By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
ST ANNE’S MP Brent Symonette said it may not be appropriate for the Free National Movement to have a national convention this year.
The FNM’s constitution calls for a convention to be held every two years. However, the party has not had a convention since 2016.
“At the current time with the effects of COVID and Dorian, I would have thought it was not appropriate for the party to have a convention this year,” Mr Symonette, a former Cabinet minister, said yesterday. “There have been many occasions in the past that the FNM did not have a convention as called for in its constitution.”
FNM chairman Carl Culmer said yesterday the FNM’s council, which has about 260 members, will decide whether a convention will be held this year. He said the council will meet next month.
For his part, former Deputy Prime Minister and FNM stalwart Frank Watson said the party should host a convention this year, saying four years without one is “a long time.”
“In my day we held a convention every two years, no more, no less,” he said. “Absolutely they should hold a convention this year. They need to bring their group together to hash out many things, to exchange ideas. It gives the rank and file an opportunity to meet with leaders and MPs and tell them how they see things, rather than have an edict from the top. A convention has social benefits. It’s important to hear what is on the minds of the people having been in office two years plus, you need to account to the public, say what kind of organisation you have.”
Mr Watson said people “could find every damn excuse in the world” not to host a convention.
“They have the means by which they could have a convention,” he said. “In November and December, you don’t know what will happen. There may be no COVID in the world by then.”
Mr Watson said ultimately the decision rests with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who is FNM leader.
“You have various teams in the party but the prime minister is the final say, it’s his call, he’s the leader of the party,” he said.