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MPs: Minnis not a man of his word

Dr Hubert Minnis

Dr Hubert Minnis

For the full text of the memo, see below this story.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

SIX FNM parliament members have put together a damning case against their leader, Dr Hubert Minnis, highlighting a myriad of inefficiencies, including his failure to take command of the party “at almost every turn” despite their repeated efforts to support him.

And after four years at the helm of the organisation, the MPs said there was a growing “trust deficit” exacerbated by the “heartbreaking” reality that Dr Minnis “proved himself not to be a man of his word”.

As a result, they said, “our clarion call to action by this Central Council could not be clearer; we absolutely need an early convention to speak to the legitimacy of Bahamian democracy. Equally importantly, we need to confirm whether our current leader still benefits from a mandate to lead”.

They accused Dr Minnis of knowingly and intentionally distorting facts, saying one thing then doing another, and misrepresenting the words or views of his colleagues.

The MPs further insisted that Dr Minnis was a “political neophyte” when he was unanimously elected to lead them, but was supported by “legacy” leaders of the FNM along with his parliamentary team that wanted him to succeed.

They claim that Dr Minnis has not taken advantage of this support team and has failed to lead.

This scathing assessment of the Killarney MP was contained in an eight-page memorandum to the FNM’s Central Council, which according to the party’s constitution is the highest authority outside of a national convention.

Dated May 31, 2016, it names Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner, St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman, Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn, North Eleuthera MP Theo Neilly and Fort Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins as the memo’s senders.

It is an attempt to convince the council to swiftly decide on an early convention and comes days after the same MPs threatened to petition the governor general to have Dr Minnis removed as leader of the Official Opposition.

“For well over three intensely frustrating and oftentimes painful years the parliamentary team, and former colleagues, did everything they could to help and support the leader,” the memorandum, obtained by The Tribune, said.

“We gave the leader every opportunity he needed to take command of the party and lead us to victory. In doing that, the team repeatedly gave the leader tremendous latitude and deference to set the pace and the tone. Regrettably, we and the party met with failure at almost every turn. Dr Minnis just did not trust the team, nor did he trust the more than 70 years of experience in political leadership that it represented.

“For almost the entirety of his tenure—and despite repeated attempts to guide and support him—Dr Minnis proved himself incapable of leading his team. Consequently, the parliamentary team lacked focus and direction often because the leader failed to provide that focused leadership and direction. This was true of the parliamentary team and the party as a whole. There is absolutely no denying the fact that the party continues to lack a focused plan for national transformation.”

It continued: “Article 25 of the FNM’s constitution declares that the leader shall be responsible for ‘implementing and coordinating the party’s policies and political activities after consultation with the executive committee, the parliamentary members, party officers and others...’

“On a consistent basis Dr Minnis failed to lead in this regard. Almost two years ago when Prime Minister Perry Christie announced to the Bahamas and the world that he would be proceeding with a number of Constitutional Amendment (Bills), he also declared that he was making that announcement after consultation and agreement with Dr Minnis as leader of the opposition. It was a gut-wrenching experience to know that Dr Minnis’ colleagues were learning of his deal with the prime minister at the same time the rest of the Bahamas was being apprised of it.”

With respect to resignations and recommendations for Senate appointments, the MPs said Dr Minnis consulted with his “Cabinet-in-waiting” on a “need to know basis.”

“Consequently, we were frequently the last to know. Consistently, MPs learned that outsiders were able to share more about what the leader was doing before we were apprised of these actions by our leader.

“Repeatedly, the leader made policy speeches, utterances, and released policy position papers with absolutely zero consultation with his colleagues. This, after repeatedly assuring the public that he was going to be a different type of leader.”

Reality Check

Nonetheless, the MPs maintained that this scathing description of the FNM leader was not about personal agendas but that it was a “reality check.”

They maintained that the time had come for a defence of themselves after enduring “mean-spirited, vicious and personal” attacks by Dr Minnis’ ardent supporters.

“For almost the entirety of Dr Minnis’ tenure as leader, FNM MPs have been attacked and vilified by the leader’s supporters in council and on social media. With each mean-spirited, vicious and personal attack by the leader’s ardent supporters, we turned the other cheek and resisted the urge to say ‘It isn’t me.’ But there comes a time when one must put up a fight and defend himself.”

The memo said given what has happened in the party’s council over “the

past six months in particular” they had no other choice but to defend themselves.

“It is our hope that this narrative provides a more balanced representation of why your parliamentary team has functioned in the manner in which it has.

“This parliamentary team is one of accomplished and emerging ‘professionals’. Everyone continues to make tremendous sacrifices in order to serve their country. The decision to take strong action at this time is not at all about us, or some personal agenda against the leader. We act in recognition of the greater national good and the good of the party.”

As a direct result of Dr Minnis’ recent missteps, the MPs said Bahamians see the FNM as no less corrupt and no less self-interested as the PLP or DNA.

Regarding the way forward, the six MPs said this is one of the moments in history when the Bahamas is in greatest need of bold, unifying, capable leadership as the country is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis in crime and youth unemployment.

