Dear Editor, 2012 will go on record as being one of the worst years in the history of the Free National Movement (FNM). This was not supposed to be the case, however. You see, this month and year marks the 20th anniversary of the FNM’s stunning victory in 1992 (August 19) against the legendary Sir Lynden O. Pindling and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Government.
For 25 years Sir Lynden was the undisputed ruler of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. His erstwhile political son, Hubert A. Ingraham, led the perennial official opposition party to what many described as a momentous event in the annals of the history of the modern Bahamas. This would have also been a little over three months into the fourth non-consecutive term as prime minister for Ingraham had the FNM pulled off the May 7 General Election. But the Bahamian electorate voted against Ingraham and his party.
After all was said and done, only nine out of 38 candidates for the FNM were able to win a seat in the House of Assembly. The remaining 29 seats were won by PLP candidates. Many of the future leaders of the party were defeated by relatively unknown candidates. One of the FNM’s brightest candidates to fall in the May 7 electoral contest was Charles Maynard, former Member of Parliament for the Golden Isles constituency and minister of youth, sports and culture in the Ingraham administration. Like thousands of Bahamians, I was astonished and saddened after learning that Maynard had died on the early morning of August 14 in North Abaco. What makes his passing all the more shocking is the fact that he was only 42.
He was a great asset to the FNM as a chairman. I always enjoyed listening to him give radio and television interviews. He was very articulate and professional in defending the policies of his party despite being harassed and harangued by his political foes while on the radio. He always arose above the fray. He never got into mudslinging or character assassination in order to score brownie points. He always had a smile. What makes his membership to the FNM so unique is the fact that many of his family members have deep roots in the PLP.
Yet despite having grown up in that party and having served as one of the leaders of the now defunct Coalition for Democratic Reform party, he decided to join the FNM party. His death is a major setback to a party that is in the midst of a by-election campaign. Perhaps FNMs in North Abaco will rally behind Dr. Hubert Minnis and throw their support behind his candidate Greg Gomez in tribute to a man who was determined to rebuild a great political organization that appears to still be reeling from the devastating loss it suffered on May 7.
Who knows? Maybe his death will serve as a unifying factor for a party that many political pundits are saying is badly disjointed. Maynard’s sudden passing teaches us all that death is the great common denominator. All of Adam’s offspring will be taken by the icy, cold hands of death. The Old Testament Book of Job 14:5 reads, “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with Thee, Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.”’
Maynard’s death has put everything into perspective. In the last analysis, the only thing that will matter on the day we die is whether we had been fully obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ. How many elections we have been able to win or how famous we have become or how much wealth we have amassed won’t matter on the other side of death. Life is so fragile; so uncertain. You never know where the Grim Reaper is. My condolences to the Maynard family. My prayers are with you during these troubling times. I truly hope that the fallen former FNM chairman is in the presence of God and His holy angels in heaven. May his soul rest in peace.