Bahamas

Minnis Makes Teary-Eyed Apology

todayOctober 25, 2021 2

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It was a teary-eyed swan song for Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, who yesterday asked members of the FNM to forgive him for any mistakes he has made, saying, “I am not perfect and I never will be.”

“I will continue to serve in the House of Assembly as the member of Parliament for Killarney,” said Minnis at the FNM’s 50th anniversary church service.

“I again thank the constituents of Killarney for their support since 2007 and during the recent general election.

“As a former prime minister and whatever role is assigned to me, I will support the work of the opposition to advocate on behalf of the Bahamian people and to hold the government accountable.”

As his voice cracked, Minnis continued, “It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve our country as prime minister and as member of Parliament. I thank the Bahamian people and the members of the Free National Movement for their support and their encouragement.

“I also thank the many well wishers for their advice, their prayers and their assistance. We all need God’s grace. Where I have made mistakes, I ask for your forgiveness.”

Minnis paused briefly as FNMs applauded.

His address came two days after he formally announced in a press release that he will not run for leader at the party’s convention on November 27.

It put to rest speculation that had swirled for weeks over whether he will seek to hang on as leader after calling an election eight months before one was constitutionally due and leading his party to a spectacular defeat at the polls on September 16.

As he wept, Minnis thanked his wife, Patricia Minnis, and his family, for their support.

He also defended his administration’s record.

He said he entered politics “to lift up those who had dreams for a better life but who needed and wanted more opportunity and greater access to quality education, to healthcare, home and land ownership and food and nutrition”.

“This is why our 2021 manifesto was about ensuring greater opportunity for all Bahamians as a matter of greater justice and equality,” Minnis said.

“This is why we made the University of The Bahamas and BTVI (Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute) free to all Bahamians. This is why we ensured that every student coming from the Family Islands was given a subsidy of $500 per month to assist with their accommodation.

“This is why we provided free preschool education to all Bahamians — three and four year olds. This is also why we expanded homeownership and access to Crown land.”

He said his government created the largest food program in Bahamian history, providing $51.7 million in food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the height of the pandemic, 57,000 families were being assisted,” Minnis said.

“The Small Business Development Centre helped many Bahamians to reach their dreams. We committed $50 million to help small businesses … to the tune of $250 million over five years.”

But voters rejected this record when they overwhelmingly elected the Progressive Liberal Party to office. The FNM won just seven of the 39 seats in the House of Assembly.

Prior to Friday, Minnis had refused to say publicly whether he will run for leader once again, repeatedly skirting the question.

On Friday morning, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told reporters there was no chance Minnis would be leader coming out of convention next month.

“It is clear as day to me that the current leader of the FNM will no longer be leader of the FNM after convention on November 27, and he has already told us he is not running for the office anymore,” Ingraham said.

Hours later, Minnis released his statement.

“I will not nominate for the leadership nor will I allow my name to be placed in nomination. I wish those who will contest for the leadership the very best,” he said.

The FNM’s one-day convention will be for the sole purpose of electing a new leader.

The nomination process for leader will close on November 18 and no nominations will be allowed from the convention floor.

Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis is so far the only person to announce a bid for leader.

Marco City MP Michael Pintard is also expected to run for leader.

Lewis and Pintard are the only two former Cabinet ministers who held seats in the last term to be re-elected. Kwasi Thompson, who was a senator, won the East Grand Bahama seat on September 16.

Ingraham, former FNM Leader Tommy Turnquest, FNM MPs, and former FNM Cabinet ministers were among those who attended the anniversary service at Church of God of Prophecy on East Street.

Credit: Jasper Ward – The Nassau Guardian

Written by: Dj Beats

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