Kendal Wright’s situation
A very popular down-market newspaper and an Internet daily have been reporting that the Free National Movement (FNM) Member of Parliament (MP) for Clifton, Kendall Wright, is very upset with Prime Minister Hubert Ingra- ham over the proposed elimination of his seat. There have been reports that Wright was giving serious consideration to abandoning the FNM party and joining up with Bamboo Town MP Branville McCart- ney’s Democratic National Alliance (DNA). I don’t know how true this rumor is. I have heard many Progressive Liber- al Party (PLP) supporters on two radio talk shows express- ing their wish for the Clifton MP to cross the floor in the House of Assembly. Many of these callers have expressed their disappointment in Wright for not joining the DNA.
These people are saying that Ingraham and Wright don’t get along and that is why the prime minister has decided to drop Clifton. It is obvious to me that these people don’t care about the Clifton MP. They are only interested in seeing the FNM government destabilized by Wright’s resignation from the party. I believe they are trying to create mischief within the Ingraham administration. According to the two newspapers mentioned above, had Wright resigned from Parliament this move would have forced Ingraham’s hand in calling either a by-election in Clifton or an early general election. With respect to an early general election, I don’t see how this being necessary. Of course, the Ingraham admin- istration would have to call a by-election, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that an early general election would have to be called. Even if Wright abandons the FNM, the party would still have the majority of MPs in the House.
Yet with that being said, there is a school of thought that says that Wright was against the sale of the Bahamas Telecom- munication Company (BTC) to Cable and Wireless. He was supposed to vote against the sale, but he changed his mind, according to some political observers. The prime minister, according to the an Internet daily, was displeased with Wright for even entertaining notions of going against the government in the sale of BTC. They all see the elimination of Clifton as payback for not toe- ing the party line.
But maybe these rumors are just that, rumors. If Wright is indeed upset over the pro- posed elimination of his con- stituency, then who can blame him? Wright has been a supporter of the FNM all of his life. I understand that his late father was also a rabid supporter of the governing party. Wright is considered to be an original FNM, a ‘Cecilite’.
I believe that the governing party has lost too many original FNMs in the past 10 years. The FNM cannot possibly expect to remain a formidable political force in The Bahamas if its base continues to erode. It now appears as if the FNM is facing the same dilemma it faced in the run up to the 2002 general election. The FNM lost that election because of the senseless internal squabbling among party leaders.
The columnist in The Nassau Guardian said recently that the prime minister cannot please every FNM MP. Every- body knew before the commission’s final report was made public that several par- liamentarians from both parties would be upset with Ingraham over the changes to the boundaries and the elimination of several constituencies. Yet Wright might be thinking, why Clifton? Why not the Constituency of Eliza- beth? Why not South Beach?
We must bear in mind that Wright won Clifton by a decent margin. He received 55.63 percent of the votes. His PLP challenger, Jackson Ritchie, got just 44.37 percent. Of the 25 FNM candidates in New Providence in the 2007 general election, Wright placed fourth behind Loretta Butler- Turner, Brent Symonette and Tommy Turnquest in terms of the percentage of voters who had supported him. When one considers the fact that New Providence is PLP country, that was indeed a very impres- sive performance by Wright. Now it is being said by some political observers that
Clifton will be amalgamated to the constituency of Killarney. This is being done to boost the re-election of Dr. Hubert Minnis, according to the tabloid newspaper mentioned above. If this rumor is indeed true, then one can un- derstand why Wright is upset. In the final analysis, I don’t believe the people who are constantly prodding the MP to leave the FNM will support him. I believe they are being disingenuous when they say that they would have supported Wright had he resigned from the FNM.
These people will continue to cast their ballots for whomever the PLP runs in their respective constituencies.
– Kevin Evans