Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.
By CARA HUNT
AFTER a four-year term plagued by devastating hurricanes and a global pandemic, Dr Hubert Minnis was unable to convince the Bahamian people to re-elect him.
Dr Minnis was the country’s first non-attorney or career politician to be elected prime minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
He handily won the 2017 general election defeating former Prime Minister Perry Christie and the Progressive Liberal Party. That election saw Mr Christie lose his seat in the Centreville (formerly Farm Road) constituency, which he had represented for more than 40 years.
Dr Minnis rose from humble beginnings, born in Bain Town to Rosalie North, a struggling seamstress, and Randolph Minnis, the proprietor of the well-known Minnis Service Station on Market Street.
Growing up Dr Minnis attended Our Lady’s Primary School, Western Junior and St Augustine’s College – he also worked a number of jobs growing up to help his family afford his tuition, including selling newspapers, shining shoes and working as a tailor.
His hard work paid off as he became the first member of his family to attend college, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota and then a medical degree from the University of the West Indies.
After becoming a MRCOG (Member of Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology) from London in 1985, Dr Minnis returned to Nassau and practised at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
During his 22-year career, he delivered more than 5,000 babies, the largest being 14lbs at birth.
He has also served as a former president of the Medical Association of the Bahamas, a member of the Medical Council, the chairman of the Hotel Corporation of the Bahamas, and an associate lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Dr Minnis entered politics in 2007 running in the Killarney constituency. At that time, he said that he had accomplished most of what he wanted to in medicine.
“Everything in life is about timing. I want to continue to be of service, but now just in a different capacity,” he said.
After he won his seat as Killarney’s member of Parliament in 2007, Dr Minnis was named minister of health, a position he held throughout the FNM’s term between 2007 and 2012.
He led the party to victory in 2017 following internal party conflicts, including two leadership challenges.
However, the Minnis administration encountered problem after problem, including the deadly aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Minnis was heavily criticised by the opposition for the government’s response to both issues.
He himself admitted that the government “fell short over Dorian relief efforts.”
“No party should ever take the support of any constituency for granted,” he said at a recent rally in Grand Bahama.
It was advice that would prove true considering the crushing defeat his government received yesterday.
While he was re-elected to the House of Assembly for Killarney, he was unable to secure his government’s victory.