By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
EAST Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson announced yesterday that he will run for leader of the Free National Movement at next month’s one-day leadership convention.
Mr Thompson, a former minister of state for finance, has the backing of former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and many other Minnis allies, The Tribune understands.
He joins Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis in the race and is currently expected to be the chief challenger to Marco City MP Michael Pintard who is expected to publicly declare his interest in the coming weeks.
Mr Thompson’s backers see him as an experienced, faithful FNM and a non-controversial, stable figure who has paid his dues to the party.
“The FNM must rebuild and renew our party,” he said in a statement yesterday. “The election of a new leader on November 27 is only a beginning. We must respond to the needs and aspirations of the people as we rebuild and restore the FNM, root and branch.
“We have had many successes in government. At our 50th anniversary, there is much to celebrate about our legacy. But at times we have fallen short. At times, we could have paid more attention to public sentiment.
“Our mission is to return to government to build on our accomplishments. We must do so with greater humility, compassion and openness.
“Governments and political parties must inspire, especially in difficult times. We must once again inspire The Bahamas with a vision and with ideas. We must provide genuine hope for the future.
“Our primary mission is not solely about returning to office. Our broader mission is one of service and of building a better future for all. Our focus must be on who we serve and how we serve, inspired by the values of freedom and opportunity.”
Mr Thompson called for party unity and said the FNM must display a commitment to transparency and accountability that is reflected in the party’s finances and how candidates and senators are chosen. He said more should be done to attract women and young people.
“The FNM should develop a long-term national development plan that focuses on the coming decades and not just on five-year cycles. We will build on our recent manifesto and accomplishments in office,” he said. “Our long-term plans should be developed through a widespread consultation process. These plans should provide guidance and consistency for the vision and direction of the party regardless of who is the leader.”