Prime Minister Christie and Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald scoffed at Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis’ claims that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is grasping at straws after having welcomed nine former Free National Movement (FNM) members and supporters.
“A party with the heritage of the PLP ought to attract a wiser comment from the leader of the opposition. He is actually speaking of people who were members of his organization and supporters of his organization who have given much to the country,” Mr. Christie said.
Mr. Christie noted that if he were to speak of any member of the opposition he would give them the respect they deserve as contributors of The Bahamas.
“When I speak of Hubert Ingraham or even Hubert Minnis, I have to allow for the fact that they have made sacrifices and Algernon Allen is no different. Those who were not elected members they were party mechanics, they’ve worked hard for their party,” Mr. Christie stated.
The prime minister said that every individual is at liberty to support whomever they choose and to give support where they wish.
“Lester Turnquest and Byron Woodside, they are people who I really respect they made a choice to come and support [me] Perry Christie under the PLP. I support that. That is what democracy is about,” Mr. Christie stated.
Mr. Christie added that persons leave parties they support to support a different party referring to Dr. Andre Rollins and Renward Wells who left the party some time after being elected as a PLP.
“I tried to minimize what I say about Rollins and Wells who left us elected on the PLP ticket, but I’ve been disappointed that I attracted young men to my party and they decided to leave.
“There are people who leave us and go to the other side, it happens that way and we have to afford them the respect for their views. We are disappointed sometimes when they leave us but we most certainly have to respect their right to that,” Mr. Christie said.
Prime Minister Christie also alluded to the fact that there may be more FNMs to crossover in the coming weeks.
“I am gratified that I have a significant number of former members of the FNM joining me. There are others who we have not yet announced or named who are in fact joining us and we are gratified they are making a wise choice I believe and they are making a choice that they feel is a right choice for them,” Mr. Christie said.
Concurring with Mr. Christie, Mr. Fitzgerald noted that having come out of a successful convention the PLP are focused on the message they are attempting to get out to the Bahamian people and suggested that Dr. Minnis does the same.
“Dr. Minnis should focus on what the message is for his party and where he wants to take the country. We are now articulating that and our party is a party of inclusion, we have a big tent.
“We have a message which resonates and those who want to be a part of the political organization, the greatest political organization in the country the PLP, are welcomed and we invite them to come and join and say if they support us or not, and that’s all we saw at the convention,” Mr. Fitzgerald stated.