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Pintard’S Favourite To Inherit Fnm Leadership

Michael Pintard

Michael Pintard

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

MARCO City MP-elect Michael Pintard is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Dr Hubert Minnis as leader of the Free National Movement, party insiders have told The Tribune.

However, St Barnabas MP-elect Shanendon Cartwright, East Grand Bahama MP-elect Kwasi Thompson and former Elizabeth MP Dr Duane Sands are also considered possible contenders, according to FNM insiders who will be involved in a series of meetings this week as the party grapples with its worst electoral defeat since 1977.

Although former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has said he will lead the FNM in opposition, few in the party expect he will remain leader for the long-term or that he would be allowed to do so, though it is anticipated that he may stay on long enough to appoint four senators.

Former Prime Minister Perry Christie led the Progressive Liberal Party to victory in 2012 after the party lost the 2007 election under his leadership, but FNM insiders do not expect Dr Minnis will be allowed to do the same.

The FNM originally planned to have a convention in November of this year; sources expect this timeline to be finalised by the end of this week. The party may even discuss calling a special convention to settle the leadership issue. Among the meetings scheduled in the coming days are one today with Dr Minnis involving the candidates who participated in the election, an executive board meeting tomorrow and a council meeting on Wednesday. A clearer picture of where the party goes from here is expected to emerge after the meetings take place.

Despite weathering the crisis of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic, the FNM won only seven seats in last Thursday’s general election: Killarney, St Anne’s, Long Island, Marco City, East Grand Bahama, Central Grand Bahama and St Barnabas. The last time the party fared so poorly was 1977 when it won only two seats.

According to FNM insiders, people in the party largely blame the lopsided result on Dr Minnis’ risky decision to call an early election despite the fact that Bahamians have given decisive victories to opposition parties in three consecutive elections, all of which were held amid high unemployment rates and a stagnant if not struggling economy. The last time the country had a close election was 2007 when the unemployment rate stood at five percent.

Yesterday, at least one former Cabinet minister, speaking anonymously to discuss sensitive matters, rejected the view that the timing of the election cost the party.

“Incumbents lose elections in this country, whether today or in May or whenever, you lose,” he said.

Some FNMs yesterday griped that the party was less prepared for the early election than the PLP, which they believe anticipated Dr Minnis’ early election call and ran a disciplined campaign.

FNMs even suspect the party’s base of supporters turned out in fewer numbers than PLP supporters did for their party in 2017.

“We couldn’t galvanise our base,” one insider, who spoke anonymously to discuss internal affairs, said yesterday.

“FNMs stayed home,” he said. “I was getting calls all over from polling stations saying FNMs were staying home.”

As the post-mortem begins, the party will likely be keen to avoid the drama and infighting that characterised its time in opposition between 2012 and 2017. That drama culminated in a move to remove Dr Minnis as leader of the official opposition.

Sources yesterday said if an FNM convention is held today, the frontrunner and likely winner would be Mr Pintard.

A former chairman of the party, Mr Pintard is seen as an experienced figure who might be willing to embrace the kinds of bold policies that could disrupt the status quo of governance in the country and prevent the cycle of election turnovers.

Mr Pintard, who won a larger percentage of votes than any other FNM candidate, refused to discuss the leadership future of the FNM yesterday, but credited his victory to the campaign his team waged.

“I have said previously that our team is made up of persons who have historically supported the Free National Movement, have previously supported the PLP and who may still identify as such but made it clear to us that they are supporting my candidacy and the approach my team has in working with with people of the same political persuasion,” he said.

“One of the big takeaways for me is that persons respond to a politics that is less tribalistic I believe and I might just use the example of St Barnabas and Marco City, as an example. Marco City is a constituency that had changed hands in four consecutive elections.”

Mr Pintard and Dr Minnis reportedly did not enjoy a close relationship, and Mr Pintard was said to be isolated in the Minnis Cabinet. Mr Thompson, meanwhile, is viewed as Dr Minnis’ preferred successor. Dr Minnis named Mr Thompson state minister for finance after the resignation of former Finance Minister Peter Turnquest.

Meanwhile, Mr Cartwright is attracting attention for notably holding on to an inner-city constituency in an election wave won by the PLP. However, he is the only one of the favourites who has never served in Cabinet, and some FNMs believe he would be better suited for the deputy leader role.

As for Dr Sands, who lost the race in Elizabeth, some party supporters are still holding out hope that he will be elected leader someday. In the weeks leading up to the general election, he secured the backing of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and is said to enjoy the support of those in the party who still hold Mr Ingraham to the highest esteem.

Comments

Cobalt 4 months ago

Good riddance to Dr. Hubert Minnis and Dr. Duane Sands. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. If the FNM wants to regain the government they must cut ties with Minnis and Sands. They both are obviously too arrogant and detached from the wishes of the people to even be considered. Both the FNM and the PLP need to shed their skin and allow younger, more innovative minds to lead. I don’t care if Minnis is “laying pipe” or “pumping iron”. So long as he does it away from here.

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bahamianson 4 months ago

Lolololololol, thank you for this on a Monday morning.

