The FNM train wreck
At this point in time, the Free National Movement (FNM) is a barely functional, unviable opposition that is in no state to form the government if given the chance.
This is a crying shame as a healthy opposition is key to a healthy democracy.
But the FNM has yet to recover from the wounds suffered during the last election due to self-inflicted trauma.
Currently, there is an internecine conflict occurring between former Prime Minister and FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and current FNM Leader Michael Pintard.
Any suggestion to the contrary is nonsense.
Of late, things have escalated due to the leadership of the party seeking to prevent Minnis from speaking to constituency associations.
When the former prime minister attended an FNM Council meeting Thursday before last, things got heated when Minnis voiced his objection to being prevented from addressing association meetings.
It was an undemocratic move by the leadership of the party, who had no legitimate reason to prevent the former prime minister from speaking.
Pintard and FNM Chairman Dr. Duane Sands came off looking paranoid and insecure.
On Tuesday, in the latest episode of what has been a bizarre saga perpetuated by Minnis’ continued thirst for power, dueling constituency association meetings were held.
Minnis spoke to FNMs at the Garden Hills Constituency Association meeting, even though one senior FNM — Deputy Chairman Don Saunders — confirmed earlier in the evening that the association chairman was advised by the party leadership not to hold the meeting.
Pintard, meanwhile, was speaking at a Centreville association meeting.
His address came hours after the FNM informed the media that he would be doing so.
Both men spoke at the same time and were live on Facebook.
The FNM’s official Facebook page and Pintard’s and Minnis’ pages streamed the Garden Hills meeting.
Pintard told supporters, who were cheering him on, that he loves The Bahamas and the party.
“The reality is that the day that you decide that our love affair is over, I’ll keep loving you, even if it means from a further distance,” he said.
“But I will never leave the organization that you and I have helped to build. Not only will I not leave it, I will seek not to behave in a manner that I damage the organization that we built.
“It’s bigger than any one man, bigger than any one woman.”
After Minnis spoke in Garden Hills, he was asked about Pintard’s comments in Centreville that the party is bigger than any one individual.
He said, “Michael Pintard is the leader. I respect the leadership.”
Minnis noted that he was invited to speak at the Garden Hills meeting.
“If I’m invited to speak, I speak,” he said.
Former MPs Desmond Bannister, Renward Wells and Mark Humes attended the meeting in Garden Hills, as did Long Island MP Adrian Gibson.
Among those at the Centreville meeting were St. Barnabas MP and FNM Deputy Leader Shanendon Cartwright, St. Anne’s MP Adrian White, Sands, FNM Senator Darren Henfield, and former minister Elsworth Johnson.
Minnis is fooling no one. Neither is Pintard.
The former prime minister and his surrogates are clearly campaigning to get his old job back, and the leadership of the party is clearly trying to silence him.
It is unconscionable that Minnis would so flagrantly throw in the face of the current leadership his use of the internal organs of the party to regain his status.
Battle lines have clearly been drawn and the disrespect of Pintard is palpable.
Were this in the run up to the election, or just prior to a convention, one could fully understand campaigning for leadership.
However, it has been less than two years since the leadership issue was settled; now is not the time.
Failing to do what was needed after taking the diplomatic approach has put Pintard in this position.
And things will likely get worse from here after the Supreme Court ordered that one of Minnis’ chief agitants cannot be blocked from attending council meetings while his lawsuit against Pintard plays out.
Pintard is in a most unfortunate position, but he should allow Minnis to speak to the associations if that is what he wishes to do.
He may be surprised how few people are actually inclined to listen to what Minnis has to say.
The Progressive Liberal Party needs a check on its power, and with the FNM currently being a train wreck, it is in no position to provide that.