New FNM leader Michael Pintard. (File photo)
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By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
THE Free National Movement elected Michael Pintard as its new leader Saturday evening, entrusting the Marco City MP with rebuilding and re-energising the organisation after its demoralising general election defeat.
Mr Pintard received 297 votes, which was 67 percent of the votes cast. His rivals, East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson and Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, got 120 and 44 votes respectively.
In a show of unity, the men walked Mr Pintard to the stage after he was announced winner at the Holy Trinity Activity Centre.
Mr Pintard said he will now begin the work of unifying the FNM, bringing together people who became marginalised over the past several years.
“Our collective genius is always better than a single-minded focus of a leader or a small group of leaders,” he said. “We need all of you. That’s why we sent out the clarion call, asking FNMs who felt marginalised or disenfranchised, or who had left. We’re saying to you, we wish for you to return home.
“We understand that we are weaker without you. You are at the centre of our consideration. We are asking you to return to the organisation that we built. I say to those of you who did not support me in this campaign, that it is my prayer that over time as we work together that I will win your confidence over time. Your views are no less important than the views of those who cast a vote for my candidacy. You are equally important.”
He said the FNM under his watch will constructively engage with the Progressive Liberal Party.
“It is not in our collective interest that this government fails,” he said. “It is true that early indications are that some will engage in excesses in the management of their portfolios, but from the bottom of our heart we wish them success because more importantly we wish our country to succeed.”
Mr Pintard said the last FNM administration made missteps. However, he said the administration also did much to be proud of.
“We know," he said, "that part of our loss had to do with having to make very difficult decisions that were difficult for a population to embrace, but lest we make the mistake of not listening carefully to the population, we also had some missteps. We made some mistakes. We had some unforced errors. The truth is, sometimes we didn’t listen to you the way we ought to. Sometimes we forget that we are your servants, we work for you, that we have temporary jobs.”