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tribanon 4 months ago

The FNM party would be making a terrible mistake if Minnis is allowed to spend even one day in the new parliament as leader of the opposition. Also, it should be up to whomever replaces him as leader of the party to have the final say on all FNM appointments to the senate.

Truth be told, Minnis has an absolutely appalling track record (to say the least) when it comes to the vast majority of individuals he hand picked for political appointments of any kind. His role going forward must be limited to nothing more than representing his constituents in Killarney. And if he doesn't like that, then he should resign from his seat in parliament and spend his time fishing with that other politically disgraced dinosaur, Hubert Ingraham.

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bahamianson 4 months ago

But he won his seat by 600votes? Candidates like thompson and cartwright were community builders and retained their seats because of their hard work and humility. I do not see it.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

Dr Minnis seemed to like pliable people , they could either be bent or were willing to bend. Look at the people he kept close to him.... shades of grey

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

Carl Culmer, Maurice Moore and anyone else who defended Dr Minnis needs to resign. No animosity toward them, but to have so badly miscalculated and to have enabled the behaviour of Minnis, how can they be a part of any visionary path forward? They have shown that they too are out of touch.

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M0J0 4 months ago

If they dont seek new younger minds they will stay out.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

We dont need new or younger. We need good men and women be they 20 or 80. Progressive societies around the world are leaning on the knowledge and experience of elders at the same time that they galvanize the energy of youth. When we cut out our brain in favour of energy we do ourselves a huge disservice. Look at Travis, intelligent energetic young man, what he do but sing?

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

Kwasi Thompson as leader? FNMs might go on vacation abroad for the next voting exercise.Dr Minnis knows why he wants him there, he can manipulate him. Dr Sands first then Pintard. I like Cartwirght too seems intelligent and decent. Those three guys in senior leadership with some good mentorship would be good

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bahamianson 4 months ago

Mentorship from who, though? DR. Sands was rejected in Elizebeth with the endorsement of Hubert Ingraham. He had Hubert and still lost.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

I think Elizabeth is naturally a PLP seat. With FNMs not coming out to vote, independents feeling no affinity for Minnis and the PLP galvanized it was probably an uphill battle.

Yes mentorship from Hubert Ingraham, he at least had enough sense to see the Minnis disaster. But he's not the only one, he's the most well known

Even Perry Christie has wisdom to give. Mentorship doesn't mean you do whatever they tell you to do. It means you can lean on the experience of these people because theyve walked the path before, theyve made mistakes, they can tell you the pitfalls and guide you to what "might" be the most efficient path. You still make your own decisions

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FrustratedBusinessman 3 months, 4 weeks ago

2007 : PLP 2010 by-election : PLP 2012 : PLP 2017 : FNM 2021 : PLP

Fair to say that area has a faint gold leaning to it. The FNM victory in 2017 is the exception.

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tribanon 4 months ago

Sands is a complete nonstarter; he's as politically tone deaf as they come. Cartwright is much too inexperienced right now. And puppet Thompson is a 'yes man' and could never be an effective leader on his own two feet. That leaves Pintard as the only reasonable option in my mind, at least starting immediately for the near term.

I cannot emphasize how important it is that Minnis not be allowed to remain leader of the FNM party, even for the near term. Letting him as a disgraced former PM become leader of the opposition in the new parliament would likely deal a fatal blow at the outset to the FNM party's chances of having any success in the next general election.

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ThisIsOurs 4 months ago

Yeah Sands is not a politician. Ok with me. But it means he has an uphill battle with a Bahamian electorate who has an affinity for a slick tongue. He needs an ethical savvy political advisor beside him

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ohdrap4 3 months, 4 weeks ago

In the weeks leading to the election , two or three times a week, Sands appeared with alarmist Nahaja calling for lockdown.

Complete puppy show. No way people would vote for him.

Covid is endemic now. Time for lockdown over.

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FrustratedBusinessman 3 months, 4 weeks ago

Pintard for leader, with Cartwright as deputy is the best combo imo. Both won with the full support of their communities, and it is a good combo of experience with youth.

Minnis has to go with no question. When you lose seats like Central & South Abaco, North Eleuthera, and Freetown as an FNM government, there is no way you can stay on as leader. Christie had no problems staying on after 2007 because it was close. A couple thousand votes a different way spread out in certain constituencies, and he would have been PM. It was nowhere close for Minnis.

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Emac 3 months, 4 weeks ago

In my humble opinion, Dr. Sands is the best man for the job. I say make him senate leader and leader of the deadbeat FNM. He is articulate and he is not afraid to make difficult decisions. And most importantly he reports the truth, no matter how bad it hurts people feelings. It's called touch love! Bahamians need someone who is not afraid of innovation and massive change. IF we are honest, we have to admit that this country needs real change to survive. We are light years behind the rest of the Caribbean in terms of education and technology, the two main tools that is absolutely necessary for any country to survive today. Our archaic ways of thinking ain't gon cut it we are to move forward as a nation. Just saying.

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 4 weeks ago

It first takes honesty and bravery by the FNM Council to call the spades. No one connected to HAI should lead

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