The DNA leader’s mistake
Branville McCartney, leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), is new to politics. He is just finishing his first term as a member of Parliament. Yet, he leads a party which hopes to have a permanent presence in The Bahamas.
In a story in The Nassau Guardian on Wednesday the DNA leader admitted that he knew that his party’s MICAL candidate, Delano Munroe, was facing a criminal charge when Munroe was made a candidate by the party. Munroe has been charged with stealing by reason of employment.
All individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law in our country. Munroe should be allowed to defend his name in court and should not be in frontline politics while this matter is pending. McCartney should know this. He is an attorney, a MP and a party leader.
“We are looking into it and we will make a statement once we have looked into it further,” said McCartney on Wednesday.
He said the party will determine the future of Munroe’s candidacy pending the investigation and the eventual outcome of the court case.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Opposition Leader Perry Christie have been in the House of Assembly since 1977. They have been MPs for parts of five different decades. A component of McCartney’s appeal to some voters is that he is a ‘fresh face’.
The major criticism of McCartney, however, is that he does not have the experience to be prime minister. Consequently, those who are considering voting for his fledgling party are evaluating all of his decisions to determine if this criticism is true or not. Selecting and keeping Munroe as a candidate does not engender trust among these potential supporters of the DNA.
Running candidates with complicated lives can cost votes. In the 2007 general election the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) ran Shane Gibson after embarrassing pictures of Gibson and Anna Nicole Smith in an embrace were published in The Tribune. Gibson won his Golden Gates seat, but the PLP lost the election.
The Free National Movement (FNM) has continued to attack Gibson since 2007 on his record as the minister of housing in the last PLP administration, questioning his administration of the affairs of the ministry. Yet, the PLP has nominated Gibson again to be a candidate in the 2012 general election.
Reasonable observers would agree that the Anna Nicole photos caused the PLP great embarrassment and votes. The PLP, for some reason, sticks with Gibson. We are not saying that he did anything wrong. In politics some people simply become liabilities because of negative voter perception of the issues they face. Leaders who cannot ensure that these individuals serve from behind-the-scenes, or not at all, demonstrate that they are either not strong enough to make this happen or that they are out of touch with the public mood.
McCartney has made a mistake. He should inform Munroe that he should take a break from the frontline until the matter is resolved. If cleared of the charge, Munroe would be able to reenter frontline politics and state his case as a potential political candidate.
Jan 27, 2012