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Monday, May 23, 2022

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Pintard Stuns With Win to End Minnis’ Reign

Marco City MP Michael Pintard won the leadership position of the Free National Movement following its one-day convention that saw three candidates go head-to-head to vie for the post.

In an exuberant gathering at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Saturday, hundreds of delegates convened to cast their vote.

At the end, Pintard was declared the winner. In his victory speech, he expressed gratitude to former prime ministers and his supporters.

“…By the will of God, we will be back on 2026.”

To former parliamentarians, he encouraged, “It’s about the journey, make connections and change the course of people’s lives.”

Pintard promised that as leader of the Opposition, he will be careful in his deliberation. “We will speak in a measured way to get the result we need.”

Pintard, the favourite to win the post, competed with Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson.

Pintard won with 297 of the votes. Thompson received 103 votes and Lewis got 44 votes.

The three Grand Bahama parliamentarians made up the seven parliamentarians who retained their seats in the early election in September.

Marco City MP Michael Pintard with Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham

Pintard garnered support from former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and former St Anne’s MP Brent Symonette, and some of his former parliamentarians and Cabinet members in the Hubert Minnis led administration.

Minnis did not reveal who he voted for but said he will support the winner, in hopes that the party regain its footing to win the next general election.

Cartwright Throws Support Behind Pintard

As the one-day convention for the Free National Movement draws near, St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright endorsed Marco City MP Michael Pintard for leadership of the party.

Cartwright is one of the 7 FNM MPs who retained their seats in Parliament following the general election.

Many pondered whether Cartwright, a well-liked parliamentarian would have contended for the leadership post, but he never gave a distinct answer, only to say that he could vie for any of the leadership posts which also include the deputy leadership or chairmanship position.

Now that the convention is on Saturday, Cartwright has endorsed Pintard. Cartwright was seen sitting next to Pintard at Bahamas Harvest Church where Pintard’s campaign team held a church service on Wednesday. This signaled his support for the parliamentarian.

Cartwright said Pintard is best suited to bring “generational change and transformational leadership” to the party.

“…in this moment, with his capacity to unify the Free National Movement, it is my humble belief that Michael C. Pintard fulfills that promise,” he said.

The FNM suffered a crushing defeat at the polls on September 16, in an early election called by former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, winning only 7 of the 39 seats.

Since the loss, blame has been assigned to Minnis, causing factions within the party.

Pintard, who goes up against East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson and Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, promises to unify the factions in the party.

The party will hold another election in February to elect members for other positions. It remains to be seen if Cartwright will contend for any of those positions.

Who Will It Be – The Poet, Head Deacon or Olympian?

The nomination process for elections of the next leader of the Free National Movement closed on Thursday with three candidates vying for the top spot.

By Thursday morning, all of the candidates officially filed nomination papers to contest the leadership of the party–Michael Pintard (author of Still Standing which is a collection of poems that focuses on social inequality and injustice); Kwasi Thompson (serves as a head deacon at Calvary Temple Assemblies of God); and Iram Lewis ( a two-time Olympian 4×100 meter relay runner).

Former Cabinet Minister Pintard was the last candidate nominated for the position. He entered the party’s headquarters with scores of supporters which included Former Ambassador and House Speaker Alvin Smith and former members of parliament including Donald Saunders, Miriam Emmanuel and Travis Robinson.

“We are going into our election animated and spirited in competition and we will emerge united and resolve to function as a whole organization, committed to the development of the Bahamian people,” Pintard said.

If he is elected, Pintard said he will repair the dysfunctions in the party, unite supporters, reignite excitement within the party, collaborate with the government when it presents a “sensible” proposal that improves the lives of Bahamians and work with private and religious segments of society.

Pintard said if he is unsuccessful in his bid, he will support, “what’s best for the party.”

The big picture

The party holds a one-day convention on November 27, to fill the leadership post. Only the position of party leader will be contested. Elections for other positions will be in February.

