( The forces within the FNM are determined now that Hubert Minnis is to lead them into the next general election. Despite, the meanness and cruelty of his regime, we are to face the prospect of Hubert Minnis being Prime Minister again. The forces in the FNM and their opinions were galvanized in an editorial by The Tribune in which they savaged him for being missing in action n because he went to the coronation of the King Charles in London last week. He was performing a constitutional duty but never mind that, the FNMs wanted him to stay at home and bark at the PLP, not wearing long tails and going to Westminster Abbey, listening to sweet music with his beautiful wife by his side. The Tribune editorial follows—Editor)
10 May 2023
WHILE much of the attention paid to the Bahamian delegation that travelled to London for the coronation of King Charles III centred around the event itself, something else was illuminated too – the difference between our political leaders.
There was some criticism when FNM leader Michael Pintard took up the invitation to travel to the coronation – largely because in doing so he eliminated the possibility of holding the government delegation to account over its size or expenses. In partaking, he could hardly criticise.
But there was another element that the trip also revealed. Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis’ social media accounts were constantly busy, notifying of meeting the Lord Mayor of London here, tweeting about visiting the National Archives there, highlighting members of the Bahamian diaspora he encountered, and more.
There was also mention of opportunities that might come to The Bahamas as a result of such meetings.
By contrast, the FNM leader tweeted that he had a nice suit.
Now, granted, the government has a more substantial media team at its disposal – but the contrast was marked.
As far as members of the public could see, the Prime Minister was working hard during the trip, building links and opportunities for the public. The Opposition leader was there for the ride.
Mr Pintard was not seen to be making connections, or lining himself up to be seen as a future leader of the country.
Even with a limited amount of support to publicise whatever work Mr Pintard was doing in London – and so far we do not know what that was, if any – the absence of updates did not do anything to show him in an engaging light.
Being seen to be getting things done has been a problem for Mr Pintard here at home too. With a limited delegation in the House of Assembly thanks to the FNM’s substantial defeat in the last election, there is little serious pressure they can place on the government.
#But Mr Pintard seems to be having issues closer to home before he can deal with the other side of the House – with former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis far from having gone quietly after that election loss. Indeed, to all observers, it seems as if Dr Minnis thinks he might yet lead the party once more. Mr Pintard has yet to assert himself enough to make that seem a forlorn hope.
As the coronation took place, the FNM held a party event at Marathon, with its leader far away on the other side of the Atlantic, nowhere in sight, with not even a message to supporters back home, it seems.
If Mr Pintard is to lead the party into the next election, then the FNM is going to need to raise its game to match the government’s messaging. It cannot run on a legislative record – that’s the government’s to claim – so it has to run on a strong opposition. That is absent at present, and that absence seems to start at the top, judging by Mr Pintard’s vanishing act as soon as he boarded the plane to London.
Whichever political side you support, a strong Opposition is always in the nation’s interest to hold the government to account.
It seems before the FNM can do that properly, it needs to resolve its own internal rifts. The sooner that can be done, the better for the nation.