By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
FREE National Movement Chairman Carl Culmer doesn’t believe Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller has what it takes to win the seat for the Progressive Liberal Party should it decide to run him as its candidate in the 2022 general election.
“I don’t think he has that kind of pull,” Mr Culmer told The Tribune yesterday as he spoke of the MP who crossed the floor on Wednesday to join the opposition PLP.
Mr Miller quit the FNM nine months ago to become an independent representative.
Mr Culmer said Mr Miller has simply returned to what he always knew, as he expressed disappointment in the move.
“We are disappointed that he would use the FNM to win an election and then cross the floor,” he said. “He just went back to what he knows, all along, he just went back home.”
Mr Culmer said his party had no concerns that it could lose the constituency come 2022.
“He will not get FNMs to support him. It speaks volumes when no one from the association leadership went with you,” he said.
“A lot of these persons who come into politics for the first time believe that they are bigger than the constituency. Vaughn went into a constituency that was already established, all he had to do was nominate and buy his suit.
“The constituency association has had to do all the work. He had very little field work to do.”
Mr Miller made the revelation of his switch of allegiance while giving a contribution in the House of Assembly on Wednesday night on a resolution to extend the country’s state of emergency to October 31, a move Mr Miller said he does not support.
He said he decided to join the official opposition after much personal reflection and consultation with family and advisors.
“It has always been, Mr Speaker, my desire, my dream... to serve our great country and to make life better for other people, particularly the poor, the indigent, the marginalised, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden,” Mr Miller said at the time.
“Mr Speaker, the people of the great constituency of Golden Isles have given me that opportunity.”
He referred to his decision in 2018 to vote against the government’s value added tax increase, which led to him being fired as a parliamentary secretary. He revealed he is a cancer survivor, saying the disease took a financial toll on him.
He said when he thought about voting against the VAT increase, he knew it would not be a financially wise decision because of the inevitable fallout. Still he said he made the decision based on his conviction.
Speaking about the move to join the PLP, he said: “I have been in constant conversation with my wife, I’ve spoken, Mr Speaker, to members of my family, constituents, church leaders, religious leaders and others.
“I’ve also thought and prayed long and hard. It has become extremely clear to me what I must do. It is time for me to do what I believe is best for me. Mr Speaker, I’ve been in conversation with the leader of the opposition and after careful reflection, I have decided, Mr Speaker, to join the Progressive Liberal Party.
“I spoke to the leader of the opposition about joining the PLP and sitting with his parliamentary caucus from now until the general election, offering to be the next representative of the great Golden Isles constituency as a Progressive Liberal Party member of Parliament. He assured Mr Speaker that he would welcome me into the party and into his caucus.”
In a statement released after Mr Miller’s announcement, PLP leader Philip Davis revealed the decision had only been formalised on Wednesday morning after previous discussions.