The party was defeated at the polls on September 16 and is looking to replace former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis whom many feel was partly responsible for the party’s loss.

Thompson, the former Minister of State for Finance filed his nomination papers on Tuesday. He is believed to be backed by Minnis.  The party’s founding member Maurice Moore and the wife of FNM’s founding father Cecil Wallace-Whitfield threw their support behind Thompson.

Lewis, former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, filed his nomination papers on Wednesday saying he is in it for the long haul and promised to be a good listener.

Why it matters

The new leader of the party will lead the Opposition in the House and will be responsible for creating a strong team to hold the government accountable.

Unity of the factions within the party depends on who is the newly elected leader, whom supporters trust to lead the party into the next General election.

Here are 5 Takeaways from Pintard’s Campaign Launch

Marco City MP Michael Pintard formally joined the three-way race to contest for party leader of the Free National Movement, betting that his ability to rebuild, reconnect and reignite can restore confidence in the party after its loss at the polls.

Unlike the other candidates, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson, who offered themselves for the leadership post, Pintard launched at the British Colonial Hilton with a crowded room of supporters.

He promised, “I will work daily to ensure that I am not a liability to you. And unlike so many before, anytime I believe that there is a better option, I have no fantasies about holding any particular position. I welcome better options to serve the people that I love.

“Whatever assignment God has for me to do, I will do it. Just tonight, I believe it is this assignment. I ask for your vote.”

Here are 5 takeaways from the launch:

  1. The FNM needs leadership that empathizes and listens to people. It must begin the work to transform lives now, touching them now and not waiting until the general election.
  2. Leadership needs to handle differences in opinion. In the past, some people’s opinions were not heard, even though they should have been heard. “I want to be the kind of leader that wants the best ideas,” he said.
  3. Pintard is seeking to join camps. The party seems divided with supporters of past leaders–Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Kendal Isaacs, Hubert Ingraham, Tommy Turnquest and Hubert Minnis. However, Pintard wants unity. He said, “Let’s embrace the new without alienating the veterans. We must coexist.” Speaking directly to all party supporters, he said, “The party needs you. We need you. You are a part of the family.”
  4. He wants to build a country that appreciates talents and hard work, and move away from political polarization.
  5. Pintard says he is fearless and called on party members to stand for and with other FNMs who may be victimized.

The party leader will be elected on November 27 in a one-day convention, replacing Dr Hubert Minnis.

4 Things We Will Miss About Minnis

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is now the outgoing party leader of the Free National Movement.

He served in the position of Opposition Leader in 2012 and won the position of Prime Minister in 2017. Minnis became the fourth prime minister of the Bahamas after overcoming a bitter divide in his party.

During his reign as Prime Minister, Killer Storm Hurricane Dorian hit and destroyed two economic hubs, Abaco and Freeport in 2019, and one year later, the country’s economy was further dismantled because of business shut down and closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His reign came to an end on September 16, when the FNM lost to the PLP, retaining only seven of the thirty-nine seats.

The party is now preparing to elect a new party leader.

Here are 4 things we will miss about Minnis

COVID-19 Press Conferences

Minnis’ weekly COVID-19 press conferences and national addresses became a staple at the onset of the pandemic. Bahamians, many laid-off, tuned in to get updates on lockdowns, adjustments to curfews and vaccines. Minnis gained thousands of social media followers, some in approval and others critical of his decisions. He became the talk of the town and was unable to shake off the stigma he gained of becoming ‘a dictator.’

Drama

Minnis’ term as prime minister brought drama to the House of Assembly. The many resignations became the signature of his administration: Reece Chipman and Halson Moultrie left the FNM to become Independent MPs; Vaughn Miller crossed the floor to the PLP; Lanisha Rolle stepped down from Cabinet as Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture; Brent Symonette stepped down as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration; Minnis’ Deputy and Finance Minister bowed out and Duane Sands left his post as Minister of Health during the pandemic.

