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.’
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.
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.”