Letters

Options for FNM leader 

Dear Editor,

In a few short weeks, the Free National Movement (FNM) will be meeting in convention to decide on the leadership going forward.

While some people have expressed an intention to throw their hats into the ring, only Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis has announced his intention to run for leader. 

It has been suggested that St. Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright may well be a leading contender if nominated.

Others have whispered the names of Marco City MP Michael Pintard and, of course, Killarney MP, former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.

Who will emerge as leader?

There is little doubt in my mind that Minnis will self-engineer a nomination from convention floor by one of his adherents, despite his protestations and acts of coyness.

The man has become addicted to power and the trappings thereof. 

It is my belief, from sip-sip on the ground, especially here in New Providence, that few genuine FNMs support another leadership run by a failed prime minister. Indeed, it has been suggested that the Minnis era has come to an abrupt end.

I am a supporter of Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis. In a democracy such as which obtains here in our wonderful nation, however, there must and should be a vibrant opposition.

Having led his party to a massive defeat in September, added with his personality, only a very foolish FNM would want to publicly align themselves with this man.

Who else, if not Minnis?

I am not an FNM in any way, shape or form. As a Bahamian, however, may I suggest that the delegates at the upcoming convention take a calculating and serious look at Cartwright emerging as leader. He is relatively young, well-educated and extremely focused.

Yes, he is baby-faced but keep in mind that so was the then-Lynden Oscar Pindling in the early 1950s. Pindling was able to leapfrog over more experienced and older individuals, inclusive of Henry Milton Taylor and Cyril Stevenson, both original founders of the PLP. Age, dear fellow Bahamians, is nothing but a number.

I predict that PM Davis will serve a minimum of 10 years in power. By that time, Cartwright would have had ample time to demonstrate the stuff of which he is made politically.

With the possibility of a fixed election date, few Bahamians will be caught by surprise, so there should and will be more voters at future polls. No doubt, by that time Cartwright would have become more mature, and rebuild and rebrand the FNM into his own image.

There would be thousands of first-time and younger voters, especially the ones who would have been disenfranchised due to Minnis foolishly calling the general election in the midst of the roaring pandemic. These would be up for grabs.

Pintard has political baggage relative to Toggie and Bobo. Lewis, in my view, may well be a good individual, but a political pit bull is needed as leader of the FNM.

No, Cartwright may not look like or fit the usual mold of a pit bull, but as a long-time senior manager with McDonald’s and his ability to engage in the thrust and parry of parliamentary debate, he’d make a formidable leader of the new FNM.

It would take a whole lot more, however, to defeat Brave and the now entrenched PLP.

Former Elizabeth MP Dr. Duane Sands and former St. Anne’s MP Brent Symonette are yesterday’s men and have gone the way of the fabled Dodo. Sands is unelectable as leader, in my considered opinion. Symonette has always come across as too smug.

Will the upcoming FNM convention be a game of thrones or will it devolve into a spectacle of the highest order? Whoever emerges at this time cannot hinder or realistically stop Brave from becoming the best prime minister, apart from Sir Lynden, that we would ever have been blessed with.

Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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