EDITOR, The Tribune.
It was a sight to witness up at the East Street Church of God this past Sunday of the vanquished former Prime Minister close to shedding tears during a service celebrating the 50th year since the formation of the Free National Movement. No doubt he was singing his swan song of farewell from the front line leadership of that entity. He bust into office in 2017 with great acclamation and fanfare, but has been obliged to creep off centre stage like a dejected potcake. It was not a pretty sight and garnered slight sympathies from the attendees.
Never before in the history of the now rump FNM opposition had a leader led it to such a massive and convincing defeat at the polls. Minnis changed almost overnight after his elevation to Prime Minister. He quickly displayed traits of 'a hard man' and showed scant respect to all, especially the media and ordinary Bahamians. We appreciate that a leader has to do what he feels that he/she has to do. But it's the way how you do it. Politics is a people-driven phenomenon and as such emotions and feelings must always be factored in.
Minnis, for whatever reasons, seemed to be devoid of such and it manifested itself in the rejection of almost all of the 39 candidates vying for re-election or election for the celebrated FNM. After coming close to tears (was he about to cry because of the disaster of the results at the polls or the realisation that the train which he launched at the Edmund Moxey Park several months ago never even left the station and thousands of supporters jumped off before it crashed and burned?) he uttered his mea culpa and asked for forgiveness!
This is the same man who bluntly told Bahamians to behave themselves or he would “deal with them” via ill considered curfews and lock downs. He with one hand tied behind his back decimated the economy and put in place draconian policies which added to the doom and gloom. Within short order he and his administration changed overnight. Government was conducted in secret and behind closed doors. Information on the conduct of the people's business was kept under wraps. Heads of Agreement were entered into and never released into the public domain. Taxpayer's funds were expended like cookies and candy without a single dose of accountability or transparency.
What is amazing is that the current Deputy Leader of the mauled FNM, Mr Peter Turnquest, who is embroiled in some sort of legal matter, has the gumption to be seen as advising the party and it's potential leadership candidates to 'fight fair' and to maintain civility in the upcoming race! Does he have the moral authority to act as such when he was required to resign from the cabinet and denied or did not apply for what should have been an automatic re-nomination?
And does the Minnis era come to a crashing finale. Sad for a man who just a few short years ago sought to dismiss former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham and make light of his considerable contributions to nation building and the advancement of all Bahamians. Minnis on the other hand leaves no legacy behind. He is yesterday's man. Who will take over the FNM? Will the new leader be a member of parliament or will it be someone who has no seat? There is precedent for this in that it occurred before when Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield was a seatless wonder.
Will this leave the door open for Dr Duane Sands to finally achieve his ambition of becoming leader of a now irrelevant political entity? What about the Hon Shannedon Cartwright (FNM-St Barnabas)? He is clean cut; focused and talented. He is one of three New Providence based FNM members of the House of Assembly. The vast majority of constituencies are here in the capital.
It would seem to me, as a non FNM, that it would be better for that party to be led by an MP based here as opposed to one based in Freeport. I still suspect that Minnis will find a way to engineer an internal coup d’etat and be re-elected leader on the convention floor by acclamation. Every goodbye is not necessarily, a good bye.
ORTLAND H BODIE, Jr
October 25, 2021.