By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
A LOCAL government representative in Grand Bahama thinks he is the best choice to run on the Free National Movement’s ticket in Pineridge, as the party interviews candidates in Nassau to replace incumbent Rev Frederick McAlpine.
A well placed FNM source told The Tribune several prospective candidates were being interviewed in Nassau over the weekend, including local government councilor and Grand Bahama Power employee Kendal Culmer.
When asked yesterday if he was being interviewed as a hopeful for Pineridge, Mr Culmer said, “Yes I am. I entered the race thinking I am the best candidate to be chosen. I think through my work in local government it shows that I am ready to serve.
“I am the local government representative for Marco City and after the hurricane and during the restoration and now the pandemic, I think I answered the call of those persons in Marco City. I can now take that over to Pineridge as their MP.”
On Sunday, Mr McAlpine told The Tribune he was aware of the reported interviews to find a new FNM candidate for the area and expressed displeasure that the party has not formally told him he is not getting a nomination.
Asked how he felt about the situation, the outspoken MP said: “I don’t feel any way about it you know, because they have to do what they have to do and that’s fine... At the end of the day it speaks that they are not bold enough to contact me or to say anything to me then that speaks to their integrity as an organisation. And also to their cowardice, not mine.”
Asked if he will offer as an independent candidate, the Pineridge MP said that decision will be made at a later date after he has discussed it with his family.
“They’re the party, they’re the organisation. I am one man. If you ain’t running me, tell me you ain’t running me. I ain’t ga kill you for that, it’s your party, you’re the leadership but I am not going to say what I am going to do until they say what they are going to do,” he said.
When contacted yesterday, FNM chairman Carl Culmer would not comment on the Pineridge nomination process.
Pressed further and asked about a list of named interviewees, he said, “No comment, I am not commenting on that either.”
In addition to Mr Culmer from Marco City, six others said to be considered for the Pineridge nomination including Raquel Beneby-Hart, assistant to Minister Kwasi Thompson in the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama; educator Frazette Gibson; and April Gow, a businesswoman.
They were all tight-lipped when contacted.
“I, unfortunately have no comment at this time,” Ms Gow said when asked about her being a prospective candidate for Pineridge. “I respect the process. Being an FNM, I am loyal to my party and the process.”
When she was contacted, Ms Gibson chuckled before responding. She offered no comment, either.
“I have no comment at this time. I am a little shocked that I am getting a call, but I have no comment at this time,” Ms Gibson said.
Ms Beneby-Hart also declined comment.
Pineridge is not the only FNM seat up for grabs in Grand Bahama. Recently former Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest sent a message to his East Grand Bahama Association members to say he received a call from Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis telling him that he would not be on the FNM ticket to represent East Grand Bahama. He later released a statement saying he had decided to withdraw his candidacy.
He resigned from Cabinet recently over a fraud claim in a lawsuit which he has denied.
This situation reportedly did not sit well with many FNMs and a new candidate has not been chosen as yet.
There are 14 more FNM candidates to be ratified and these include candidates in areas represented by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and also Elizabeth represented by Dr Duane Sands which is carefully being watched by most politicos.