The Free National Movement’s (FNM) recent election loss was due to a number of factors, including the economy, leadership and the party being out-strategised by the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) according to former State Minister of Finance Zhivargo Laing.
Mr. Laing, while appearing as a guest Sunday on Jones and Company yesterday, said a combination of things led to the FNM’s stunning defeat.
“I think the economic distress being faced by thousands of people in the country weighed heavily on their choice and a number of people voted against that economic experience,” he said.
“I think that there were people who had Ingraham-Christie fatigue to the extent to which they felt your leadership has been around longer than I would like and they cast their vote elsewhere not for either of those parties but away from us.”
Mr. Laing also acknowledged that the FNM was not as successful as the PLP in attracting the youth vote, which all parties had made a major focus of their political campaigns.
“Young voters did not find us as attractive as we would have needed to be. The PLP put a set of dreams to the public which they bought. And that’s what parties need to do. In the end, their case versus our case won more support,” he said.
The former Marco City Member of Parliament conceded that some miscalculations were made in the FNM’s campaign, but he also defended former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham whom some pundits have blamed directly for the FNM’s loss.
He said Mr. Ingraham has both a proud and rich legacy and will be remembered by many Bahamians for his contribution to the country’s development.
“I think that he will be regarded as an extremely productive prime minister – as a prime minister who changed the mindset of the Bahamian people in terms of their relationship as led and those who lead them. Never again will Bahamian people ever feel intimidated by their leadership in terms of feeling as though I serve you and you don’t serve me,” he said.
Mr. Ingraham is a forceful leader – a no-nonsense leader. He knows what he wants to do and if he is on a path that he believes he is right he is going to do what is necessary to try and pursue those objectives. Mr. Ingraham is a very compassionate long-suffering man.”
Mr. Laing also said that the FNM’s defeat in Grand Bahama, a place that was once such a faithful stronghold of the FNM that it was dubbed ‘FNM country,’ was particularly telling of the economic distress that contribute to the party’s election loss.
“In terms of the economic suffering on Grand Bahama, we were unable to bring any dramatic turnaround to that and people were hurt. And when people are hurting they will hurt you at the polls,” Mr. Laing said.