Acceptance Speech FNM Convention 2012 Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis Leader of the Opposition 26th May 2012
“Ignite the Future”
Deputy Leader; Parliamentary Colleagues; Fellow Officers and Party Executives; Delegates; FNMs; Fellow Bahamians:
Tonight, I have a privilege afforded to few – the privilege of accepting the leadership of our great Free National Movement. I accept this honor with gratitude and great confidence.
I am especially confident that we will demonstrate to the Bahamian people that we are the party of the future! I wish to thank those who sacrificed much of their lives to the success of the Free National Movement Party and our country. In particular, I thank my immediate predecessor, the Rt. Honorable Hubert Ingraham.
I say to my friend and our former Leader and Prime Minister: You gave your all to develop this Bahamaland; We have experienced great advances under your watch. Our nation thanks you with profound gratitude, and thousands of Bahamians no doubt will continue to express this chorus of gratitude in many years to come. Tonight, I thank also my family, especially my wife Patricia, my father Randolph Minnis, my sons, my sisters and brothers who were always willing to provide feedback, especially Boxer, and my entire extended family. However, I am saddened tonight that my Mother, Rosalie North, who has passed away, cannot share this journey with me. My political journey would not have been possible without the Killarney Angels as I call them. I thank these angels for the countless hours, days, weeks, and indeed years dedicated to our successful Killarney programs, communications network, and to my campaigns.
Without you, I would not be here tonight. You stood by me when I needed you most. I will not let you down. My life has been filled with many challenges. I know from life-long experience that success demands commitment, persistence and hard work. With my acceptance tonight, I promise to work hard and fight even harder towards the FNM becoming the next government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. I reflected on when I first approached my family with the idea of running for political office. What resonated with me, more than anything else, were the words of my son Runako. I asked him what his views were of me entering politics.
He said to me, “I don’t like politics but if I you are going into it for the right reason, then I can accept it.” I then asked, “What were the right reasons?” His reply was this:
1) You must not change;
2) You must not become arrogant;
3) You must never become corrupt;
4) You must never feel that you are better than the people;
5) You must always remember that you are there to serve the people and not yourself and finally;
6.) You must always try to improve the life and well-being of the people. So, I entered frontline politics through the eyes of the future. It is through these eyes that I continue to envision a better future for the country we love. My Fellow Colleagues; FNMs:
We have suffered an election loss. There is great disappointment, as we all looked forward to continuing the good work we launched beginning in 2007. But we know from Scripture and from our own life experience that out of loss may come new life and a new day.
So, let us embark on a new day. Our tasks are: To renew our party, revitalize our plans, rebuild confidence, and return as the next government of this great Commonwealth.
The Free National Movement will rise from this defeat like a phoenix, emerging with greater strength, wisdom and fortitude. Our torch will never be extinguished! We are keepers of the flame. We are torchbearers. We are the accelerants to ignite the fire. We will continue to ignite the future in our country and in our party. My Fellow Bahamians Dear Friends:
I am called by many a “quiet storm”. Within me is a deep passion for The Bahamas, and a fierce determination to fight for a better country especially for the most vulnerable among us.
The PLP is our government for the next five years, they won the election. The voters have spoken. But, as the Official Opposition, we will stand for all Bahamians and fight for your future with passion and unyielding determination. Your future is our future. We will ignite the future of this country with a vision and the ideals that will bring hope, care and compassion to every Bahamian. We will continue to ignite the torch as a beacon to lead the way for the Bahamian people. We will be steadfast in our opposition to corruption. We will hold the Government accountable for the promises it made. We will fight against poor governance and victimization.
We will continue to ignite the torch, whose flame will keep the PLP’s feet to the fire. We seek not only to be an effective Opposition. We will be a Government-in-waiting, ready to rescue The Bahamas from the disaster that is already emerging in the Christie administration. It’s not just the victimization that has started again. Even worse, they are already running away fast from their campaign promises. They were not ready on day one! And after 100 Days, they will prove that they were never ready for the next five years. My Fellow FNMs and; Fellow Bahamians:
We will not oppose for the sake of opposing…. but in those times when our people cry out – we will be there to… ignite the future!
The torch will lead the way to our shared future. Throughout history, the torch has been a symbol of light and hope. It has been a beacon of hope in troubling times. Much of our world is going through the dark and difficult days of severe economic and political storms. Here at home we are living in a time filled with uncertainty, a time of anxiety that the newly elected government will quickly go back to its old ways. Already, many of the same old faces are back in the same places where they proved to be unproductive and self-fulfilling.
