FNM's $100,000 convention costs demand for leadership candidates

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and Loretta Butler-Turner at the FNM rally that saw him see off her challenge to his leadership in 2014.

FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and Loretta Butler-Turner at the FNM rally that saw him see off her challenge to his leadership in 2014.


Deputy Chief Reporter


LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner revealed yesterday that the Free National Movement’s finance committee requested that she and Leader Dr Hubert Minnis each raise $100,000 to fund the party’s upcoming convention because the organisation had not inspired supporters to donate money over the past few years.

However, the MP, who is challenging Dr Minnis for the FNM’s top post, insisted that to ask a leadership contender to raise mass sums of money to cover convention costs was “unheard of” in the party’s history.

She told The Tribune this was “troubling” as it spoke to the more serious issue of whether the FNM will be able to launch a successful general election campaign with money issues gripping the party.

These issues, she said, are in part due to the fact that the FNM is still struggling to settle $1m in “legacy debt” left behind from the last general election in 2012 and the North Abaco bye-election, which followed four months later.

The convention is estimated to cost the party $350,000, FNM Chairman Sidney Collie confirmed yesterday.

While he did not speak directly to the party’s financial problems, he said both the leader and the Long Island MP were asked to raise $100,000. He said the finance committee is also responsible for raising $150,000 to cover the cost of the highly anticipated July 27 to 29 event.

So far, Mr Collie said Dr Minnis had submitted all of his convention contribution, while Mrs Butler-Turner turned in half of what was requested.

Regarding this, Mrs Butler-Turner explained that although she was in possession of the remainder of her convention funds and had been for sometime, she decided to delay surrendering the money as she felt excluded from some aspects of the convention planning. The former FNM deputy leader added that she and her “Forward-Together” campaign had been waiting for transparency and clarity on some aspects of the event.

The finance committee, Mr Collie told The Tribune, has also raised and submitted $50,000 with $100,000 outstanding.

Asked whether he was confident that the FNM could meet its financial obligations, Mr Collie said he would not comment other than to say that an agreement was made and he was waiting for the commitment to be fulfilled.

Mrs Butler-Turner said: “Each of us has to pay $100,000 but it is the responsibility of the leader and the finance committee to raise money. The party has been in stagnation for the last two years in being able to meet its debts and raise funds.

“Given that the date was set and a place was selected but it couldn’t be confirmed. So when the Meliá (Nassau Beach Hotel) started to give pressure, an emergency meeting was called to see how we would raise the funds. It was agreed in my absence that both persons would have to raise and contribute $100,000.

“That defrays the convention cost, the voting delegates transportation and rooms.”

She continued: “I feel like I am a contender and having to raise this money is something that I have never experienced. Never in the history of this party has a contender had to raise money for the convention.

“That speaks to the bigger issue of whether we will be able to launch a successful election 2017 campaign.”

In June, The Tribune reported that the party was struggling to find the hundreds of thousands of dollars required to host the convention. It came as debate was sparked over who was responsible for finding the funds.

Former FNM Cabinet minister Tennyson Wells was among those who sided with Dr Minnis, saying the people who fought for an early convention should find the funds to host it.

Others, like former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette, said that the responsibility lies with the party’s leader.

The Tribune has been told by sources that the party’s payment of utility bills such as light and cable, as well as real property taxes and staff salaries has been inconsistent in recent years as the party struggles to raise money.

Sources told this newspaper that the FNM’s big financial backers refrained from providing money because of discontent with Dr Minnis.

It is not unusual for opposition parties to have financial problems.

After the Progressive Liberal Party lost the 2007 election, it owed the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

In late 2011, the government-run broadcaster secured a Supreme Court judgment against the PLP, then leader of the opposition Perry Christie, and PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts for the payment of $247,974.16.

Earlier this month, former Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette said the party had got over the financial hurdle in relation to the convention, as supporters were amenable to donating money to the party.


biguy242 8 years ago

This is why we will have 40 more years of PLP.

Publius 8 years ago

Ay mi Dios! Somebody make it stop!

Well_mudda_take_sic 8 years ago

Why would anyone in their right mind contribute even a penny to the FNM party led by the grossly incompetent (and racist) Minnis and his crony FNM council members who are now even being bribed by the PLP to continue supporting Minnis?! As for LBT & Sands, these two clowns also need to get out of politics because each of them runs a close second in their incompetence behind Minnis. Let's all hope and pray a reputable honest caring and competent independent candidate decides to run in our constituency during the next general election. The greedy power hungry jokers and clowns affiliated with the PLP, FNM or DNA all need to be put out to pasture forever if our country is to stand any chance of digging itself out of the very deep hole that has been dug for it by the unconscionable evil corrupt politicians we have had over the past 30 years.

