Former Free National Movement Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner was appointed to serve as a consultant to the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC).
Her appointment was announced during a weekly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday.
“It is indeed a privilege and an honor for me to have accepted this position that the prime minister has invited me to undertake,” Butler-Turner said.
“For those of you who know that I’m no longer in frontline politics, it is a decision after not prevailing in the previous election that I did not want to re-enter frontline politics and thought that I can still make a difference in our country by helping to build lives and persons from an entrepreneurial standpoint.”
Butler-Turner said that, over the last four-plus years, her life has been devoted to making young people more self-sufficient in their dreams and in expanding The Bahamas’ economy.
She said she was “delighted” to be invited to serve as a consultant for SBDC, an organization that was founded during the Minnis administration.
“I believe that small businesses, micro-businesses and self-employment is truly a part of what we mean in The Bahamas when we talk about inclusion,” Butler-Turner said.
“So, today, it is a great privilege and an honor for me to take on this challenge. I am so proud of the fact that, you know, people would say most prime ministers choose people who are party supporters, who are persons within their advisory.
“I am so glad that as a Bahamian, as a nationalist, that the prime minister saw what I was doing, appreciated it, saw that I can probably be a very good fit for the dreams of the PLP (Progressive Liberal Party), the new day government in expanding our economy.”
She said that one of her mandates is to ensure that women, in particular, are given the ability to build their own businesses.
Butler-Turner is the granddaughter of Sir Milo Butler, the first governor general of an independent Bahamas, who was a member of the PLP.
Despite this, she was elected to Parliament twice while running on the FNM’s ticket.
Butler-Turner ran for leader of the party in 2016 but dropped out of the race hours before voting started.
Later that year, she and six other FNM MPs removed party leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis, as leader of the opposition.
As a result, Butler-Turner became the first woman to serve in the position in The Bahamas.
However, the move caused her to be ousted from the FNM and resulted in her running as an independent candidate for the Long Island constituency, which she won in the 2012 general election, in the 2017 general election, she lost.
Butler-Turner was asked yesterday whether her decision to serve as a consultant to the SBDC under the Davis administration indicates a shift in her political preference.
She replied, “I have got to tell you very clearly that as an independent candidate in the last election that I participated in, obviously, you know that I would no longer have been aligned with the FNM and I’ve had four and a half to five years to look at what the previous party I had been a part of had done.
“… This is no secret. I loved the PLP’s blueprint for a new day and I believe that if I can help to make that a reality, then yes, there is definitely that shift that you would like to know about.”