Published On: Fri, Oct 19th, 2012

Bahamas opposition leader under threat after election loss

NASSAU, Bahamas - A senior Free National Movement (FNM) official told The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday that Dr Hubert Minnis’ time as leader is “winding down” after the crushing defeat the opposition party suffered in Monday’s by-election.

According to the source, FNMs are deeply troubled by recent statements Minnis has made to the public: First that former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s era is over and secondly that the FNM as a party should take responsibility for Monday’s loss, not just him.

The source said Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) officials and supporters have long been saying that the Ingraham era is over and for the FNM leader to echo that is “troubling”.

Also, the source said, as leader of the party, Minnis should take full responsibility for the loss and FNMs find it troubling that he has not.

“He won’t be there long,” the source said.

Asked who would fulfill the role of leader, the source said Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner is being eyed to take up the mantle.

The source said the party would hold a special council meeting on Thursday night to discuss Monday’s by-election.

“The council meeting won’t be good for him,” the source said.

“He has an opportunity to say some things that may amend some of the statements he made over the last few days but that’s up to him.”

No force in the party is looking to dethrone Minnis as yet, said the source, but generally people in the FNM are disappointed in him.

“His whole position during the election was that he would get more votes than Ingraham, which left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths,” the source said.

“Really he was saying that he could do a better job in North Abaco than Ingraham.”

Another aspect that upset FNMs, the source said, was that the campaign in North Abaco appeared to be disorganized, with “shoddy” advertisements and ground work.

The source also said that the constant claims of victimization on the island by the party leader were “played out and untrue”.

“No one was victimized in Abaco,” the source said. “People were intimidated but not victimized.”

Late FNM chairman Charles Maynard previously said that Minnis had less than 12-18 months to prove that he had what it takes to lead the party.

After the FNM lost the by-election on Monday night, Minnis declared that the “the Ingraham era is over”.

“I wish him luck in his future endeavours,” Minnis said, referring to his former leader.

“But his era is over. That’s it for him.”

Minnis went further and said: “There is only going to be one leader going forward.”

Minnis was reportedly troubled that Ingraham appeared to concede the election when the party’s communications unit sent out his statement acknowledging the party’s defeat before Minnis.

However, Ingraham said on Monday night, “I made no concession on behalf of the FNM.

“It had nothing to do with Dr Minnis and the FNM issuing a statement.”

The party has lost the last three elections in the country, the 2010 Elizabeth by-election, the 2012 general election and Monday’s by-election in which the party lost Ingraham’s seat, which he held for more than 30 years, by 854 votes.

By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter

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