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Culmer defends decision on early campaign launch

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer fired back at critics who said it’s “inappropriate” for the FNM to start its reelection campaign so soon after Hurricane Dorian, noting that no one has the right to tell the party how to conduct its business.

“The PLP has been campaigning from day one,” Culmer told The Nassau Guardian.

“Why should the FNM allow somebody to inform them or instruct them how they should conduct their business?

“The FNM have a right to go out there and inform or whatever they want to do [or to do] what is best for the party to win the next government. They have that right. It’s asinine for someone to come and tell me how I should run my house.”

On February 10, Centreville MP Reece Chipman accused the government of “politicizing an atmosphere that right now needs all hands on deck”.

He said the government needs to focus on residents on Abaco and Grand Bahama and ensure that they “are not only safe but are rebuilding” in the wake of Dorian — a Category 5 storm that impacted the islands in early September.

The Category 5 storm — the strongest on record to hit The Bahamas – caused roughly $3.4 billion in damage and additional costs, according to officials.

Dorian impacted nearly 30,000 people and killed at least 71.

Dozens of people are still missing nearly six months after the storm, according to police.

When asked if he thought it was too soon after Dorian for the government to start reelection efforts, Culmer replied, “Hell no. The FNM is focused on multiple things. We can’t just focus on one thing and let the rest of the country go to hell.

“The FNM needs to focus on everything in the country. We’re the government. We need to be multi-focused. The FNM just cannot focus on one thing.

“We’re focused on Dorian, tourism. We’re focused on health. We’re focused on education. We’re focused on social services. Our job is to focus on running the country.”

He added, “My thing is we cannot just focus on Dorian. If we just focus on Dorian, what about education? What about health? What about national security?

“We have to focus on all these things [and] that’s why the people elected the FNM because they thought we’re the best persons to run the country.”

In January, during what had been promoted as a town hall meeting, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis launched his re-election bid.

During the event, which Culmer claimed was paid for by the FNM, Minnis touted his administration’s record in office, lashed critics and declared that the victory train is officially on a roll.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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