EDITOR, The Tribune.
I am not and have never been an FNM member or supporter. I have long seen that entity as an unapologetic enclave for the so-called political elite and middle and upper classes. Not that anything is inherently wrong with that but the unwashed masses in the inner city areas of New Providence and Grand Bahama have always excited my public sensibilities and passion.
It must be borne in mind that the electorate did not abandon the now rutted FNM, but it simply wanted to get rid of Dr Minnis in the same sincere manner in which it wanted to get rid of Perry Christie a few years ago. The FNM has a stellar opportunity to rebuild and rebrand itself into a viable and cohesive political machine. Who will lead the charge within that formerly formidable machine?
According to constitutional conventions Dr Minnis who led his party into its worst electoral defeat in its history should immediately step down from the leadership. He says, however, that he will stay on as leader of the Opposition until such time as a convention is held. That, of course, with the lingering pandemic, may not occur anytime soon. Parliament will be convened within a few short days. Opposition senators will have to be appointed by the Governor General on the advice of whomever is leader of the Opposition.
If Minnis stays on he will, as a lame duck leader, have the solo privilege of so recommending. Is this fair to whomever emerges as the de facto leader of the FNM following a literal or virtual convention? Many of our politicians have these oversized egos and just love to be centre stage. Minnis has had his one shot deal at being Prime Minister. It is, in my view, time for him to go home and stay there. Who will emerge as leader and who has the public qualities so to do?
All Bahamians know that if I were unfortunate enough to be an FNM that I supported the Hon Dionisio D'Aguilar, former MP for Free Town and Minister of Tourism & Aviation, bar none, to eventually become leader of the crumbling FNM. As deputy I have long advocated that the Hon Shannendon Cartwright (FNM-St Barnabas) would have been my choice. Now that D'Aguilar has lost his seat the only sitting FNM MP, in my view, who'd be able to carry the FNM forward is Cartwright.
Some have said that he lacks cabinet level experience. That might well be a good thing in that he's not caught up in all of the bogus trappings and ego tripping. Hard work lies ahead for whomever becomes the leader of the FNM. It is more than likely that Brave, the Lord willing, will seek a second term once he stands and delivers for an expectant Bahamian nation. He will have little choice other than to live up to the aspirations of the unwashed masses. That being the case, Cartwright would have a few years to rebuild and rebrand the demoralized FNM.
Others have been so brazen as to suggest that the Hon. Michael Pintard (FNM-Marco City) would be more suitable to rake over the leadership of the FNM. In my view this would be a terrible move and would hold up the FNM to constant attack and ridicule by the now ruling PLP. We are all able to recall the alleged meetings between Pintard, Togo and Bobo some years ago when there was an apparent disinformation campaign against my good friend and former patron Peter Nygard.
Apparently, Pintard was a “hired” lobbyist for Lewis Bacon, a then arch ‘‘enemy” of Nygard within the Lyford Cay conclave. He was also an integral part of the environmental advocacy group led by my other very good friends, Frederick Smith, QC, and Joe Darville. Pintard admitted to meeting with Togo, et al, on several occasions at the Sheraton British Colonial Hotel to plot strategies for whatever purposes. Whether or not monies exchanged hands was never admitted or disclosed. A bad taste, however, was left in my mouth if no one else's.
Brother Iram Lewis (FNM-Central Grand Bahama), God bless him too, could at some future point become the wind beneath the collective wings of the FNM but right now, having been a literal disaster at the Ministry of Disaster, he comes across, to me at least, as a light weight of the highest order. Who else is there? Adrian White (FNM-Ann's Town) has just reached and is, unfortunately in my view, a white Bahamian and regarded as a scion of the long dead, or so they say, United Bahamian Party (UBP). His selection would not go down too well with the rank and file of the badly mauled FNM.
It is, therefore, my considered view that brother Cartwright would be most suited to take charge of the FNM and take it to the next level. Keep in mind, however, that I anticipate “Brave” serving The Bahamas for a minimum of then (10) years if the Lord continues to tarry. Good bye, Dr Minnis, you should go home and go now. I doubt that many people, especially me, would miss you. Your short lived era, such as it was, is over. The FNM is in a quagmire but there is balm in Gilead.
ORTLAND H BODIE, Jr
September 27, 2021.