Letter from the FNM Stalwart

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tadalafil medical times;”>EDITOR, viagra sale levitra The Tribune.

There is a move afoot, which, if it comes to fruition, will make today – January 7, 2016 – a day that lives in infamy for all who care about the ethos and integrity of the Free National Movement.

I have been a supporter of the FNM since the early 1970s and over the years, have served in many capacities, including as a member of the party’s hallowed Central Council. I love the FNM and will uphold its founding principles until my dying day. 

Mine is a party that was forged in the fires of persecution, nurtured in the struggle against censorship and victimization. It is a bold experiment in democracy, transparency and accountability unique in Bahamian history. All who have played a part in its considerable achievements have good reason to look back with pride. 

Which is why it devastates me to admit that today, all that we have worked so hard for is rapidly slipping away under the terrifyingly incompetent leadership of Dr. Hubert Minnis. His failings are by now well known to all: his total inability to hold the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to account for any of their countless transgressions, his uncanny ability to make Perry Christie actually look competent in parliamentary debate, his poor to non-existent public relations skills, his notorious feud with the English language and his complete lack of resonance with the public at large. 

Since Minnis took the helm, there has also been an alarming trend towards evasiveness and disingenuousness in the party’s dealings. Thus, we see the removal of a well-liked senator on the excuse that the FNM has a two-year rotation policy in the upper chamber – yet other senators appointed at the same time continue to sit for three years and more. We also see Minnis embroiled in a serious conflict of interest allegation, where all his efforts to extricate himself only seem to dig the hole even deeper. 

There have also been a series of deplorable moves to compromise the party’s internal democratic process in an effort to stack the deck in Minnis’ favour and ensure he retains leadership – regardless of what the party faithful and the public at large may think. Placing personal interests above those of party and country is a tactic that belongs to the PLP. It has no place in the FNM. 

Yet we have seen several ‘Mingdomite’ appointees of questionable suitability for their positions – most notably one who is personally close enough to the leader to raise serious eyebrows over the choice. Again, ‘Friends, family and lovers’ is supposed to be the mantra of the governing party. We have also seen a cynical attempt to stave off an internal leadership challenge by the arbitrary recruitment of Renward Wells and Andre Rollins, a move that was in contravention of party protocol and may yet come to bite the party where it hurts. 

But the latest plot to stack the deck in Minnis’ favour is by far the worst. It involves the removal of all candidates who ran in the last election from the FNM’s Central Council, and their replacement with Mingdomite operatives in an effort to ensure another win should the current leader be forced into holding the convention he has assiduously sought to avoid. 

According to those in the know, this nefarious plan is set to be revealed tonight, Thursday, January 7, when the party holds an Executive Committee meeting followed by a Council meeting. The leadership is apparently refusing to disclose the agenda of these meetings; however it is understood that in addition to the announcement that old candidates are to be ousted, several new candidates are going to be unveiled. This is another underhand move. Surely, the party should wait until after convention to pick its slate of election contenders, as any new leader may not be comfortable running alongside Minnis’ choices. 

Many of the party faithful learned of the plot in a letter recently penned by a sitting council member, who felt constrained to speak after receiving an email explaining that 2012 candidates were no longer welcome. These are excerpts from that letter: 

 “This decision to tell former standard bearers of our party that they no longer have a voice in the body that is the highest authority in our party outside of convention, in my opinion is the most ill-advised decision that a political party in opposition could make.” 

 “While I agree that the constitution only allow for former candidates to serve for two years, the central council has the authority by resolution to extend it. In my conversations with various members of the party the overwhelming view is that this is an anomaly in our constitution that should be fixed but until we can get to a convention (the only forum in which the constitution can be amended) the central council should allow former candidates to sit until a new candidate is nominated for the constituency.” 

 “Colleagues, we must be extremely careful how we traverse this road, we are seemingly rewriting our party’s history. We have persons who have recently joined the party who are of the view that a convention is a voting exercise; nothing could be further from the truth. It is the responsibility of those of us who have been around to ensure that those who have recently joined our ranks not only know but have an appreciation for our history. The FNM has always had five day conventions and on an annual basis. When we lost in 2002, there was a five day convention in 2003 and another five day convention scheduled and already in the planning stages for 2004, when it was decided, because of the back to back hurricanes in Grand Bahama, to put it off. This is the point when annual conventions ceased.” 

 “There are many things wrong with our party, the removal of former candidates from council is but one of them, the intra party fight is another. We seem so comfortable cannibalizing each other; we seem to have forgotten that the enemy is not resident within the FNM but rather in the PLP. I listen carefully to some of the utterances from some of our members and can say that they are not meant to build up but rather to tear down, we seek to vilify those who would have served our party and country at the highest level and somehow believe that it will bring us support … wishful thinking.” 

With Minnis at the helm, what on earth has become of us? The constitution of the FNM talks about “fostering a spirit of caring and sharing among the Bahamian people”. It also talks about preserving and affirming “the principles of democratic government”. Under the rule of Minnis, it is easy to see how short of this mark we are falling. 

Minnis’ latest attempt to suborn the democratic process of the FNM for his own selfish ends may well mark the beginning of the end for us. It is a betrayal of the principles of the party’s founding fathers. 

Minnis must know he is but a flickering candle in the enormous shadow cast by giants like Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Kendal Isaacs and Hubert Alexander Ingraham. In his hand, the bright torch of freedom has become a stale, smouldering pile of ashes.



6 January 2016