Former Cabinet Minister and diplomat under various Free National Movement governments, C. A. Smith, on Sunday issued a statement championing Dr. Hubert Minnis as the nation’s best choice for leadership.
In the communication sent to The Freeport News, Smith said The Bahamas should have a leader other than Prime Minister Perry Christie. While complimenting Christie for his services to the nation, Smith bluntly called for a different leader in these “different times.”
“The Bahamas is calling for a new leader and Dr. Hubert Minnis fits the bill” said Smith, pointing out that despite taking blows “from inside out and all about” Dr, Minnis “is still standing as the best and most viable alternative to take out nation forward.” As has been his tendency throughout a lengthy public life, Smith was respectful but made it quite clear that in his view, Dr. Minnis is better for the country at this time.
Following is the statement from C.A.Smith in its entirety:
There is no denying that a significant number of residents throughout The Bahamas are living in fear; murders and violent crimes are at an all time high. There is an urgent need for new found energy, sound creative strategies, fresh ideas and a determined will to revive and transform the Bahamian economy. Far too many of our people are out of work and employment opportunities are few to none. Our nation’s health care and education systems are crying for an overhaul; more than slick political slogans, a sustainable fix will prove rewarding. As the 2017 General Election approaches, our country is at a critical crossroad. We can embrace and engage a new brand of leadership or reelect the same old. I have had the humbling and awesome opportunity to work with the late Sir Lynden Pindling, the first Prime Minister to serve in an independent Bahamas. Those of us of that era, courageously and against all odds, strategically rallied behind a charismatic leader who proved fit in the early stages to pave the path for a modern Bahamas. While much was accomplished during Sir Lynden’s reign, power seemingly became intoxicating. A profound journey to empower the masses took a corrupt turn to enrich the chosen few. I then joined forces with the likes of the late Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield and Sir Kendal Isaacs to fight for change in the governance of the Bahamas. Cecil and Kendal were visionaries. They were deeply committed to giving the people of The Bahamas a more transparent government. While Whitfield, Isaacs and many unsung heroes labeled ‘freedom fighters’ did not live to see a change in government realized, it was their strong conviction, brilliant leadership, unwavering spirit and tenacious trails of blood, sweat and tears that blue printed the rise of one Hubert Alexander Ingraham. On Ingraham’s historic watch, ‘government in the sunshine’ exceeded slogan status. The policies and practices related to openness were revolutionary. An Ingraham led FNM government moved the country from a communist like solely owned government radio and television station to freedom of the airwaves. Ingraham gave the national narrative to the voices of the people. Among Ingraham’s other revolutionary polices, programs and practices was the implementation of Local Government. Democracy was historically deepened in The Bahamas. Grand Bahama and family island residents now control the development of their communities like never before owed to Local Government. I remain humbled and was privileged to serve in Ingraham’s cabinet and to head a number of ministries. Ingraham proved a game changer. And like Pindling, Ingraham came at a time when the Bahamian people needed someone and something different to confront and tackle the challenges identified with a different Bahamas and a different world at that time.
These are different times and we live in a different Bahamas. The world is ever changing. The Right Honorable Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has been my political brother and foe at different turns, but he remains a personal friend. Because Christie’s political shelf life is, with the greatest respect, tired and worn, I am of the view that his legacy should not be cheated. Christie and Ingraham once shared a common and courageous ilk. They both risked their political and professional capital and futures in the early 1980’s. Christie and Ingraham stood up against the flaws of Pindling and the Progressive Liberal Party. Pindling fired both men. The two, travelled different roads to recover and the rest is history. The Bahamian people have a way of rewarding risk, commitment, sacrifice, courage and those who put people first. Christie, the political leader, today, is a shadow of his past - he still has the sugar, chocolate, and all the sweet icing, but he lacks the yeast to bake the cake. Christie is to be saluted and commended for his public service, but his prime minister expiry date is fast approaching. The Bahamas now deserves and demands a new leader. These are different times. Hubert Alexander Minnis, Leader of the Free National Movement, has endured much. Minnis has taken his blows from inside, out and all about. He is still found standing as the best and most viable alternative to take our nation forward. I have worked with Pindling, served with Ingraham and now see what Christie has become. Each man contributed at a time of their fit and calling. The Bahamas is calling for a new leader and Hubert Minnis fits the bill. Minnis’ rags to riches story is a real life testament of the Bahamian dream. It is one that parents and young people can cap as inspirational. Minnis is a once poor Bains Town product who made good on the promise of a quality education that was almost impossible for him and his family to afford. His disciplined and determined traits drove his success as an educated and highly qualified physician. He is a noted gynecologist who has delivered over five thousand children. More than celebrate his status as a successful professional and businessman, Minnis is offering heart, hands and talents to have those five thousand he delivered and thousands more live the Bahamian dream. It is refreshing to see a man with such courage, commitment, passion, leadership skills and love for his people come to the forefront to help transform and shape a new Bahamas. In the coming days and weeks, Bahamians will become even more informed about a Minnis led Free National Movement plan to bring real change to our country - EMPOWERMENT is the watch word. In my most recent talks with Minnis, he remarked that life on Grand Bahama is bad and getting worse under this PLP government. He said you can count on the newly elected FNM government to focus on growing the economy and creating meaningful jobs. Hubert Minnis comes at the right time for Grand Bahama and the wider Bahamas. I take pride in the service I have given to my country and my experiences have given me first hand access to assess our former prime ministers and present Prime Minister. I am excited about a new day in The Bahamas. Dr. Hubert Alexander Minnis is fit and I believe, set to become the next Prime Minister of our Bahamas. This is the people’s time and MINNIS IS THE REAL DEAL”