FNM MPs lash out
Clifton Member of Parliament Kendal Wright and Eight Mile Rock MP Verna Grant yesterday lashed out at the Ingraham administration over its decision to eliminate their constituencies without first advising them.
But Grant was softer in her tone when she expressed disappointment in the process.
While she later voted in favor of a resolution giving effect to the boundaries report, Wright failed to show up for the vote.
The Nassau Guardian confirmed that Wright was told by his party that if he showed up and voted against the resolution giving effect to the proposals of the Boundaries Commission, he would no longer be welcomed in the Free National Movement (FNM).
The other option Wright received was to show up and support the resolution, and the third was to stay away altogether. By staying away, he will still be welcomed in the party.
Suggesting that the report of the Boundaries Commission was not fair, Wright said, “It’s like an old John Wayne movie where you say we will give him a fair trail and then we hang him in the morning.”
Clifton is one of five constituencies being eliminated in New Providence.
“You could cut Clifton. I understand that. Go ahead and cut [your] boundary lines; do what you want to do, but I say this, and I believe I speak for every member of parliament futuristically — Englerston (Glenys Hanna-Martin) and I agree with you — that when you do those kinds of things, at least somebody should let you know that there’s going to be an eradication or delimitation,” said Wright, during contribution to debate on a resolution to approve the revision of boundaries and redistribution of seats order.
“But that’s alright, if you feel that way, that’s alright. I am for progress and make no mistake about it, I do not plan to come here and say, it was alright because it is not alright for Clifton.”
Wright said, “It is not alright for any of the 41 members of this parliament that you go ahead and you limit [seats], and don’t come and ask me after it’s all done and say you must go ahead and just say it’s alright, you [have to] be kidding me.
“Clifton is out and I understand that, but at that end of the day there is a way to do things.”
In his contribution to the debate, Alfred Sears, MP for Fort Charlotte, commended Wright “for his courage”.
In addition to Clifton, Englerston, Blue Hills, Kennedy and St. Thomas More are also being eliminated.
Three new constituencies are being created in New Providence: Nassau Village, Southern Shores and Tall Pines.
The report also proposes that several names in Grand Bahama be eliminated: High Rock, Lucaya, West End and Bimini and Eight Mile Rock.
As mentioned, Grant indicated that she was not pleased with planned changes to Eight Mile Rock.
“It would be a disservice to God and my constituency if I stood here and said all is well at Eight Mile Rock at the decision to eliminate this constituency,” she said.
“We are hurt, we are confused and in most cases we are angry because a formal explanation had not been made earlier and the burden of identifying the truth was unavailable during the process.”
However, Grant said she did not think that her constituency was targeted.
Instead, she agreed with the Boundaries Commission’s reasoning behind axing her seat.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has stressed that decisions based on boundaries were made in an effort to ensure roughly an equal number of voters in each constituency.
Grant said she hopes to run in the new West Grand Bahama and Bimini.
Just before 5 p.m. yesterday, MPs passed the resolution giving effect to the proposals of the Boundaries Commission.
Bamboo Town MP Branville McCartney joined members of the Official Opposition in voting against the resolution.
The resolution was passed with three modifications: the St. Cecilia name will be eliminated as opposed to the Englerston name, which was proposed by the commission; Bain Town and Grants Town will be Bains Town and Grants Town; and Central and South Andros (as proposed by the commission) was changed to Mangrove Cay and South Andros.
The House of Assembly was adjourned to December 7.