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Thursday, October 28, 2021

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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.

Davis Beats Minnis to Capture the House in Early Election

Philip Davis will capture the Parliament and reign as prime minister after victory at the polls over FNM Leader Hubert Minnis.

Davis won by a big margin capturing a majority of the seats in an early election.

A delighted Davis took to social media to express delight. “Thank you Bahamas. Your support means so much to me. It is a new day. God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”

Minnis has conceded to Davis and offered best wishes to him. He thanked the Bahamians who supported him while congratulating the FNM candidates who won their seats.

Minnis won his seat for Killarney and will lead the Opposition in the House of Assembly.

As of 9:30 pm, Kwasi Thompson, Shanendon Cartwright, Andrian Gibson, Michael Pintard, Iram Lewis and Adrian White of the FNM survived and will be a part of the opposition.

Davis will have to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination rollout, boost the economy and revive the healthcare system.

Davis was a part of the Christie administration that was voted out in 2017, which was heavily hit with scandals.

Minnis’ reign as prime minister was criticized for its handling of the Oban deal, Dorian and its aftermath, and the Emergency Orders which caused the closure of businesses.

Amidst the pandemic, Davis staged virtual rallies preaching that his government will usher in transparency, equality and prosperity.

‘Growing Pains’ at the Advance Polls

As voters cast their ballots at the advance polls on Thursday, many news agencies have characterized the process as ‘not smooth.’

   

Voters turned out in large numbers at polling stations, standing in long lines and complaining of the wait time.

Sporadic crowds were seen at some stations as the COVID-19 Task Force sought to ensure order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Former PM Hubert Ingraham said he nor his wife’s name was on the list for the advance poll.

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham left the polling station frustrated after he complained that his name was not listed at either of the two polling divisions he attended.

He later returned and was allowed to vote after an apology by Parliamentary Commissioner Lavado Duncanson.

But Minister of National Security Marvin Dames with responsibility for the Parliamentary Registration Department said he is “not surprise” at the complaints and agitation by some voters due to the increased number of voters including the elderly, allowed to vote at the advance polls.

Senior citizens are allowed to vote early to prevent exposure to the virus and long waits on lines on Election Day.

Dames said, “We would have recently had amendments to the Act. In 2017, we had a central area where advance poll voters were allowed to come and vote. That was when we had some 3,000 voters.  This is like a mini election. We have 30,000 voters.

“You’re going to have your growing pains. This is the first time we are doing this. The growing pains are not significant to really impact people’s right to vote. People are being allowed to exercise their right to vote,” Dames said.

He said his team will “continue to forge forward” and debrief to ensure a smoother running on September 16.

FNM Promises to Introduce Legislation to Replace Emergency Order in ‘Bold’ Manifesto

The Free National Movement promises to replace the Emergency Order if the party is re-elected in the next General Election.

Among other promises in its 81-page plan for the country, the party said it will “pass and bring into effect legislation to replace the Emergency Orders.”

The party released its digital Manifesto on Wednesday which its leader Dr Hubert Minnis called “bold, ambitious and comprehensive.”

“It is a well-thought-out plan with policies to grow the economy to create more Bahamian businesses, to reduce crime to invest in youth and to build up family islands and upgrade critical infrastructure.”

The party says it will also establish a coordinating group in the Ministry of Health to oversee the acquisition of therapies and treatments for people suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19.

The pandemic has placed a strain on the country’s healthcare system but the party said it will construct a six-story, 96,000 square-foot tower at the Princess Margaret Hospital to increase capacity and enhance the medical service delivery system.

The party says the multi-story medical, surgical, maternal and child health facility will cost $55 million.

The tower will also provide easy access and flow of patients on the in-patient wards that accommodate primary users of the intensive care, neonatal intensive care units and operating theaters.

The FNM says it will complete the expansion and modernization of the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Grand Bahama by constructing a new four-story tower.

“When you compare our manifesto to what the PLP put out, you will see that what the PLP publish is seriously lacking. In the dead of the night, the PLP released a mere pamphlet they said was their plan.

Minnis said his party will take the Bahamas forward in the 21st century, as it builds on the works of former FNM governments.

“The PLP is bankrupt of ideas and also on so many other levels. Don’t mind the word ‘progressive.’ Don’t mind that word on the PLP’S name. It  is the FNM that is the party of social and economic justice and equality for all of our people.”

You can read more on FNM website.

Pastor Wells Stands Firm with Davis: Don’t Talk Bad About ‘Brave’

Pastor of Living Waters Kingdom Ministries Raymond Wells is taking a stand against anyone who criticizes PLP Leader Philip Davis.

Wells took to the podium in his Sunday morning service to defend Davis and speak out against Prime Minister Hubert Minnis for insulting Davis’ reputation.

Wells is a prominent pastor in the country and a close friend of the opposition party members. The PLP’s church service was recently held at his sanctuary on Warren Street, off Thompson Boulevard.

During his Sunday morning service, Wells said, “Don’t use this campaign to assassinate others’ character. That’s what incompetent leaders do,” to cheers and handclaps from his congregation.

Shouting into the microphone, Wells told his congregation, “That’s what visionless leaders do. Visionless leaders stand up on a platform and assassinate others’ character because they have nothing else to say.

“We have a generation who don’t want to hear anything about ‘Brave’, nothing about anyone else. We want to hear where ya taking us.”

Wells then said he could make better use of his time doing other activities, instead of listening to campaign speeches about Davis.

“I aint gat the time to turn my tv on when I could be reading a good book or at least making some love to my wife, hallelujah, glory to God, and listen to you talk about who don’t like ‘Brave’, dis bout ‘Brave’, dat bout ‘Brave’.”

The big story

In wake of a General Election, Minnis held a drive-in rally last week where he criticized Davis’ ability to lead the country citing the poor conditions of his constituency, Cat Island and San Salvador, which Davis has represented for nearly 40-years.

Minnis called Davis a “lousy” representative.