Our task as the Opposition will be to remain ever vigilant in holding this Government accountable; insisting on transparency and watching out for corruption. We will continue to promote equality and access to opportunity so that more of our people can achieve their goals and more greatly share in the wealth of our nation. My Fellow Bahamians:
It was our task to weather the Great Recession. Governments around the world have not survived the economic and political fallout from the worst economic downturn in 80 years. But despite our lost, we believe that most Bahamians are thankful that it was Hubert Ingraham and the FNM that were in office during this most severe global economic downturn.
No matter the clever lie by our opponents, we significantly lessened the blows of this downturn through unprecedented emergency assistance, retraining programs, massive infrastructure investments which produced jobs, and programs like the new unemployment benefit. And, no public officers were laid off as a result of the downturn. We also had ambitious plans for economic recovery and growth here in New Providence, in Grand Bahama and in the Family Islands. We will continue to promote our plans including plans like the Back to the Island Initiative and the development of a Native Food Market Over-the-Hill.
The torch that the FNM is proud to bear signifies opportunity including opportunity for small businesses and young entrepreneurs to jumpstart their success and ignite their future.
The torch stands for a Bahamas where politicians recognize that they are hired under a five year contract accountable to the people, working for the people, standing by the people in times of adversity and celebrating with the people in times of success. During our recent term in office, we continued the infrastructural transformation of The Bahamas as we prepared the country for first world status. While our opponents sought to demonize our accomplishments, we know that all of the good work we have done will uplift the Bahamian people. We never needed a slogan to tell us who comes first in our Bahamaland.
In education, health care, providing clean water, youth development and in so many areas we did more delivering and less talking. I doubt that those who did plenty talking during the election will deliver much of anything now that they are in office.
The work of our last term was all about people, from a landmark unemployment benefit to programs like Self Starters, to $25 million dollars in scholarships for young Bahamians to further their dream of college at COB.
My Fellow FNMs: We could have communicated earlier and better the good work we were doing. Perhaps we could have in some ways spoken more directly to the hearts of our people. And, we must be honest about our mistakes and be open to constructive criticism. However, our extraordinary record shows that we are the party of competence and heart. Our opponents are the party of incompetence and pretending to care while failing to deliver in real terms for the people they pretend to care about.
A truly caring individual or government is one whose love is manifested in actions, and not just words, slogans, empty promises and acting. The FNM acts, while the PLP are good actors.
In terms of health care, we were committed to guaranteeing that every resident in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has equal access and availability to quality health care services. But the delivery of quality health care must be done carefully and in a cost-effective manner if it is to be sustainable and affordable in the long-run. The demand for health care is great, but the resources are finite – this is a global challenge. Controlling the cost of health care was a critical part of our plan to deliver health care services. We will carefully review and watch the Government’s health care proposals in terms of responsible governance.
The FNM launched the e-health revolution to ensure that waters separating our islands are not a barrier to quality health care for all. Through telemedicine we can bridge the gaps between the quality of care throughout our far-flung islands, the healthcare bridge to the future. The Prescription Drug Plan was one of the many initiatives from which Bahamians continue to reap tremendous benefit. We planned to introduce a ‘One Health card’ providing patients with access to superior health care, where your medical records embedded in the card, would electronically follow you from facility to facility. We did not promise you “pie in the sky”. Rather, we laid the groundwork in a responsible manner for a quality health care system at affordable price that can be sustained for generations to come.
My Fellow Bahamians: I am a doctor at heart. Healing and well-being are at the heart of my profession. Crime is often like a cancer that has to be responded to aggressively – that is prevention, containment and cure, not allowing it to metastasize and damage other vital organs.
We wish to work with the government, as the cancer that is crime can infect the entire body of the nation if left untreated. It can continue to escalate spreading its poison throughout our society. We advise the government to work with all stakeholders to push back aggressively on the menace of criminal violence. Even though they may not admit it, the full arsenal of measures we put in place will be of great importance in fighting crime. And, despite the repeated lie, urban renewal was never cancelled on our watch. Moreover, we invested significantly in social intervention. Our 2012 Manifesto contains many additional ideas on social intervention which we will continue to promote.
We are pleased that the new Government has borrowed the idea of urban development from us. But we’ll see if the new Ministry of Works and Urban Development is another PLP public relations exercise just like Urban Renewal 2.0 or if it’s genuine.
Like most Bahamians of a certain age, I have my roots Over-the-Hill. The FNM has an ambitious agenda for urban development, which we will continue to aggressively promote. Further, we must continue to support church, schools and civic groups as these foundational organizations serve to mould our young people. We advise the government to continue with our pre-school programs as such initiatives are shown to reduce anti-social behavior, increase IQs and improve social skills. "And in everything we do in this fight against crime, we must never forget as a Christian nation, that PRAYER should be our first response and not our last resort.”
