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Free National Movement (FNM) Feud Escalates

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Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is facing sharp criticism from a section of the party

FNM Feud Escalates

FNM Feud Escalates






By Candia Dames

Nassau, Bahamas

31 March 2006





As the Free National Movement positions itself for what it expects will be another rigorous election campaign, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham is facing sharp criticism from a section of the party accusing him of approaching the selection of candidates in a dictatorial manner.


The Action Group of the FNM released a statement late last night as members of the party were gathered for a crucial council meeting, slamming Mr. Ingraham over the matter.


"The Action Group of the Free National Movement takes great exception to the cavalier and high-handed manner in which the leader of our party, the FNM, is finding and appointing candidates to carry our party’s banner into the next general election," the statement said.


"We are also concerned with the lack of respectful review given to sincere FNMs who were campaigning in the various constituencies for the past three years and have developed warmth and bonding with the residents of these constituents."


Under the leadership of Tommy Turnquest, several candidates had already been positioned for certain constituencies and at least two of them had been publicly announced.


At the party’s convention last November, before Mr. Ingraham was re-elected, it was announced that former deputy leader Sidney Collie was the candidate for Adelaide, a seat presently held by the PLP’s Michael Halkitis.


Now, the Journal has learnt the present CDR (Coalition for Democratic Reform) executive, Charles Maynard, is Mr. Ingraham’s choice for the FNM’s Adelaide candidate.


Another CDR executive, Phenton Neymour, is expected to be the FNM candidate for South Beach.


It is understood that attorney Wallace Rolle, who represented the woman who had claimed in late 2004 that she was raped by PLP Minister Bradley Roberts, was set to become the FNM’s candidate for South Beach.


But a party insider claimed that Mr. Ingraham has dumped Mr. Rolle and instead intends to give the nomination to Mr. Neymour.


Branville McCartney, who has already said in newspaper articles that he has secured the FNM nomination for St. Thomas More, has also reportedly learnt that under Mr. Ingraham, this will no be the case.


Mr. McCartney is now expected to run in Golden Gates against Labour and Immigration Minister Shane Gibson. Under Mr. Turnquest, Michael Foulkes was expected to become the FNM’s candidate for Golden Gates.


Elma Campbell is expected to be given the St. Thomas More nomination.


In another move that has reportedly angered some in the FNM, former Registrar General Elizabeth Thompson is poised to become the FNM’s candidate for Elizabeth, FNM insiders have told the Journal.


It means that Sonny Russell, who lost the Farm Road seat to Prime Minister Perry Christie in 2002, will no longer become the candidate for Elizabeth as some in the FNM had expected.


Margaret Rodgers, the immediate past-president of the FNM’s Women’s Association, was expecting to get the nomination for Yamacraw, and had already started campaigning.


Party insiders say that lawyer Michael Barnett is being courted to accept the Yamacraw nomination; however, it is not clear if Mr. Barnett is willing to take up the offer.


The Action Group said it was concerned that the "newly rescued political refugees some of whom have yet to renounce their political party, are being directed to these constituencies."


The statement said, "Among these political refugees are persons who have no experience in organisational politics and possess no political skills. They should not be allowed to bypass qualified, loyal, decent and committed FNMs."


The Action Group said that while it welcomes all persons as the party seeks to continue to broaden its tenet and to invite others, "we must insist on the principle of decency and fair play. We call upon our leader to do the right thing – Put the FNM first."


Speaking in Grand Bahama on Saturday night, Mr. Ingraham said he planned to start announcing candidates in May and will also hold a rally in New Providence that same month.


The former prime minister was re-elected last November at the FNM convention amid much anticipation and excitement. He said at the time he expected "a good fight" with Mr. Christie.


The PLP, meanwhile, has already approved the nominations of several candidates as it prepares for the general election.


Among them are Marathon MP Ron Pinder; North Andros and the Berry Islands MP Vincent Peet; West End and Bimini MP Obie Wilchcombe; Pinewood MP Allyson Maynard-Gibson; Delaporte MP Neville Wisdom; and Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip "Brave" Davis.


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