Former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday dismissed speculation that he will attempt to stay on as the leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) as “gossip”, adding that he will be guided by God on his political future.
“Stop listening to gossip,” said Minnis when asked about the matter.
Asked about suggestions that he has been meeting with party delegates in an attempt to garner support ahead of the upcoming convention, Minnis said: “It was my intention to meet with various associations and whatever to thank them for all they have done and whatever else. But they have all sorts of rumors out there.”
The FNM is scheduled to hold a convention next month – its first since 2016 – after suffering a staggering defeat at the polls during the general election last month.
The FNM won just seven of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly, with Minnis seeing a drop in support in his Killarney constituency from 73 percent in 2017 to 51 percent in 2021.
Some observers viewed the defeat, combined with historically low voter turnout, as a clear rejection of Minnis.
The loss prompted the FNM into immediate talks over its future, as influential forces in the party indicated their desire for new leadership.
Following a September 22 meeting of the FNM’s Central Council, FNM Chairman Carl Culmer told reporters that Minnis will stay on as leader until a new leader is selected at the convention, adding that Minnis had pledged to work with whoever succeeds him to ensure the FNM is “battle-ready” for the next general election.
At the time, Minnis reportedly communicated that he would not present himself for leadership of the party at the convention.
However, former Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, who is viewed as a potential contender for the FNM’s leadership, suggested last week that Minnis might still try to hold on to the reins of the party.
Sands noted that Minnis’ promise did not preclude the possibility of someone else nominating him to run for leadership.
Yesterday, however, Minnis assured that his greatest priority is ensuring the FNM is victorious in the next general election.
“I want the FNM to return to power, full stop,” he said.
“We have done too much good work for us not to continue. It is essential for us to return to power and finish all of those social projects for the young people, for the underprivileged people, for the inner city. It is essential that we uplift people.”
Minnis said more details on his plans will be announced at a church service on October 24.
“I will state right then as to the direction I take,” he said.
Minnis added, “My destiny and the destiny of the world and The Bahamas is in the hands of God. And I will continue to be guided by God.”