Culmer says Minnis should not have called an early election

Former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis should not have called an early election in September, Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer said today, adding that some FNM supporters have attributed arrogance as one of the reasons why the party lost the general election.

“When you’re a leader, you have to listen to the people around you,” Culmer told The Nassau Guardian, one day before the party is set to have its leadership convention. 

“A lot of the persons around the leadership was saying that too. When you’re the leader, especially when you’re in government, you wear two hats: one is government and running the country, and one is running the party. 

“You must not forget the vehicle that got you to leader of the government which is the party and the party was saying certain things and persons in the party who know politics were saying, ‘Hey, this is not the time to do that. We’re not ready.’

“There were things that needed to happen. You know, you don’t pass a budget in July and then call an election in September. There was a lot of advice that was given that was not adhered to.”

The FNM experienced a stunning defeat at the polls on September 16 after Minnis called an election eight months before it was constitutionally due.

The party, which had secured 35 seats in the 2017 general election, won only seven seats during the most recent election.

Culmer said there is “enough blame to go around” in relation to the FNM’s defeat.

“A lot of our FNM supporters did not come out to vote so we need to find out why they did not come out to vote,” he said.

“Listening to some of the sentiments coming in during the election, they talked about arrogance. Persons talked about the way persons would call and they would not get responses. 

“There were a lot of things that were on the drawing board…There were a number of things why the FNM lost and we feel as though it is time to regroup and come back and do what is required for the party to be ready whenever the election is called.”

The FNM will host a convention tomorrow to elect its new leader as Minnis steps down in the wake of the party’s election loss.

East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson, Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis and Marco City MP Michael Pintard are contesting the leadership race. 

Culmer said the incoming leader needs to work with a team.

“The party has a team of officers that are elected and you must understand that you must work as a team, not as a person working by yourself,” he said.

“The leader must also understand that he must unite the party. He must not create silos of the party. He must unite the party going forward so that persons must feel a part of.

“You must be able to make the tough calls going forward. You must be able to go out and speak with your supporters, with your party and you must be about to speak with the media and sell your plans.”

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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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