By Candia Dames
The Free National Movement’s Council Member for Bamboo Town Ricardo Smith is
threatening to sue the FNM, claiming that certain party officials are seeking to unfairly have him removed from that post.
Mr. Smith has written to the party’s national chairman, Desmond Bannister, saying
that it has been brought to his attention that nomination for election of officers for the Bamboo Town Constituency Association
was conducted and elections scheduled for May 16.
"Please be aware that the election of officers were held in September 2005 and are
not due before September 2006," Mr. Smith says in his letter dated May 8.
"Therefore, I do not understand why elections are being called at this time. This great
Free National Movement, the bedrock of freedom and democracy, has a traditional format for the conduct of such elections."
In his letter, Mr. Smith says the act amounts to "political abuse" and is not in keeping
with the rich history of the constituency association format that was introduced by the party’s founding father Sir
Cecil Wallace Whitfield.
"I call upon you, Mr. Chairman, to do the right and proper thing by declaring this
entire charade null and void," the letter says. "Failing this I will have no other recourse than to seek redress in the courts.
"I trust that this course of action will not be necessary as it will involve unnecessary
time and costs, the latter of which will invariably be for your account. I therefore expect a response within 24 hours of
receipt of this letter."
This latest round of friction within the party comes months after party officials vowed
to refrain from airing their dirty laundry in public.
Mr. Smith is a member of the FNM Action Group, which recently sharply criticized FNM
leader Hubert Ingraham over the manner in which the selection of candidates was being made.
But it was unclear whether Mr. Smith’s role in the Action Group is playing any
role in his head butting with the party’s leadership.
In his response to Mr. Smith’s letter, Mr. Bannister made it clear that he wished
not to discuss the matter in the press.
However, he told the Bahama Journal, "It’s disappointing that any member of this
party would seek to sensationalize any internal disagreements that they may have by going to the media prior to dealing with
a matter internally, and from what I understand, you’ve had the letter before I’ve had it."
Mr. Bannister said anyone who supports an organization or purports to support an organization
agrees to abide by the rules by which the organization is governed.
"This party believes and encourages fair play and fairness among its members," he said.
"No one person is going to be permitted to sabotage the hard work of our members. So I regret to hear of the divisive manner
in which this letter has been provided to the press."
He said the Free National Movement is not going to engage in any internal fighting
with any member.
"We are united as a party in the goal of providing good governance to the Bahamian
people," Mr. Bannister said.