“I wish Mr. (Reece) Chipman all the best in his future endeavors and I support Mr. Chipman in all of his decisions and pray that he will continue to strive and continue to work for and on behalf of the people of Centreville,” said Pineridge Member of Parliament (MP), Frederick McAlpine, following the resignation of his colleague Reece Chipman on Wednesday, October 10.
Chipman resigned as Free National Movement (FNM) Member of Parliament for Centerville last week, the seat which was held by former Prime Minister Perry Christie for several years. Chipman, soundly defeated Christie in the May 2017 General Elections, to claim the constituency for the FNM after years of Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) dominance.
“Mr. Reece Chipman is an honourable gentleman that sits in the house of Parliament and has been a member of the Free National Movement who has worked very hard and vigorously for the party,” McAlpine added.
However, he noted, the government is disconnected and has lost its direction in following up on the needs of the people.
“I think, as I always thought, the governing party, of which I am still presently a part of, seems to be very much disconnected and somehow my party, which is the Government of The Bahamas, has lost its step in seeking to understand and to comprehend the needs of the people while in governance,” McAlpine maintained.
The outspoken MP believes more resignations will be coming very soon.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other resignations and I would say, expected and unexpected.
“I think the country thinks that changes need to be made.
“We cannot continue to be a party that pats ourselves on the back, while people are suffering and hurting and, in the process, alienating persons who have fought so hard for the Free National Movement historically,” he added.
Chipman and McAlpine, along with two other MPs – Travis Robinson (Bain and Grants Town) and Vaughn Miller (Golden Isles) voted against the VAT (valued added tax) increase back in 2018.
In a press conference last week, Chipman explained why he tendered his resignation from the FNM.
“Today (Wednesday, October 10) at 10 o’clock a.m., I would have sent a letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly (Halson Moultrie), as well as to the Chairman of the Free National Movement (Carl Culmer). I indicated to the Speaker that this is notification from Centerville to continue in the House of Assembly as an Independent, with immediate effect.
“I have also asked him to be reseated in accordance with Parliamentary systems. I’ve also asked for him five minutes of his time to address my Parliamentary colleagues.
“This decision came with lots of conversation and communication with those stakeholders who have a stake in my political direction and my political direction in Centerville, that’s my God, my family, my friends and last but not least, my constituents.
“Institutional or partisan politics at this time will not work for the constituents of Centerville or myself as its representative.
“The deepening of democracy of the parties and of the Parliament can only be the fragment of one’s imagination, but I hope that changes.”
Chipman recommitted his efforts to his constituents as an Independent representative.