The information to which we react today comes directly from a presentation made by Dr. Hubert Minnis to the effect that, “In a unanimous vote, the Free National Movement Members-Elect of the House of Assembly after consultation with the Central Council of the FNM invited me to serve as Leader of the Official Opposition…”
This he will do.
For the record we take note of Dr. Minnis’ solemn pledge – “… to work with the Government in the best interest of the Bahamian people…”
This is precisely how things like this should be done.
Interestingly, we are quite certain that Dr. Hubert Minnis is thoroughly sincere and that he means well. Excellent too is his confession that. “…We will not oppose for the sake of opposing…”
We also applaud him [as all right-thinking Bahamians would also] when he indicates that his party “… will also stand guard over, and be ever ready to protect, the Constitutional rights and freedoms of all Bahamians…”
This man is surely standing on solid ground.
We wish him well.
By dramatic and drastic contrast, this new Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Parliament can be contrasted to that other leader, the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham who – on occasion- was bombastic, opinionated and sometimes downright insulting to his opponents.
For this he [obviously] paid a very high price; and so too have some of his toady-like acolytes and paid flunkies.
There are times in life when the gods do make people mad. There are also times in life when time, circumstance and fate conspire to resolve puzzles that once seemed unanswerable.
One such puzzle that did exercise any number of men and women in the Free National Movement would have been to determine which among them would lead once Prime Minister Ingraham had decided to leave.
For some the jockeying was done artfully and in full mimicry of the nation’s erstwhile Chief; while for others, the game was played with more finesse.
Regardless, the fact remains that all such plans have been upended by the Bahamian people.
They – in their decisive majority – decided in recently held general elections that they were sick and tired of Mr. Ingraham, his style of governance in hard times.
And they rejected him because he seemed – in his last days – to be quite out of touch with reality as they experienced it; with their homes on the auction; with their sons and daughters hungry- and with their future prospects seemingly dim.
These people voted Mr. Ingraham and his FNM crew out. Indeed, once the vote had been done and the numbers tallied, we learn that the preponderant majority of the nearly 156,000 persons who cast their votes — a turnout of 91 percent of the registered voters — rejected Hubert Ingraham and all that he stood for in these hard economic times.
By contrast, the record shows that nearly 76,000, or 49 percent, of the voters supported the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) and another 13,422, or nine percent, supported the fledgling Democratic National Alliance (DNA), making a combined total of nearly 58 percent of the voters who rejected the Free National Movement (FNM).
As a direct consequence: Of the 38 seats that were contested, the PLP won 29 seats; the FNM won nine seats with 65,651 votes; and the DNA did not win any.
Once the dust had settled on Election Day, the once high and mighty Free National Movement had won only three of the 23 seats in New Providence, both seats in Abaco, two of the five seats in Grand Bahama, and two of the eight seats in the other Family Islands.
Furthermore, only four of Ingraham’s 17 Cabinet ministers survived the contest, with notable losses by veteran politicians Tommy Turnquest, Zhivargo Laing, Desmond Bannister, Charles Maynard and Carl Bethel.
One FNM Minister who did prevail was Dr. Hubert Minnis – this because he remained connected to the people who called him forward; and clearly also, they reciprocated.
The rest of the story is today being played out as this man takes the helm in a Free National Movement that must now work diligently to not only put its house in order; but also to rally its dispirited base.
They have chosen well when they chose – by acclamation – Dr. Hubert Minnis to lead them through what must be a treacherous time.