The added drama was the $5.5 billion Oban Energies project when the company’s former non-Executive Chairman Peter Kriegar forged a signature at the Heads of Agreement signing. And the Post Office deal that many saw as a conflict of interest since a then sitting Cabinet minister, was the owner of the Town Center Mall that he leased to the government.

Minnis’ indifference

Despite constant criticism, Minnis remained resolute in what he thought was the best thing to do. Minnis was criticized by the public and some from his Cabinet were said to oppose many of his policies, yet he continued on his quest. Some have called him ‘stubborn’ but Minnis carried on and seemed not to care what others thought about him.

He once stated that he would risk losing the election due to his strict handling of the pandemic, though he was being rebuked by the public.

Minnis’ memorable quotes

Quotes used by Minnis were often used for comedic release. “Where’s your compassion? Where’s your soul?” he asked business owners who laid off staff members during the pandemic.

Minnis once said he was going home to make stew when asked by the media about appointing a chief justice.

Another time, while venting his frustration after repeated questions from the media, Minnis responded, “A is A, B is B, 1, 2, 3.”

And the one quote that soured his relationship with former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was when he stated, “The Ingraham era is over.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tearful Minnis Bids Farewell as Party Leader

An emotional former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis offered apologies at his party’s 50th Anniversary on Sunday.

Teary-eyed during his speech, he said, “Where I have made mistakes, I ask for forgiveness.”

The congregation made up of former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, sitting members of parliament, former parliamentarians and supporters stood in applause as he sniffed and cried.

“I am not perfect and I never will be.”

This was a much-anticipated event as Minnis was due to announce the direction he will take as the FNM sits in Opposition after its loss at the electoral polls.

However, on Friday Minnis revealed that he will not nominate for the leadership nor will allow anyone to nominate his name, as speculations arose that he will seek to be reelected as the leader.

At the anniversary service, he reiterated the role he intends to play as the sitting MP for Killarney.

“As the former Prime Minister, whatever role assigned to me, I will support the role of the Opposition.”

Speaking to his wife Patricia, he said, “You are my greatest support. You were and remain my greatest critic.”

Minnis added that he will remain committed to the party.

“I remain an FNM…I will remain loyal and faithful to the FNM and its values.”

The party’s one-day convention will be held on November 27 when a new leader will be elected.

Will He or Won’t He? Minnis Makes it Emphatically Clear

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has teased the public on the possibility that he will run for leadership of the Free National Movement on November 27 when the party holds a one-day convention.

When the question was put to him by reporters, Minnis never directly answered the question only to say he would let God guide his next step.

This caused speculations that Minnis would run for party leadership despite stating that he would not after the party lost the majority of its seats in the early election on September 16.

Minnis today is stating emphatically that he “will not nominate for the leadership nor will I allow my name to be placed in nomination,” he said in a statement.

This comes as a surprising move after former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told reporters that he found it interesting that people were still questioning whether Minnis will seek re-election for the leadership of the party.

Ingraham said on Friday morning, “It is clear to me that the current leader of the FNM will no longer be the leader of the FNM after the convention on November 27, and he has already told us he is not running for the office anymore.

“The party has determined it will hold a one-day convention with the sole purpose of electing a leader. That’s what is going to happen.

“I shall be there, God willing, and so will others in the party,” Ingraham said.

By afternoon, Minnis released this statement reassuring that he won’t seek re-election. Minnis added that he will continue in his role as a member of parliament for Killarney and “will support the work of the Official Opposition.”

Minnis has been described as a reneger by party insiders. He was accused of launching attacks inside the party on the leadership contenders and has been seeking party members’ support before the party goes to convention.

Who Will be the FNM’s Young Party Leader? We Have a Hint

After the Free National Movement suffered a tumultuous defeat at the electoral poll, the party is seeking new leadership as it transitions into a new phase as the Official Opposition.

