Monday, Feb 24, 2020
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Butler-Turner confirms bid

Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday confirmed she intends to run again for leader of the Free National Movement (FNM), saying her bid is not about a fight in the FNM, but a fight for rescuing The Bahamas.

Butler-Turner’s announcement came more than a week after FNM Senator Dr. Duane Sands revealed she intends to run for leader and he plans to run for deputy leader.

Both ran for those positions during the party’s last convention in 2014 and were soundly beaten.

Butler-Turner believes their time has finally come.

“Despite the awesome beauty and great potential of our country, we face serious challenges,” she said at a press conference in the Minority Room of the House of Assembly.

“Our political leaders must now prove that they are equally serious about resolving these challenges.

“Now is a time for wise and competent Bahamians of the highest moral and ethical caliber to come together for the good of one country — one people, one future.

“Even as I ask this of you, I commit myself to leading by example. It is in that capacity that I am here to announce my candidacy for leader of the Free National Movement.

“And it is in this spirit of service that I will devote my energy and my life to this campaign, and to turning our country around.”

Butler-Turner was accompanied by her husband, Ed Turner, and Sands, the FNM’s candidate for Elizabeth.

Butler-Turner said she believes she and Sands are the best team to lead the FNM into the next general election and eventually turn the country around.

“… We need a movement driven by leaders and doers to unite our people to conquer crime, create jobs and build an education system to shape future generations of confident, successful Bahamians,” she said.

Butler-Turner said although she and Sands lost their bids in 2014, they have adopted a new and positive mantra.

“I think that there are very valuable lessons whenever one is able to walk away from a loss and introspect and build upon that lesson,” she said.

“So for Dr. Sands and I, we have come to adopt that mantra. We never lose. We learn.

“We truly believe that what we have at stake here today is not a fight within the FNM but a fight for the rescuing of our country.

“We present to you, we believe the strongest team that one can envision at this time in our history to take on the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party), its machinery, its ineptitude and its incompetence.

“We believe that with that in mind we shall be victorious, not for ourselves, but for the Bahamian people.”

In recent months the FNM has been in turmoil, with infighting among senior FNMs spilling into the public domain.

In May, Butler-Turner was one of six FNM MPs whose names appeared on a letter drafted to the governor general requesting that Minnis be removed as leader of the Official Opposition.

The MPs threatened to send the letter to the governor general if FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis did not agree to an early convention. Shortly after, the FNM’s Central Council determined the convention will be held in July and not November as previously planned.

Butler-Turner maintained that she and Sands are an ideal team to lead the party because most importantly, they are Bahamian.

“I think what I am going to bring to that is all of the experiences I have had thus far both in my private life and in service, both in my public life in service and obviously in all that I have done politically. I believe the country is now ready for someone who encompasses what Bahamians feel.

“I hear the cries of Bahamian mothers. I can empathize with that.

“I hear the cries of our children. I can empathize with that. I know what they need. As a wife, I know what it is to take care [of] and nurture our families, and so I believe in addition to my experience politically, that brings a whole new dimension to our leadership in our country today.”

Sands said his 22 years of experience in “battleground of healthcare” makes him a very capable complement to Butler-Turner.

“To say that I have had a crash course in understanding the things that concern Bahamians is an understatement,” he said.

“In particular, I have been on the battlefront of violence and trauma. That is where I have spent the last 22 years.”

Butler-Turner and Sands were asked whether former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has endorsed their bid for the top leadership positions in the party.

“We are working to get the endorsement of every right-thinking FNM there is,” Butler-Turner said. “Just like we are reaching out to you today, we are reaching out to other FNMs. Mr. Ingraham will be no less of a person that we will be reaching out to.

“So you can rest assured that over the next four weeks, we will try to get the endorsement of every right-thinking Bahamian, including whom we consider the greatest prime minister this Bahamas has ever seen – Hubert Alexander Ingraham”.

Pressed further on whether Ingraham had given his blessings, Butler-Turner suggested that the answer to that question is no.

“I believe that Mr. Ingraham speaks very clearly for himself and I am sure that when he is ready to endorse anyone, if he will, you will hear from him.”

The official launch of Butler-Turner and Sands’ campaign is set for July 6 in Rawson Square.

The FNM convention will take place July 27 to 29.


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