A full-page color ad emblazoned in red, showcasing the 39 candidates of the Official Opposition Party, the Free National Movement, appeared in The Freeport News on Monday.
The bold display indicated that Party Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis and his colleagues are all together and ready. The candidates include veteran politicians, lesser-known figures in the political arena and some virtual unknowns.
Nevertheless, it is a refreshing outlook of a party that not too long ago was fractured. We point out the presence of Dr. Duane Sands (Elizabeth Constituency in New Providence) and Brent Symonette (St. Anne’s Constituency in New Providence), in the official candidates grouping.
Dr. Sands was the No. 2 person on the Loretta Butler-Turner ticket when she sought to oppose Dr. Minnis in a second FNM convention last July. Butler-Turner backed out and Sands along with her. Sands, in the aftermath of tough words sent back and forth between the Butler-Turner slate and those who supported Dr. Minnis, pledged his support for the party leader.
Symonette who, as well, had publically backed Butler-Turner, took longer to come on board, but nevertheless he fell in line over a week ago, was ratified and pledged support for Dr. Minnis. Now, it is possible that Symonette has another motive. He will win in St. Anne’s and be around when the dust clears later this year, following the general elections.
If the FNM loses, the nation will see just how much he supports Dr. Minnis. Yet, for the present, it is a unified FNM that is braced for a mighty war against the incumbent Progressive Liberal Party Government. Indeed the FNM has more of a united front than at any other time since Dr. Minnis assumed leadership of the party shortly after Hubert Ingraham abandoned ship on election night in 2012.
The FNM standard bearers for Grand Bahama are: Michael Pintard (Marco City); Peter Turnquest (East Grand Bahama); Fredrick McAlpine (Pineridge); Iram lewis (Central Grand Bahama); and Pakeshia Parker-Edgecombe (West Grand Bahama/Bimini).
When the FNM wins the national elections, Grand Bahama always leads the way. From the 2007 general elections, the FNM put five GB representatives in the House of Assembly: Verna Grant-Eight Mile Rock; Neko Grant-Lucaya; Kenneth Russell –High Rock; Zhivargo Laing – Marco City; and Kwasi Thompson - Pineridge. The five winners in GB were a collective big push towards that 23 total that gave the FNM the government.
There are only five seats up for grabs this time in Grand Bahama. In this island, the campaign is heightening by the day and a bruising battle is expected down to the wire, with alternate candidates creating somewhat of an issue, particularly in Marco City.
With an embattled sitting government facing a disillusioned and unhappy electorate the FNM candidates are well positioned to be big trouble for the PLP.
Of course, the future holds the answer regarding the will of the people.
Whatever the eventual result though, at the moment, the FNMs are lined up on the political battlefront.
Published Tuesday, March, 14, 2017