They said virtually all Bahamians agree that the country is in the midst of a crisis of unprecedented severity. As a result, they are starving for change. But they do not see the potential for change in any political party today, the MPs said.

This, they said, could result in increased likelihood that Bahamians would want to give up on the country and leave, while impatiently waiting for a new leadership/political alternative to emerge.

“Those of us who understand our history know that this is a moment in which we must demand of ourselves that we rise to the occasion. “Unfortunately, we are not currently structured to do this,” the MPs’ memorandum said.

Document

EIGHT PAGE MEMORANDUM

LINK FOR MOBILE USERS

Comments

TalRussell 8 years, 1 month ago

Comrades the three main red clarion trumpeters Loretta, Chippie and Richard are flip-flopping in asking their party's council members (and the three more recently recruited red MP trumpeters) to fall for their latest defense in drafting that misguided letter to Her Excellency - BUT no where in their letter's first draft, were there any mention of a demand that Minnis call an early convention?
If produced for council, and why shouldn't it be produced, it will read as the "power reach" it was always about?
Council needs to demand for Loretta, Chippie and Richard to produce that original draft and they will see for their own eyes that there was never a single mention of a Minnis rejection of a convention behind the true motivation to head up to the hill at Mount Fitzwilliam to meet with the colony's representative of the Queen of England?
Comrades how could you as red council members have any remaining doubt that it it has always been and still remains the one and only true motivation of the three main red trumpeters - to have Her Excellency dethrone Mnnis, to designate Long Island's Loretta to be royally appointed as the Bahamaland's most self-deserving to be the Prime Minister-in-waiting?
The original discussions leading up to the MP's letter's draft may have occurred some 19 months ago. It has been around, long before any convention talk? What has never been in doubt, is that it was kept secret and far away from the party's council members, and if this important point does not bother you - then fire Minnis and anoint a Prime Minister-in-waiting to lead you into 2017 General.

Economist 8 years, 1 month ago

PLEEEZZZZ resign Dr. Minnis, for the sake of the Country

Honestman 8 years, 1 month ago

This is the last window of opportunity for the FNM to save itself and save the country. An early convention MUST be held and if I was Dr. Minnis I would not put myself up for re-election as he clearly does not enjoy the confidence of his party as a whole. If he does this then he will gain some respect. If on the other hand he refuses an early convention and ends up taking the FNM and the country over the cliff then he will never be forgiven.

arussell 8 years, 1 month ago

I like the Doc but he's proven to be gullible. This country can't take another 5 years under the Christie PLP government.

birdiestrachan 8 years, 1 month ago

Pintard, Minnis and Bostwick are all in this together They allowed the Outspoke QC to make fools out of them. Pintard a Playwright being paid consultant fees by a law firm. Toggie and Bobo being paid to lie , were they paid by STB?. of course it was all about destablizing the Government. And the QC is fighting because he does not want the public to know who else STB was paying and for what. This all has nothing to do with the envorinment. Sly Fox and snake in the grass check the names above.

Zakary 8 years, 1 month ago

Ain't this entertaining? Papers selling good Tribune.

DEDDIE 8 years, 1 month ago

This whole affair borders on lunacy. This group is saying Minnis needs to go but not one person has indicated any willingness to grab the wheel. A bad driver is better than "no driver".Please don't suggest LBT. If you can't get an equal rights constitutional amendment pass what make anyone believe that The Bahamas is ready for a women PM.

Greentea 8 years, 1 month ago

Thats a mouthful Deddie but I don't believe they made these moves without discussing who will take over. This is a sharp group. I also don't think it will be LBT, but the senior minister, Neko Grant.

Economist 8 years, 1 month ago

Deddie, having read the 8 page memo to the FNM Council it appears that the MP's are trying to get the party to appoint a different leader. If they were to suggest some one, they would be accused of trying to overthrow Dr. Minnis. So they have done the next best thing.

Greentea 8 years, 1 month ago

This guys smug face next to Minnis has been bothering me. Who is he? Is he a sitting parliamentarian? Has he ever spoken or said anything of merit or substance? Who is he?

sheeprunner12 8 years, 1 month ago

The youngest MP in the House of Assembly from North Eleuthera ... Theo Neilly

sheeprunner12 8 years, 1 month ago

John Bostwick III for FNM leader ........ he has street credibility, political savvy/heritage and a Vision for the new Bahamas .............. time for all the other pretenders to unite behind a new generation leader and face down the PLP Giant

ThisIsOurs 8 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately the gun charge disqualifies him from leading a country crippled by gun violence. Same as the plagiarism charge should have disqualified Smith from leading a learning institution.

ThisIsOurs 8 years, 1 month ago

Its so unfortunate that the MPs went about this the way they did. They could be 100% correct but they're looking almost as bad as Minnis. They're all like a group of wild teenagers with no self control. They look bad all around, Minnis, the gang of 6, Lincolngate

They claimed to have brought up issues in council to no avail, I suspect they got nowhere with that because the way they've acted publicly mirrors the way they acted privately. Wrong approach, confusion, not leadership material, not any of them.

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