Categorized | National News

Laing Not Seeking FNM Leadership

Former State Minister of Finance Zhivargo Laing says he has no plans to toss his hat into the Free National Movement’s (FNM) leadership race as the party heads into its one-day convention to elect a new leader and deputy.

Mr. Laing, who lost his bid to represent the Fort Charlotte constituency in the recent general election, was appointed an opposition senator last week.

During an appearance on Jones and Company yesterday, the former Member of Parliament did not rule out seeking a leadership role within the party in the future, but said for right now he plans to serve his term in the senate.

“I do harbour the view that I can lead, but it is my choice as to when or if I do so,” Mr. Laing said.

The FNM’s convention will take place this coming Saturday. Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is seeking the top leadership role while Long Island MP-elect Loretta Butler-Turner, former Education Minister Desmond Bannister and Cassius Stuart have all announced their plans to run for the deputy leader position.

Mr. Laing, who was first elected to the House of Assembly in 1997 as the MP for Fort Charlotte, has been long viewed as a successor to current FNM Leader Hubert Ingraham.

However, Mr. Laing dismissed this perception as little more than political urban legend and he said that while he made it a point to study Mr. Ingraham’s leadership style, he was never handpicked as Mr. Ingraham’s successor.

“I was recruited by Mr. Ingraham when I was very young,” he said. “I have been placed in situations at a very young age and without experience where somebody might think here is a favoured recruit,” he said.

“But the reality is far different from what people think. I tried being where I was to study Mr. Ingraham and his leadership and to learn whatever I could. Mr. Ingraham was not giving me lessons every day of my life about leadership and sitting me down and trying to make me become the next leader of the FNM. I have listened to that nonsense and there’s nothing that I can do about that. I benefited greatly from working with Mr. Ingraham.”

The former Marco City MP said that the party continues to evaluate the factors that led to its crushing defeat at the polls on May 7.

Mr. Laing said that he, like many other Bahamians, was blindsided by the FNM’s loss.

“I think what blinded everybody was that the surveys suggested the race was very, very tight,” he said. “No survey suggested an overwhelming victory for any party. The crowds also suggested things were tight – everybody was showing impressive crowds,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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