Tuesday, December 5, 2023

FNM In Turmoil

Former FNM MP and Cabinet Minister, The Hon Thomas Desmond Bannister has Urged Free National Movement (FNM) Leader, The Hon Michael Pintard to Call A National Party Convention ASAP to Settle The Various Issues Facing The Party - Like Leadership

Mr. Michael Pintard M.P./ Leader /The Free National Movement
Mackey Street, Nassau, The Bahamas

Dear Mr. Leader:

Thomas Desmond Bannister
I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend contemplating the issues that are currently impacting our beloved party, and consequently felt compelled to write to you.

We are both passionate about the F.N.M., which as you know was formed by a group of courageous Bahamian patriots who risked everything in order to fight tyranny in the interest of ensuring that the Bahamian people could end cronyism and prejudice in public life. Our founding fathers and those who followed them suffered through discrimination, vicious and violent attacks, and heavy handed persecution as they took the principled stance that the Bahamian people deserved and were entitled to caring and transparent leadership.

Through the years our party has provided a clear beacon of hope for our beloved country. We have stood for freedom of expression in all of its manifestations when others would have done their best to intimidate our fellow citizens into silence. Through many turbulent decades the party has fought for the rights of the Bahamian people, and earned their admiration, respect and support.

Michael Pintard
The blatant and violent attack on one of our members outside F.N.M. headquarters on Thursday night threatens to undo decades of progress. Our party has always condemned political violence. In our beloved Bahamas no person, least of all an executive of the party, should be subjected to politically inspired attacks on their person.

The recent constant discordant and hostile public airing of disagreements within the party together with litigation among party Executives; allegations of unconstitutional interference in Constituency Associations; and the perceived failure of our party to support a sitting Member of Parliament as he faces criminal prosecution before the courts have all combined to negatively impact public confidence in our ability to lead. The vocal public enmity among loyal party supporters clearly hamper the ability of the F.N.M. to be considered as a serious alternative to the governing party just when they appear to be conceding the next general election to us through their blatant miscues and alleged acts of malfeasance.

We will both appreciate that the primary purpose of a political party is to win elections and to form the Government. In this context I consider the words of the theologian and philosopher Ivan Illich that “Leadership does not depend on being right” as instructive for us. Whether or not party leaders consider that they are right in the decisions that they have taken, a thirty-four percent turnout of supporters in the recent by-elections midway through the Government’s term in office begs us to seriously consider other perspectives.

In the circumstances, I am respectfully urging you to call a National Convention for the party at the earliest possible date. Any Convention will be a referendum on your leadership, but all political Conventions are referenda on political leadership. If you cannot retain that leadership post after more than two years serving in that capacity, then this is simply not your time. Once a Convention is held and party members have been permitted to participate in free and fair leadership elections, the party leader will emerge with a national mandate on behalf of the F.N.M. Members will appreciate that they have had the opportunity to freely campaign and vote for their chosen candidates during a national Convention. The losing candidates will be bound by the party’s mandate to coalesce with and support the elected party leadership team. The F.N.M. will then have in excess of two years to earn the confidence of the Bahamian people once again, and to regain the Government.

To delay calling a Convention will diminish confidence in your leadership. Party members will question your confidence in remaining party leader, as well as your ability to raise the requisite amount of funds that will be required to hold a Convention and to successfully contest a General election.

Simon Sinek has famously provided the guidance that “LEADERS ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE THE COURAGE TO GO FIRST, TO PUT THEMSELVES AT PERSONAL RISK TO OPEN A PATH FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW”. Putting your position of leadership at risk during a national Convention will inspire Bahamians. Whether you win or lose, you will be considered a true leader through your voluntary vulnerability, and for being seen to put the party and the Bahamian people first.

Should you win, your mandate cannot be subjected to legitimate questioning. Should you not win at Convention, you will still be elevated in the lore of the nation, to use Lord Denning’s categorization, with “bold spirits” such as Sir Cecil, rather than as a “timorous soul”. The country recognizes that even though he never became Prime Minister, Sir Cecil’s efforts contributed mightily to our eventual victories at the polls. He may not have gotten there with us, but his contributions unquestionably helped to lead us to the promised land in 1992.

In contrast, holding on to leadership without facing competition will weaken your leadership mandate, and your ability to win a general election will be open to question.

Mr. Leader, for the sake of clarity, the purpose of this email is not to seek to pass judgment on your tenure in office. Rather, it is to encourage robust, passionate and peaceful debate on issues that are important to all of us and to the future of the party. I urge you to please consider these thoughts and suggestions, which if implemented, will in my view propel our party to having a legitimate opportunity to lead our beloved Bahamaland once again.

The Free National Movement has always had an exceptional commitment to democracy; hence, I intend to share this letter with the elected members of Parliament and widely with party members, and I encourage you to do the same so that together we may stimulate widespread, amicable discussion on the issues that now face the party.

My sincere best wishes as you continue to consider pursuing the course that is best for our country.

Thomas Desmond Bannister
1. Dr. Duane Sands
National Chairman
2. Mr. Shanandon Cartwright M.P.
Deputy Leader
3. Members of Parliament:
Dr. Hubert Minnis M.P.
Mr. Kwasi Thompson M.P.
Mr. Iram Lewis M.P.
Mr. Adrian Gibson M.P.

Mr. Adrian White M.P. 

04th December,2023