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Culmer: FNM leadership had difficulty getting post-election report

Former Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer yesterday criticized a recent report completed by a US consultancy firm into the party’s election defeat last year, noting that the leadership of the party had difficulty obtaining the report.

Culmer said the report was never shared with the party’s election coordinator Dr. Nigel Lewis, the former deputy leader, Peter Turnquest, or himself.

“It was difficult getting information before, during and after the election,” he said.

“The present leadership team had difficulty obtaining the report as well.”

The Nassau Guardian was previously told that the 

report was paid for with party funds.

He noted that the report does not indicate who wrote it or how the information was gathered.

The report blamed the FNM’s September 2021 election defeat on low voter turnout and the party’s failure to organize at the constituency and grassroots level, and said former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis was not entirely responsible for the loss.

It was leaked on social media last week.

FNM Chairman Dr. Duane Sands said, “We, the FNM leadership team, take note of it but do not accept it as a comprehensive or entirely objective assessment of the facts or indeed as a defining map for the way forward.”

The post-election report concluded that the party’s loss could have been worse had the election been called later.

Senior party officials called the leaked document “sanitized and shallow”.

Culmer said if the report was written by the same consultants who advised the former prime minister, “there may be a bias and an attempt to repackage the former leader”.

“Before the pandemic, a group from the party outlined what was required to win back voters from the fallout from Hurricane Dorian in Abaco and Grand Bahama,” he said.

“The leader was warned that the voters were not happy with him, or the government and the early election would result in a defeat.

“He was advised to lift the lockdowns and allow the voters to get a feel of normalcy before thinking about calling an election.”

Culmer said the FNM branch associations were not ready for an early election either because MPs, association teams, and election teams were “not able to move around because of a two-year lockdown”.

“It was ill-advised to call an election in the height of the pandemic and then tell persons affected with COVID that they can come out of quarantine to vote,” Culmer said.

“The lack of communication between the leader and the party was not conducive to winning an election.”

The party, which won 35 of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly in 2017, won just seven seats in the most recent election.

The FNM held a conclave last month to analyze the reasons for its defeat.

It was concluded, The Nassau Guardian understands, that the party’s loss was connected to several issues including its failure to move with urgency; the administration’s concentration of power in the hands of the competent authority; its lack of inclusive collaboration and decision-making with party members; the manner it interacted with stakeholders, particularly its combative relationship with the media; the failure to talk with rank and file party members; and the failure to address public service matters, among others.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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