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Minnis defends early election call in The Bahamas

Minnis defends early election call in The Bahamas
Prime Minister of The Bahamas Dr Hubert Minnis (Internet image)

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NASSAU – Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis defended his decision to call an early general election which his ruling Free National Movement (FNM) lost on September 16, saying he needed a new mandate to deal with the difficult times that will engulf the Bahamas in the future.

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) reversed its humiliating defeat in the last general election, when it was trounced 35-4 by the FNM. The party, headed by Phillip Brave won 32 of the 39 seats.

Minnis speaking at the New Mount Olive Baptist Church, said the new mandate was necessary since the government would have been faced with “very, very difficult” decisions.

“I would say to you we have some headwinds that are coming. … In order to manage those headwinds that we see coming, it was essential to have a new mandate because very, very difficult decisions have to be made,” he said, as the FNM prepares for its convention on Saturday where a new leader will be elected.

Minnis, who has indicated that he would not be contesting the leadership of the party, said “many may still ask the question why was [the] election called.

“We were determined to obtain that mandate so that we could make those difficult decisions and build a better country together.”

Minnis said the party is in a difficult place, but “we will come back even stronger,” adding “throughout our extraordinary history of half a century, the Free National Movement has weathered many storms.

“Storms forge character. Storms remind us of our purpose. Storms remind us of what is essential. Storms build resistance. Our cause endures. No one election can extinguish our hopes and our dreams for the Bahamian people.

“It is these hopes, dreams, and our many accomplishments that make the FNM an extraordinary political organisation. We remain the better party for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” Minnis said, thanking “Grand Bahama for your deep support and commitment to the Free National Movement throughout our history, during our last administration, and in the last election.

“Grand Bahama is a source of strength, a source of hope, and a source of inspiration for the FNM. This is a difficult moment in our party. Still, we have much to be proud of. History will judge us better than the present moment because we gave our all during COVID-19.”

He told constituents that they are “patriots …strong, hardworking, and resilient people” and that Hurricane Dorian and other storms did not break you.

“The pandemic has not and will not break you. Our election defeat will not break you. We have been down this road before. We will come back even stronger.” (CMC)