FREE National Movement chairman Carl Culmer.
By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
FREE National Movement chairman Carl Culmer dismissed speculation of friction in Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ Cabinet due to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FNM chairman responded to claims on social media and from a Tribune source, which he “chalks up” to nothing more than mere political mischief.
“There are persons out there trying to create mischief in the FNM,” Mr Culmer said. “They realise that the only way to get the PLP back in power is to create mischief in the FNM. I talk to Cabinet ministers just about every day. I have a constant rapport with them and I have heard nothing from them that says they are not in agreement with what the prime minister is doing.
“None of the Cabinet ministers have told me they are resigning. People are creating mischief and that’s all that it is. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet are doing a good job in this pandemic and people are out there trying to say they can do a better job. The Cabinet is on one accord.”
Mr Culmer was contacted after a high-ranking FNM supporter contacted this newspaper to allege that morale in the party was low.
“Our party is in shambles,” the supporter, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “Our leader has absolutely no regard for any of us nor does he regard his Cabinet. He is at odds with most of the members in fact he does not even speak to some of them. Their morale is low and many of them want out. He treats them like they are not adults. It makes us long for days of old when we had a different leader.
“You will find resignations coming a dime and a dozen because no one wants to deal with him. ..I am an FNM from the 1970s, and our party has never, ever seen it like this before. This is an, ‘only what I say goes’ and ‘do what I say’ type of leadership and morale within the party is very low. He does not even speak to or regard his chairman.”
Asked about what the party supporter said, Mr Culmer said there are some in the party who will always be disgruntled because they may not have gotten what they want.
“I am not going to waste much time on that,” the chairman said. “The Prime Minister spoke to me on Tuesday and last night. He and I have no problems. There will always be one or two people who are disgruntled. You know, some who may have not gotten what they want or asked for. That is what that is about, but no one in the FNM is upset with the leader.”
The chairman was asked if he thinks the FNM can win the next election.
“The PLP has started up something on social media about a general election,” he said in response. “I don’t have time to waste on it. They are worrying about an election when we are in the middle of a pandemic. It shows where their heads are. Do they care about people who are suffering? The election is in 2022. This is 2020. Let us focus on what is going on now.”
On Wednesday, Progressive Liberal Party chairman Fred Mitchell said people should push for a snap election in response to the Prime Minister’s handling of the pandemic.
In response, Mr Culmer in a statement, said it is “sad to see the level to which political discourse has sunk in our country.”
Mr Culmer also said:
“Rather than standing with the government to offer sensible, achievable solutions, some like PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell see this crisis as a time to make moves for political power. Other political rejects are seeking resignations because of their personal grievances with those in power.
Our Prime Minister is not afraid of leading. He is also humble enough to change course when the people say they need more time before a policy is implemented. Bahamians of goodwill should join with the government to offer their ideas and assistance in this extraordinary crisis.”