Publius 8 years ago

Agreed re: Minnis, FNM Council members, LBT & Sands

DillyTree 8 years ago

Once Minnis is gone, there will be no trouble raising the money needed to fund an election campaign. Who wants to contribute to a corrupt, inept, self-absorbed man who can't lead his way out of a paper bag after 4 years of opportunity to do so?

B_I_D___ 8 years ago

He is the reason there is no money. Plain and simple.

birdiestrachan 8 years ago

That is a lot of money for Butler Turner to come up with. I do not know if it is worth all that much. "Roc with Doc" has lots of money let him pay the money. The FNM has always reminded me of** the Republican Party and every day they are showing themselves true to form. Doc is the Bahamas Donald Trump.

birdiestrachan 8 years ago

In fact Doc said that Donald Trump made him feel Good. It was something The Donald had said that made Doc feel so, so good.Strong

John 8 years ago

Sometimes you really have to wonder who is really throwing rocks at doc. They said they wanted an early convention and a contest for the leadership post, among other things, and the got what they wanted. Now there is the issue of funds and again they wants doc to roc the bloc. Those who wanted the leadership contest should come forward and help pay for it. If there was no question of leadership the FNM could have been busy oiling its election machinery. A November election could have been a great kick off to the campaign season and could have been used to demonstrate that the FNM is a party united and a force to recon with. But when the same set of revel rousers keep making the same set of noise it is a que that they will never be happy until they get everything their way. Everything? Nothing more than selfish ambition. The feeding of ones ego. Time to answer the question of leadership for the last time before the election 2017. Sit those down who are not satisfied else show them the door. The mountaintop is not meant for everyone to see. Challenge to leadership is a good thing only when it is done for the right reasons. Some people just determine that the election bandwagon ain't going no where unless they have the reins of power in their hands. But a horse and even a dog will always be more loyal to the one who gives him water and feeds him.

Reality_Check 8 years ago

You, John, clearly do not know Minnis personally!

TalRussell 8 years ago

Comrades red shirts who might still be sticking around the red movement whilst shaking heads in utter disappointment, embarrassment and disgust over the unnecessary damages being inflicted upon the thrice terms governing red movement, the greatest trick the red Devil ever pulled on we's mere earthly mortals, was convincing the world he didn't exist. Rephrasing - let me say the finest trick of Loretta is to persuade you that her $50,000 UNPAID obligation does not exist and it's payment is optional on her part - alone- and that you reds have NOT all lost your minds, for even considering switching Minnis for her and sidekick Duane.
At the bare bones minimum, would it not be a fair comment to blog that in this case she conducted business in a sloppy manner? After all, isn't the red movements motto: "It's A Matter Of Trust," or is it: "It's A Matter Of Having The Option To Be Skippin Out On Money Owing Obligations?"

killemwitdakno 8 years ago

Let her pay for it all herself , she's contesting. Don't try LI, they sound like you washed their pockets before Joaquin.

killemwitdakno 8 years ago

Then again it's Minnis' fault this has to be done again because it wasn't full the first time, and he gave a ridiculously late date so now the switch is a surprise for people to afford it.

John 8 years ago

Minnis need to take a page out of Donald Trump's book.. And I am no fan of trump. But the Republicans said they would not back Trump as the presidential nominee. Trump went ahead and is pulling off a successful convention with the help of family and friends. Now that he has gotten this far the, Republican Party has no choice but to fall in line and back him. Else the Us will not have the moral authority to lead. How can you go around the world chiding democracy and human rights if you do not exercise it at home?There will always be troublemakers and detractors. Stay focused and move the party forward. Those who ain't marching to the same beat have to fall out rather than make the whole parade look bad and disorganized.

Reality_Check 8 years ago

You just don't get it John. Minnis is trying to tap into the pocket books of the hard working honest Bahamian taxpayers in an even bigger way than Christie has to date. He is therefore not about to spend from his own pocket book to satisfy the great power and additional wealth that he craves like no other. Minnis is a very dangerous fella and the sooner you become personally acquainted with him to appreciate that fact, the better.

TalRussell 8 years ago

Comrade Reality_Check, obviously you not only do not seem to know what a Red Movement Socialist leader is when you see Minnis in political action - you so underestimate this man's popularity across the red movement, heading to July 27-29, 2016?

TalRussell 8 years ago

Comrades! Loretta's stories book by now contains so many excuses since 2012 of 'Nobody in red party ever bothered tell her about this or that, or how she had prior Long Island constituency commitments making it impossible for her to attend, or was outright and intentionally NEVER informed in time or at all when meetings were being held,' seems to have always been one of her stories and it's most obvious from her $50,000 comments that she's going to the floor of the leadership convention on July 27-29, 2016 at the Meliá Nassau Beach - sticking to to them.
Before Loretta says she didn't lead the Coupe défait, the 410 convention delegates need to be all supplied with their own personal copies of a May 31, 2016 letter, with Loretta's name attached to it?

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