FNMs hold conclave to analyze election defeat

Eight months after the 2021 general election, members of the Free National Movement (FNM) met in conclave on Saturday to formally analyze the reasons for their defeat at the polls and to chart a way forward.

During a press conference after the conclave, FNM Leader Michael Pintard outlined some of the reasons why the party believes it lost the election.

“We also believe that members of the public wanted us to be a lot more responsive to the concerns that they expressed. Whether it’s members of the media, such as yourselves, who wanted us to be more accessible — and we acknowledge that we could have been and we fully intend to be more accessible — or whether it was members of the business community that expected a greater sense of urgency from us in responding to those projects that were in the pipeline, that it took an inordinate amount of time for us to take care of,” he said.

“Then, of course, there was a concern by members of the community in the midst of COVID that their businesses were adversely affected and, certainly, in the absence of revenue that their lives were being unraveled.

“While we did not create the situation, certainly, we wear the brunt of that frustration. So, they wanted us even in the management of COVID to certainly have a different tone and style. I don’t think they doubted ultimately whether all of us cared. I think they wanted a different focus.

“Then, of course, we discussed the aftermath of Dorian and certainly the impact that persons felt Dorian had on their lives and their inability to return to their homes and businesses in a timely fashion. They wanted additional support in that regard.”

Pintard said the FNM needs to strengthen the party’s work at the level of its associations and expressed gratitude for all the members of the association who shared their views on the matter.

He said they noted the need for support and resources in the lead-up to the election.

Pintard said the association members indicated that the party could have been more responsive to the recommendations given.

He said the FNM had “a wonderful time” at the conclave.

“We know that the strategies moving forward are dependent upon the challenges that we’ve faced in the past and opportunities we may have missed,” Pintard said.

“We believe that one part of that is building the capacity of our team. So, we had a wonderful opportunity in several of the sessions to improve the capacity of our members at the national level as well as the association level. We also believe that there is a need for inspiration for all of us whether you are victorious or you would have had an unfortunate setback.”

Pintard said the conclave gave party members an opportunity to fellowship with each other.

He said he looks forward to having “greater discussions” with each constituency.

“We will leave from here and tour the entire Bahamas to meet with all of the associations and members of the community through the FNM homecoming to welcome so many of our supporters back home, who have been reaching out to us and expressing an interest in working on the team,” Pintard said.

Noticeably absent from the conclave was former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, who serves as Killarney MP.

Minnis led the party to a spectacular defeat after calling an early election in September. The Bahamas would have held an election this month if Minnis had not called an election.

The FNM won just seven of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly in the election with Minnis seeing a drop in support in Killarney from 73 percent in 2017 to 51 percent in 2021.

The election was a stark contrast to the party’s victory in 2017 when it won 35 seats.

Many viewed the FNM’s defeat as a rejection of Minnis specifically.

The loss prompted the party into immediate talks over its future and resulted in Minnis stepping down as leader.

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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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