The new opposition leader
The 2012 general election was a moment of change. It began the era of new political leaders who were not members of Sir Lynden Pindling’s Cabinet.
Hubert Ingraham lost the election. So he went first. Perry Christie’s time as a leader is too nearing an end. He will be the last of Sir Lynden’s direct protégés to be prime minister.
Last night, the FNM elected its new leader in Parliament, Dr. Hubert Minnis, who will serve as the leader of the opposition. Dr. Minnis is an obstetrician and gynecologist and a businessman. He was first elected to the House of Assembly in 2007 for the Killarney constituency and was reelected to that seat on Monday. Dr. Minnis is one of only three Free National Movement (FNM) members to win a seat in New Providence.
The new opposition leader has the reputation of being a hard worker as an MP and is liked and respected by FNMs, and quite a few supporters of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). His hardest task will be convincing FNMs that the world did not come to an end on Monday. And, it did not.
The FNM won about 42 percent of the vote. That’s not bad. If 200 votes per constituency here and there swung the other way, the FNM would be the government.
The FNM has to analyze why it lost. It must do research, real scientific research and not “the boys” sitting in a restaurant talking, to determine what happened. When that is known, the party can begin to craft a message.
Dr. Minnis came out swinging last night at FNM headquarters. He said one of his first tasks as opposition leader is to investigate claims of victimization by the PLP.
“We're going to look at everything they do,” he said.
“I’ve already been informed that individuals, Bahamians...who have had contracts to build houses and do other things within this Bahamas, have already had their contracts removed.
“They’ve not been in office more than two days yet and they have already started victimizing Bahamians, yet they say Bahamians first. So we will aggressively pursue that and other matters we’ve heard of.”
Dr. Minnis is doing what an opposition leader should do. He is opposing and asking questions regarding the conduct of the government. If other FNMs rise from the bed of sorrow and assist the new opposition leader, the party may bounce back quicker than expected.
The FNM will have a leadership contest at the end of this month. At this stage and with this appointment by the party, Dr. Minnis is the frontrunner to replace Ingraham who has already tendered his resignation, which will take effect at the convention.
The peaceful election of May 7 and the quick and orderly selection of a new opposition leader demonstrate that the Bahamian democracy, despite our many problems as a country, is in decent shape.
May 10, 2012