We have commenced the strengthening of the uniformed branches within The Bahamas. We look forward to the government’s continued focus on constructive policies that serve to fortify the defenders of our national security. The anti-crime bills we passed increased sentences for certain crimes. We urge the government to carefully ponder the view of some on reducing certain sentences. Now is not the time to go soft on crime!
Fellow Bahamians: The FNM launched the 52-week training program, so that individuals could be trained and retrained to take advantage of the changes in the global and Bahamian economy. We commenced an e-government program so that bills can be paid efficiently online, like driver’s license, real property taxes… minimizing long lines and long waiting times.
In our vision to re-position the Bahamas as an improved destination, we began the transformation of new LPIA. Part of this vision is the new gateway to the airport with the commencement of the JFK highway expansion. We have the unique ability to view governance from both sides of the aisle. We will be bipartisan in our goal to improve life for all Bahamians no matter one’s political persuasion. But we will also be single-minded in opposing the Government whenever it seeks to divide this country for its own narrow ends.
We must be ever on guard against the entitlement mentality of the PLP and a PLP culture that is still committed to an “All for me baby” mindset. I have said on many occasions, that we are all Bahamians and should have a common goal of making our nation a greater Commonwealth. I wish to speak to Grand Bahamians. You will see in the weeks and months ahead many of the plans we were working on, on your behalf. These will include new developments in tourism, the hotel sector and the possibility of a major new international logistics centre.
While our opponents will seek to take credit for our good work in Grand Bahama and throughout the country, we will remind the nation of who the genuine delivery team is in this country. Our goal in Grand Bahama is not simply to regain the support and the seats we loss. Our more ambitious goal is to increase our support and add West End and Bimini to the FNM-fold.
We also pledge to be very active on every Family Island, including many on which we made deep inroads even during these tough times and despite having lost. It is the FNM that is the true friend of the Family Islands. I wish now to address the youth of our nation. Young Bahamians:
We ask that you join us in this movement of igniting the future, where through education, training technology and hard work you can live on any island of The Bahamas and compete with young people in this region and across the globe. We seek to ignite a future where a young man or woman living on Hospital Lane can have the same dream of being an entrepreneur as the young man or woman who may dream of working on Wall Street.
The Free National Movement continues to seek ways to empower young Bahamians. This is why we made it possible for the first time in Bahamian history, during the last election, for students abroad to vote from overseas. We will continue to engage with you in the decision-making process that forged this great democracy.
We will seek to utilize your ideas and energy through traditional means and through new technologies and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and others. I am especially pleased to report tonight that the number of young people involved with the FNM is on the increase including the number of those becoming involved in Torchbearers.
My Fellow FNMs: Today, I accept the trust you have placed in me as Leader of the Free National Movement. I previously congratulated Prime Minister Christie and his team on their victory at the polls. I remind them, that while they have the majority of seats in Parliament, that the majority of Bahamians voted for those opposing the party now in office. The country continues to watch and wait.
My Fellow Bahamians: The Bahamas, along with the other countries of the world, faces challenges unprecedented in recent history. We must unite as a people to address these challenges. President John F. Kennedy said to his political colleagues and opponents, “Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”
The road ahead will be a challenging one. The government and opposition must conduct ourselves in a manner befitting us as Parliamentarians. Civility is not weakness. But neither shall we retreat from the fierce contest of ideas, of beliefs, of vision. The Free National Movement will hold the torch of freedom high to light the way to a better future and to ignite the hearts and imaginations of the Bahamian people. We recommit ourselves to ensuring good governance, accountability and integrity in public office.
We recommit ourselves to: A future Bahamas in which we can all have greater Bahamian Pride! A future Bahamas where there is greater equality for all! A future Bahamas where we can all share more in the wealth and the success of the Bahamian Dream.
My Fellow FNMs: Let us continue to keep the torch of freedom and hope alive. We do so not only to keep faith with the Founders of our party. We also do so in order to keep faith with the Bahamian people.
I close by again thanking you for entrusting the leadership of our party to me. God Bless you. God Bless our Bahamas. Thank you and good night.
HON. DR. Hubert A. Minnis - Final Acceptance Speech
Acceptance Speech FNM Convention 2012 Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis Leader of the Opposition 26th May 2012
News by Category
- About Bahamians
- Caribbean News
- Press Releases
- Public Works/Infrastructure
- Video News
- World News
- Bahamas Local Stories
- Bahama Islands Info Stories
- Nassau Guardian Stories
- Tribune Stories
- The Bahamas Investor Stories