By Hon. Philip Brave Davis Q.C.
While we rarely take much note of the conflicts, in-fighting and grievances that continuously swirl within the FNM, the recent resignation and ejections from Minnis’ team are worthy of comment because of what they reveal about the state of the nation’s governing party.
Throughout his term, the Prime Minister has demanded neither competence nor integrity from his team, but with elections looming, well aware that Bahamians view his team as unfit, he has sprung into action to create the appearance of change. This is who Minnis is – uninterested in good governance, supremely interested in his own re-election.
Just this weekend, a day before Peter Turnquest’s planned constituency walk-about, Turnquest was informed he would not be nominated again for his seat. But how long has it been since Hubert Minnis knew that Peter Turnquest was up to his neck in serious legal trouble, and that a forensic accounting audit had implicated the nation’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in fraud to the tune of tens of millions of dollars? Long before Turnquest’s resignation, of that much we can be certain. Minnis cared only when it was revealed to the public, not before.
It’s worth pausing to note what an unprecedented position our country finds itself in. Minnis and Turnquest spent years lecturing Bahamians on the importance of transparency and accountability, and now the Prime Minister is failing to report the details of hundreds of millions in pandemic spending to Parliament, his former Deputy Prime Minister is mired in extremely serious fraud charges, and the reforms they promised sit gathering dust along with so many other broken promises.
How can the Bahamian people and domestic and international investors have confidence in the government’s accounts? How can our country emerge from the economic crisis with Hubert Minnis as Minister of Finance?
Then we have the case of Dr. Duane Sands. Minnis wants Bahamians to believe the former Minister of Health was tossed out of Cabinet because he allowed a plane carrying foreigners into the country while our borders were closed. But if that were the real reason, Dionisio D’Aguilar, as Minister of Tourism and Aviation, would have lost his job, too. No, the reason Minnis has turned on Dr. Sands is that Dr. Sands is telling the truth about the government’s mismanagement of both Dorian and the pandemic, and the truth is not only uncomfortable for Hubert Minnis, it’s disqualifying.
To top things off, Speaker Halson Moultrie resigned entirely from the FNM, citing the lack of accountability and transparency, and lack of respect for the Constitution.
The chaos inside the FNM will mean some new candidates for that party – some unlucky recruits to a hopeless cause. The problem for them is that Bahamians have now had several long years to witness for themselves Minnis’ disrespect for ordinary Bahamians. We’ve seen Minnis’ contempt for nurses, teachers, journalists, taxi drivers, members of the public service, and on and on and on.
We strongly encourage Bahamians who need to re-register to urgently do so at their nearest parliamentary registration site.