Minnis and Davis have a stranglehold on their parties

Dear Editor,

The Tribune reported that there were 48 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

The prime minister yesterday reported an additional 20 new cases. This pushes the total number of confirmed cases in The Bahamas to 898. 

Dr. Frank Bartlett, who heads the COVID-19 Task Force on Grand Bahama, has stated that healthcare professionals of the Public Hospitals Authority on the island are overwhelmed and exhausted, due to the increasing number of new cases.

I sincerely believe that the current second wave is one reason Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is more determined to implement curfews and lockdowns —much to the annoyance of the Bahamian public, who feels like their civil liberties are being trampled on.

There are now calls for the removal of Minnis as prime minister. That will never happen.

Minnis, like Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis, has a stranglehold on his position.

I mentioned Davis because a PLP stalwart councillor told me several months ago that he favors Exumas and Ragged Island MP and Deputy Leader Chester Cooper instead of the current leader, whom he considers to be uninspiring.

Like the few stalwart councillors who supported Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin at the PLP convention in October 2017, this particular hardcore PLP supporter is in the minority.

The way the Free National Movement (FNM) and PLP are structured, their respective leaders are virtually invincible.

Moreover, the FNM National General Council and the PLP National General Council are both stacked with loyalists of both leaders who would be ruthless towards dissenters.

If an FNM MP moves for a vote of no confidence in Minnis as prime minister, he would be immediately expelled from the party, with little hope for reconciliation.

His political career would be all but finished.

Leaders of the two major political parties are rarely ousted from office, especially when they have led their parties to election victory.

When they do move on, it is usually on their own terms.

It happened with Sir Lynden O. Pindling in 1997, after his PLP suffered a consecutive defeat at the polls in convincing fashion.

The late Edmund Moxey told The Tribune that a group of PLP backbenchers had given a vote of no confidence in Pindling at a PLP parliamentary meeting on Andros in 1969 — just two years after Majority Rule.

That was a year before the Dissident Eight moved for a vote of no confidence in Parliament, which was defeated. To the rank and file of the PLP, Pindling had proven his political mettle with the 1967 and 1968 election victories.

Hubert Ingraham, the nation’s second prime minister, stepped down from the FNM for good after the party’s humiliating defeat in 2012.

Perry Christie, after losing his Centreville seat in the 2017 political wipeout of the PLP, retired from frontline politics.

Both men, like their political mentor, walked away from their posts on their own terms.

I believe that both men, had they chosen to, could’ve remained in their respective posts with very little opposition from their party stalwarts.

Despite all the chatter in the market, Minnis is going nowhere.

Davis is going nowhere.

Granted, there were major changes and shake-ups in the FNM when it was led by Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Sir Kendal G.L. Isaacs and John Henry Bostwick during the ‘70s and ‘80s.

But that was before the party had achieved the ultimate political goal of winning an election, which would have solidified the position of the leadership.

That’s why it was near impossible to remove Pindling, Ingraham or Christie. And that’s why the talk of removing Minnis amounts to nothing more than idle chatter.

Kevin Evans

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