Minnis supporters are living in an echo chamber

Dear Editor,

I was not the least bit surprised at the many negative comments aimed at former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in the comment thread of an article published on the Our News Bahamas Facebook page last week.

What I have noticed since the September 2021 election is that many of Minnis’ detractors are young Bahamian voters who are nursing a grudge against him for the many lockdowns coupled with the arduous shopping arrangements enforced on us during the COVID pandemic.

Minnis also raised the ire of many within the Christian community because of the heavy-handed restrictions placed on houses of worship.

Many of these churches have yet to recover amid dwindling church attendance by parishioners who have opted to watch Sunday morning services on zoom, Facebook and YouTube instead of attending church.

The consensus among the voting bloc of young voters is that the Free National Movement administration impinged upon their constitutional rights.

The Minnis detractors are not factoring in the global situation in 2020, when most nations were subjected to lockdowns in an effort to stem the rising tide of COVID-19.

They are also not factoring in Hurricane Dorian, the most devastating storm to slam into The Bahamas in modern times.

Minnis was dealt a bad hand — something not one of the previous three prime ministers have had to contend with.

What transpired under Minnis with the COVID lockdowns wasn’t unique, as the Minnis detractors would know, as many of them were announced by CNN, BBC, Fox News and other international media houses.

Only revisionists of recent history would attempt to argue otherwise.

Having said that, FNMs from the Minnis camp must come to grips with the reality that the low election turnout was an indictment on Minnis.

Of the 126,271 Bahamians who voted in 2021, the FNM only got 46,030 or 36.45 percent of the votes. When you take into consideration the 194,524 registered voters, the FNM only gained a shocking 23.71 percent.

The Progressive Liberal Party polled 23,377 more votes than the FNM, gaining 66,407. It is safe to assume that the overwhelming majority of PLPs, smelling blood in the water, made it a point to go out and vote.

I am not prepared to interpret the electoral data as the FNM having fewer than 50,000 supporters.

What I believe occurred on Election Day was that tens of thousands of disillusioned FNMs chose not to vote because of Minnis.

Bear in mind that a staggering 68,253 Bahamians did not cast a ballot.

What the foregoing suggests to me is that Minnis is a polarizing figure, not only nationally, but also within the FNM.

There has been much talk about the current FNM leadership not permitting Minnis to speak at constituency association meetings.

It is now being strongly hinted that the Killarney MP will challenge FNM Leader Michael Pintard for the top post at the next convention.

Minnisites, who have never given Pintard a fair shake, seem to regard him simply as a placeholder.

They have not supported him, using every opportunity to undermine him, while nitpicking at his flaws in the public domain.

Based on what I’m detecting on the ground, Minnisites are living in an echo chamber.

They sincerely believe that Bahamians are fully prepared, with many buckling under the weight of inflation, to hand their government over to Minnis again.

I personally don’t have anything against Minnis. But the electoral numbers suggest that he would be a huge gamble for the FNM moving forward.

Minnisites are only fooling themselves. I encourage them to walk the streets and talk to the young people.

I spoke with one 27-year-old swing voter, who, as far as I’m aware, does not keep abreast of current national news, yet he voiced his opposition to Minnis because of the COVID lockdowns.

The Minnis camp might succeed in convincing FNM convention delegates to unseat Pintard for Minnis, but they would face an uphill battle in persuading young swing voters to support Minnis.

Many young Bahamians, many of whom are swing voters, are simply not prepared to forgive him for the COVID lockdowns.

Moreover, the abysmal election numbers for the FNM suggests that thousands of FNMs have moved on from him.

I honestly don’t think those within the Minnis camp appreciate just how unpopular he is and need to reconsider what they’re doing to the party – and to the country as well.

Kevin Evans

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