A few names have made the rounds including St Barnabas MP Shandendon Cartwright, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, Marco City MP Michael Pintard and East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson. They are young to middle-aged politicians in their 40’s and 50’s which is quite unusual in Bahamian politics.

Only Lewis has officially announced his bid, stating on Wednesday, that the party’s defeat at the polls last month is a clear sign that “it is time for a change” as the party “needs to rebuild and reconnect to its base.” He is adamant that he is the right man for the job.”

Fifty-six-year-old Lewis is new politics and is currently serving his second term in the House of Assembly, serving as Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture for seven months after the resignation of former Seabreeze MP Laneisha Rolle.

Pintard, a 46-year-old former cabinet minister who has served in two ministries, has said nothing about his bid for the leadership post, but insiders said he is contending for the post as he works to gain support from the 500 delegates.

While on Beyond the Headlines two weeks ago though, Pintard did not deny that he is running but described himself as “collaborative and inclusive,” when asked what qualifies him for the leadership post.

The public awaits his official announcement on his wish to contend the position.

Forty-five-year-old Kwasi Thompson, the former minister of state for finance, is also a possible contender for the FNM leadership post. He is said to be backed by former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, who is seeking to pair him with Senator and former North Abaco MP Darren Henfield for the deputy post if Minnis does not get the support of delegates to run again.

Cartwright was asked by reporters if he will contest for leadership of the party, he told the Nassau Guardian that he was “seriously considering” the position.

“Anytime there is a loss for a political party, there are always conversations about renewal and transition.”

However, he told the Tribune, that the bid for leadership could include a run for other leadership posts.

“Remember, leadership is the leader, the deputy leader, the chairman of the party,” he said.

But reports suggest that Cartwright could be announced as deputy leader to Pintard.

When asked who he will support for party leader, Cartwright said he will make it known at the party convention on November 27.

Cartwright, Lewis, Pintard and Thompson are the four of seven who have won their seats in the snap election on September 16 and are considered as ‘new blood.’

Pintard seems to be the strongest contender in the race.

Minnis Sworn in as Opposition Leader

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was officially sworn in on Friday as Leader of the Opposition.

When Parliament meets, Minnis will be joined by other opposition members including St. Anne’s MP Adrian White, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson, East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson and Marco City MP Michael Pintard, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis, and St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright.

Following swearing-in ceremony, Minnis said he hopes the government continue with plans to recruit young Bahamians for further education abroad for leadership positions in government entities. Minnis said he will hold the government accountable.

The big picture

Following last week’s General Election, the Minnis led adminstration lost, only winning 7 out of the 39 seats, after battling the fallouts of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Progressive Liberal Party led by former opposition leader, Philip Davis won the 32 seats.

Why it matters

Since the defeat of the Free National Movement, council members met to determine the future leadership of the party. After a vote, the party decided to keep Minnis as leader until November when a convention is held. A new leader will be picked to lead the party forward. Minnis said he will not contest the leadership post.

 

Minnis Stays Until…November

Former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis will lead the official opposition when Parliament meets again, following a vote to consider a new leader for the Free National Movement after a crushing defeat at the electoral poll.

Party Chairman Carl Culmer said Minnis will stay on as leader until November when the party holds a convention. Minnis will not contest the leadership post at the convention.

The big picture

Nearly 300 members of the council met on Wednesday evening to decide whether or not Minnis will stay on as leader when the House of Assembly meets.

This meeting follows a 17-12 vote by the executive board for Minnis to remain leader of the party until November.

Minnis won his Killarney seat, but his party lost, only retaining 7 seats.

Minnis’ fate has become the topic of discussion since the party’s loss. In 2012, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham resigned his position as FNM leader and as parliamentarian after his party lost the election.

Who are the possible contenders?

Former Cabinet Minister and MP for Marco City Michael Pintard, Former Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson and MP for St Barnabas Shandendon Cartwright all of whom have won their seats, are the favourites to succeed Minnis.