After a crushing defeat became evident last night, outgoing Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis opted not to go before the cameras and speak to the Bahamian people, but instead released a statement conceding defeat to Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis, and announced he has no plans to resign as leader of the Free National Movement (FNM).
Minnis said he offered Davis his best wishes and congratulations.
“I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for FNM candidates,” he said.
“I also congratulate FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly.
“I am in that number and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.
“I will lead the FNM into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition. The people decide who serves as government.”
After just over four years in government, Minnis called an early election in a move that proved unsuccessful at the polls yesterday, with his party defeated in an overwhelming fashion.
Most incumbent candidates and former Cabinet members lost their seats, including the FNM’s Carmichael representative, Desmond Bannister, who served as deputy prime minister and minister of public works; the FNM Bamboo Town candidate, Renward Wells, who served as minister of health; the FNM Mount Moriah candidate Marvin Dames, who served as minister of national security; the FNM Freetown candidate, Dionisio D’Aguilar, who served as minister of tourism; the FNM Southern Shores candidate, Frankie Campbell, who served as minister of social services and the FNM South Beach candidate Jeffrey Lloyd, who served as minister of education, among others.
Minnis, who campaigned in both 2017 and in recent months on a platform of anti-corruption and transparency, called for FNM supporters to “stay firm to this party’s founding ideals”.
“Always put the people first and be honest in government,” he said.
Minnis came to power in 2017 on promises of anticorruption legislation and accountability. But with many of those promises still unfulfilled, voters were largely left disappointed.
In his speech, he cited challenges faced over the past four years, including Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also noted a number of efforts of his government over the past four years, including the provision of unemployment and social assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in small businesses, free preschool and university education, and the construction of infrastructure across many islands, among other things.
“Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco all the way to the southern islands of MICAL,” he said.
“The people determined that they preferred the PLP. My party and I accept that result. We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.”
Noting that it is important to accept the decision of the people, Minnis pledged to be responsible in opposition.
“The people have asked us to be the opposition,” he said.
“We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability. We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the government’s plans are in the best interest of the people.
“I thank my wife, Patricia, and family for supporting me during this term and throughout my life. I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the FNM for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.
“And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your prime minister. You are a strong, hardworking, and resilient people.
“Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.
“You trust in the God who has brought us this far. Trust that he will bring us further to brighter times. Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”