The crossing of political floors has become commonplace in our wonderful nation. Way back in the day, nation builders like the late Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield, Sir Arthur Foulkes and Maurice Moore, et al, crossed the floor and walked out of the then-Lynden Pindling led PLP. They formed a grouping called ‘The Free PLP’ and later evolved into the now Free National Movement (FNM) and the rest is history.
Last week, Reece Chipman (MP for Centreville) departed the ruling FNM and stated that he would sit in the House as an independent and that he would continue to ‘look out’ for that constituency. This all sounds good but in reality brother Chipman will come to appreciate the ‘brutality’ of partisan politics in The Bahamas.
I know both Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham.
Chipman, with all due respect, is unlike either of them. He is a political lightweight of the highest order and may have messianic delusions. Yes, if he so wishes, he will be sacrificed or crucified from a political stance. In fact, this term will be, in my opinion, his first and last unless he drinks from the PLP’s chalice.
The last two MPs who dared to leave the then-ruling PLP and cross the floor were Renward Wells (FNM-Bamboo Town), now minister of transport and local government within the now ruling FNM administration and Andre Rollins (formerly Fort Charlotte).
Wells was fired from the Christie administration. Rollins appeared to have had a “beef” with the Christie-led regime and he, too, either left in a huff or was marginalized within the parliamentary caucus of the PLP.
Wells, being the brilliant politician that he is, was able to land on his two feet and eventually secured a nomination from the then-opposition FNM and the rest is history. He was returned in the 2017 general election.
Wells is leader of government business and holds a vital Cabinet post. Of course, both Ingraham and Christie emerged from their independent posture and went on to become prime ministers. That was then. Today is an entirely different ball game.
Chipman, a good young Bahamian, I am sure, should have stayed within the FNM for the duration and seek changes from within. He is now on the outside looking.
One of his parliamentary colleagues, Frederick McAlpine (FNM-Pineridge) congratulated Chipman and stated his public support. The reverend gentleman, however, despite his own very public differences with the prime minister and the fact that his constituency branch has disavowed him, does not have the coconuts to do a Chipman!
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is a work in progress.
He’s been in politics long enough, however, to understand the mechanism of the same.
He may appear to be out of it, but Minnis is no fool.
The FNM should have expelled Chipman, et al, months ago and stopped allowing the so-called dissidents a public platform to lambaste the administration. They were all elected on the coattails of Minnis and the FNM. Their election had very little to do with their experience, popularity or good looks.
If you are in a political party you toe the line; offer constructive criticism in party caucuses or get the hell out of the boat. Simple.
An elected or other member of any party should stick with the party that brought them to ascendancy and damned so-called principles.
To God then, who changes not, in all things, be the glory.
– Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.