Categorized | National News

Bannister Takes Swing At The FNM

Outgoing Free National Movement (FNM) Senator Desmond Bannister on Wednesday took a swing at his own party, criticising members who leaked his resignation to the media. He said those individuals who are working in their own self interests are ultimately hurting the FNM.

Mr. Bannister, who is scheduled to step down on September 30 from the Senate, expressed his disappointment that the information was leaked to the press.

He said FNMs should look at what transpired in Australia during their elections as an example of what not to do.

“I want to emphasise the lessons that ought to be learnt from the Australian elections. Watching Kevin Rudd as prime minister lose an election last week, not because of any problems with his leadership, but because inside his party persons did not coalesce and work together and they were seen as stabbing each other in the back and working against each other and not being able to work in an organisation. The Free National Movement has to be careful, to ensure that we support the leader of the party and we show that we support the leader of the party; that is very important in an organisation,” he told The Bahama Journal yesterday during an interview at his Sandyport law office.

“If you want to be the leader, then you run when the opportunity arises. But until such time, you direct your support to your party and your leadership. When you have your caucus meetings you can express your discontent there.”

He continued, “In an organisation where you have persons who appear to be malcontent, who go to the media and say things without discussing it with the parliamentary caucus, who show that they’re not team players, those persons can cause you to lose an election.”

In less than a year two FNM senators have resigned as senator.

Last year, Zhivargo Laing announced that he was stepping down for personal reasons.

Mr. Bannister said he agreed to stay on as leader of opposition business in the Senate to provide leadership to the party’s young Senate team.

He said he never planned to stay longer than a year.

However, FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis asked him to stay on until after the budget and he agreed.

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts on Wednesday suggested that there is more behind Mr. Bannister’s resignation.
“The sudden and unexpected resignation of a second senior member of the Ingraham cabinet in just nine months is clear evidence of a growing rift within the leadership of the Free National Movement. This latest act of political abandonment is a referendum on Dr. Minnis whose leadership was weighed in the balance and was found woefully wanting,” Mr. Roberts said.
“Further, this sequence of events clearly demonstrates for all to see that the support for and confidence in the leadership of Dr. Minnis are waning by the day.”
However, Mr. Bannister denied that his departure has anything to do with the party’s leadership.

“I support Dr. Minnis as leader of the Free National Movement. I’m proud of the fact that he has taken this on as a full-time job. I think that those are the signs of a leader and he continues to develop as a leader; I think that’s very important,” he said.

“In recent times I have seen things in the media that have disappointed me. Quite frankly, the way that this news came out with respect to my resignation clearly shows that there are a number of individuals in the party who are not being team players. I would urge those persons to continue to support the leadership as long as they are in leadership.”

It is unclear who will replace Mr. Bannister in the Senate. However, he did note that he made a recommendation on who should assume the position.

He did not want to reveal his top pick, noting it would not be fair.

“That’s the prerogative of the leader. I guess at the appropriate time he will make that decision and whoever that person is I’ll be very happy for them that they’ll get an opportunity to serve their country,” he said.

“Some people look at it as an opportunity to grandstand or an opportunity to show yourself, but it’s really an opportunity to serve and you come to it with a demeanour that you are going to give service to country. If they do that then I believe there are a number of suitable candidates in the Free National Movement who can give that type of quality service.”

Mr. Bannister said he will dedicate more time to his children and his law practice.

The Journal asked Mr. Bannister, who has served as a member of parliament, senator and party chairman whether he aspires to one day become party leader.

“You never know what will happen at sometime in the future. But right now I’m content in supporting the leader,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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