October 28, 2016
The newly ratified candidates for the FNM are, from left, Carlton Gomez, candidate for North Andros; Travis Robinson, candidate for Bain and Grants Town; Raymond Rolle, candidate for Englerston; Lanisha Rolle, candidate for Sea Breeze; Reese Chipman, candidate for Centerville; and Dionisio D’Aguilar, candidate for Montague. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
THE Free National Movement ratified six candidates for the next general election during a Central Council meeting last night, including businessman Dionisio D’Aguilar and former Senator Lanisha Rolle.
Most of the six constituencies the candidates will represent are some of the most historically challenging areas for the FNM, including Centreville, Bain and Grants Town, North Andros and the Berry Islands and Englerston.
Mr. D’Aguilar, a fierce critic of the Christie administration, will represent the FNM in Montagu while Mrs. Rolle will represent the party in Sea Breeze.
Travis Robinson, a 21-year-old College of the Bahamas student, will represent the party in the Bain and Grants Town constituency, where he hopes to become the youngest parliamentarian in this country’s history.
Earlier this year, Mr. Robinson announced that he planned to run as an independent candidate in the area.
He delivered a fiery and well received speech to a packed crowd of more than 100 people at the FNM’s headquarters last night, declaring his nomination proof of his party’s commitment to youth.
Meanwhile, accountant Reece Chipman was ratified for Centreville, lawyer Raymond Rolle for Englerston and customs officer Carlton Bowleg for North Andros and the Berry Islands.
“I’m excited by the prospects of our many talented candidates who are seeking to represent constituencies under the FNM banner, including our six new candidates,” FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said in a statement. “It is time for all Bahamians to unite behind the FNM and its candidates to rid this country of the PLP and their empty rhetoric and broken promises. The FNM and our great candidates will fight for the Bahamian people each and every day.”
Dr. Minnis and the newly ratified candidates stuck with their theme of harshly criticising the Progressive Liberal Party while promoting the FNM as a source of relief for the country.
Mr. D’Aguilar called the Christie administration the worst of any government in Bahamian history; Mrs. Rolle and Mr. Chipman criticised the government’s Hurricane Matthew response to the areas they hope to represent, while Mr. Rolle and Mr. Bowleg promised to break the strangleholds that the PLP has had in their respective constituencies.
Of the ratifications, those of Mr. D’Aguilar, Mrs. Rolle and Mr. Robinson are the likeliest to prompt the strongest reactions.
Mr. D’Aguilar, owner of the Superwash chain of laundromats, who once served as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, has attracted the ire of top PLP members for his comments on a range of issues, from Baha Mar to the ease of doing business.
His business credentials will be heavily touted by the party.
As for Mrs. Rolle, her ratification signals how much Dr. Minnis has consolidated power in the FNM after retaining his leadership title at the party’s convention earlier this year.
Her initial appointment to the Senate upset some in the party, including sitting parliamentarians who thought she had little experience.
Frank Watson, former deputy prime minister, previously called her appointment “one of Dr. Minnis’ tragic mistakes.”
Following a rough tenure, she resigned from the Senate after The Tribune published stories about a recording in which she made disparaging comments about several FNM MPs, including Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner, during a conversation with Lincoln Bain.
Despite that resignation, she appeared to remain within Dr. Minnis’ circle of trust, frequently attending FNM political events and occasionally being seated in the front row of the party’s events, next to party officers and parliamentarians well before she was officially ratified for a nomination.
By Rashad Rolle, Tribune Staff Reporter
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