Oswald Brown Writes
By OSWALD T. BROWN
There is a story in today’s Nassau Guardian that is as clear an indication as could possibly be that there is serious conflict at the leadership level in the FNM that in my view is being orchestrated by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who apparently now realizes that he made a mistake supporting the choice of Dr. Hubert Minnis to succeed him.
The story is based on a statement released on Sunday by former Labour Minister Dion Foulkes denying that the FNM engaged in victimization when it was the government. This was in stark contrast to an earlier admission by current FNM leader Dr. Minnis that the FNM had engaged in some level of victimization during its tenure as the government.
I am convinced that Foulkes was acting at the behest of Ingraham in publicly embarrassing Dr. Minnis in this manner. Indeed, Foulkes went to great lengths to defend and highly praise Ingraham’s record as Prime Minister, in outrightly denying that the FNM ever engaged in victimization.
“The FNM has always been and remains inextricably bound to the principles of good governance, accountability, transparency and fair play in government,” Foulkes stated. “The FNM has always loathed victimization and finds its practice abhorrent.”
Of course, there are many Bahamians who would take issue with this blatant lie based on personal experience, but what is important here is that a senior former Minister in the Ingraham administration is publicly accusing the current leader of the party of speaking a falsehood when he says the FNM did indeed engage in victimization.
According to The Guardian’s story Dr. Minnis admitted that he had not seen the statement by Foulkes before it was released.
And according to The Guardian when asked whether Foulkes should have run the statement by him as leader of the party before releasing it, Minnis replied that he should have.
Clearly, the next step then is for Dr. Minnis, as leader of the FNM, to insist that Foulkes explain why he chose to make such a statement without first clearing it with the leadership of the party.
Obviously, this will not happen because I suspect that Foulkes gained the approval to release the statement from Ingraham, who still wields a great deal of influence in the FNM and may have decided to try and put the party back on course to possibly stand a chance to make a strong challenge to regain the government in the next election.
In all likelihood, Ingraham has reached the conclusion that this is unlikely to happen with Dr. Minnis as leader and he is now surveying the political landscape within the party to determine who would be the best person to replace Dr. Minnis.
His first choice, of course, would be Zhivargo Laing, but Laing accumulated far too much baggage as a result of the Mona Vie Scandal and his poor performance as Minister of State for Finance, which is one of the main reasons why the country’s economy deteriorated to such a poor state during the FNM’s most recent five-year term as the government.
Could the person that Ingraham now has his eyes on to push to take over the leadership of the FNM be Foulkes?
That’s quite possible, given the fact that Foulkes has always been one of the most politically astute potential leaders of the FNM, with a solid foundation in the party from his youthful days as president of the FNM Torchbearers Association. However, Foulkes has been like a leaf in a hurricane in terms of establishing himself in one constituency and has failed in the last two elections to win a seat in the House of Assembly.
But since the FNM itself is in a rebuilding stage, Foulkes’ history of failure at the constituency level may not be too heavy a millstone around his neck politically if he succeeds in becoming leader of the FNM.
This is certainly a development that Dr. Minnis should watch closely, especially if Foulkes has won the support of Ingraham and was acting on his behalf when he released his statement on Sunday. If that’s the case, clearly Dr. Minnis’ days as leader of the FNM are numbered.
It’s an interesting development, to say the least.