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Iram Lewis, Kwasi Thompson make bids for FNM leadership

LEFT: IRAM Lewis speaks on Saturday. Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune staff
RIGHT: KWASI Thompson speaking on Friday. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune staff

LEFT: IRAM Lewis speaks on Saturday. Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune staff RIGHT: KWASI Thompson speaking on Friday. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune staff

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

IN a bid to gain support, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis has sold himself as a man for the people who will get the Free National Movement “back on track” and more in touch with ordinary Bahamians if elected as the party’s leader at this month’s convention.

Mr Lewis was addressing dozens of party supporters who gathered at Holy Trinity Activities Centre on Saturday night where he officially launched his leadership bid.

The FNM’s leadership convention—scheduled for November 27—will see Mr Lewis go head-to-head against Marco City MP Michael Pintard and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson, the latter of whom also held campaign events over the weekend to garner support.

“As you prepare to cast your vote, I encourage you to soberly and seriously consider the type of leadership we need at this critical time in our party,” Mr Lewis told supporters.

“I am a servant leader, someone who genuinely loves people, is a listener, someone who values everyone’s opinion and can make tough decisions after evaluating all options available. In fact, people will often hear me say I love people, not politics.

“I don’t like to be called a politician. I consider myself a people-tician. For me, service is not about power or prestige. It's about people. I believe a leader is more than a collection of good speeches, flashy ads and a nice platform. A leader has to be an example. A leader has to engender trust and a leader has to be able to bring us together. I believe I am the man for the job and together, we can get the FNM back on track.”

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MARCO City MP Michael Pintard.

For his part, Mr Thompson painted himself as the right man for the job who will “rebuild” and “restore” the FNM if chosen as the next leader.

While pledging to "build on the legacy" left behind by former leaders, Mr Thompson was also clear that he has no intentions of being anyone’s “puppet.”

“I am thankful to all who have previously served as leader,” Mr Thompson said during an event at Balmoral Club on Friday night. “We must honour all who have previously served as leader. They have all made a valuable contribution to this party and this country.

"But today is a new moment and it is time for new leadership. While we build on the legacy of our former leaders... I will consult, I will listen but I ain’t gone be nobody’s puppet."

In their speeches, both FNM MPs touched on familiar themes of unity, while pledging to bring more transparency to the organisation.

Mr Lewis said for far too long, longtime FNM supporters have felt “overlooked, ignored, taken for granted”, but promised to change this negative outlook under his leadership.

He added: “When it’s time to support the party, you are asked to help with events, to walk the streets during campaigns, and to put your name and face out there with your friends, family and community to defend our party. But when you wanted to give input you have been shut down. When you needed help, far too often your calls have gone unanswered and messages unread.

“This can’t continue if we want to move our party and our country forward. Tonight, I commit to you that as leader, we will take our party back to the grassroots level and build up. We are going to create systems that ensure you have a say in party decisions and in who will represent you. We will focus on better communication that flows both ways.”

Mr Thompson, meanwhile, acknowledged that there were several mistakes made under the former government, but urged members to move past those errors and instead look forward to a new beginning.

“We can cry, we could complain about our past mistakes and there was some mistakes or we can acknowledge them and then learn from them. The time for blaming is done and the time for complaining is done. This is now time for restoration. It is time for rebuilding and it is time for healing. It is also time for unity,” Mr Thompson said.

In addition to promising to unite the party, the former Cabinet ministers also pledged to fight for more women to be included in politics.

Mr Thompson said: “I also want to work hard to increase the number of women candidates that we have in the Free National Movement. Tonight I ask for the support of (the) Women’s Association and all of the women delegates throughout our Free National Movement.”

Meanwhile, Mr Lewis said: “I have said so publicly, and I will say it again tonight, we need more women in frontline politics. Whatever we have to do to make it less burdensome to get involved, we will do. Whatever it takes to make them feel safer and more respected, we will do. After all women have done for us in this party and in this country, it’s the least we can do for them! I implore women, especially our great women of the Women’s Association to join the Iram movement. Together, we will build a more balanced organisation and get the FNM back on track.”

Asked if he felt confident in his chances of being elected as leader, Mr Lewis told reporters that he did.

"I do believe we stand a good chance like anyone else and like I said, I wish all of those behind me for leadership luck, but I wish me good luck," he said.

Comments

FrustratedBusinessman 7 months, 2 weeks ago

FNM is really having to choose from slim pickings for this race. Pintard is the only decent option available.

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sheeprunner12 7 months, 2 weeks ago

These two are making it a race, but don't have a chance against Pintard. Except there's insider dirt involved.

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TalRussell 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Would be interesting if all the comrade leadership hopefuls were wearing smartphone based body cameras, uploading live microphone chatter, and with whosoever and what they talking to and about what - would give convention's prospective voting delegates a clear picture and everything else like this and that in order properly and truthful render judge for or against them come voting time November 27, ― Yes?

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moncurcool 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Interesting how Lewis and Thompson, released statements saying they were running for leader. Pintard has a launch for his leadership run. Now suddenly Lewis and Thompson having launches after they had released statements? Can we say late copycats. That shows a lot. They are not innovate like Pintard. They only did these becasue of Pintard. Shows they don't have fresh ideas. If they did, they would have had leadership launches from the beginning and not release statements initially.

Pintard even had better ideas in his launch. He is the better option.

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tribanon 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Minnis lowered the coffin of the FNM party into the very deep hole in the ground that he personally dug. Now let's see if Minnis, with Culmer's help, will foolishly engineer a leaderhip win by Thompson or Lewis. Both of these candidates are certainly very capable of shoveling plenty dirt and soil into the Minnis dug hole to fully bury the FNM party coffin so that a simple tombstone can than be erected on the grave that reads "R.I.P Forevermore."

Pintard is the only viable candidate to date.

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GodSpeed 7 months, 2 weeks ago

If Branville had stayed in the FNM, now would be his time.

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Bahamianbychoice 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Not feeling Pintard after he was videotaped with the two thugs. That is very unbecoming of anyone let alone a wannabe government party leader. Also, after he treated those women so dismissively who are married to expats and spearheaded legislation that is against the constitution, he just does not have the depth of character/scope or the intelligence. Pintard like to talk plenty, but pretty shady behind the scenes which to me is always an indication of lack of intelligence and self assurance. Think he forgets more women vote in this country than men. While I agree with the slim pickings comment, Iram seems to be the only viable option. FNM has a long way to go to get back to its glory days. Pintard, Lewis and Thompson all contributed to the failing of this party, all sat quiet in support of Minnis. They need a 180 degree turnaround with someone completely different.

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