
Mr Pintard did not name Mr McAlpine during his speech but instead referenced his vocal opposition from within the party, and the Pineridge MP’s claims that he was being excluded from party meetings.
He suggested Mr McAlpine’s dissent was strategic.
“I can say living in GB it is untrue,” Mr Pintard, minister of agriculture, said, “every meeting held in GB that this organisation has, there isn’t a single MP that cannot attend. Let’s be real, I’m speaking for me. I myself however am not going into a private caucus meeting talking about strategy for the transformation of people’s lives with someone who is not committed to the same mission - that is fundamentally different.
“So I want persons to be straight up and the truth is, I feel qualified to say what I’m saying because I have been the friend in the organisation who fought some folks in this room on their behalf.
“I’m not advocating expulsion,” he continued, “I think it would be strategically an error but I know one thing, I don’t intend to broadside persons, the leader of the opposition could tell you if I have something to say to you I have no difficulty. if you come for me I come for you… All I’m saying, at some point you have to follow the courage of your convictions.”
Mr McAlpine has been critical of party leader, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on several issues. In particular, he voted against the increase of value added tax (VAT) which got him fired from his post as chairman of the Hotel Corporation in 2018.
In Grand Bahama, at the Sir Randol Fawkes Labour Day march last week, he was seen marching with PLP supporters, and was not with his FNM parliamentary colleagues, including Minister of State for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson and MPs Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe and Iram Lewis.
Mr Pintard questioned why someone so disillusioned and disappointed with their party would not leave the fold, instead of criticising from within. He also wondered if such a person would have ulterior motives.
“What I cannot understand,” Mr Pintard said on Wednesday evening, “is why if you have irreconcilable differences not nearly as important as a family, where there appears to be no redeeming value, they’re not getting anything right - given 60 minutes plus five and I cannot find one thing to comment about them that is good. Why? Why would I maintain that relationship?”
Mr Pintard said: “Why would I subject myself to painting the relationship - is it that there is strategic move? That I’ve sought counsel and counsel has whispered to me that this is not the time to make a move, that your message has greater currency inside. Because after all you posture yourself, I am one of you and so when I speak it’s the same traditional Bahamian refrain, that pretext to a very bad situation - that’s my friend. And if I tell you this about my friend it gotta be true.
“So it’s either the counsel has been taken or endorsements are mitigating certain statements.”
• The headline for this story has been changed to closer reflect Mr Pintard's comments.