September 15, 2012
In a letter that was published in the September 3 edition of The Nassau Guardian, a regular contributor to that daily said that it was laid in his spirit that the "former self-described one-man band will come back, like a vampire or a Roman general who had been sent out to the pasture, to once again lead the FNM".
While the writer did not call the "one-man band's" name, I strongly believe that he was referring to former prime minister Hubert Alexander Ingraham. Judging from the general tenor of his letter, the writer appears to be of the view that the newly minted leader of the Free National Movement (FNM), Dr. Hubert Minnis (Killarney), will not make it to 2017 as the leader of the official opposition.
Ingraham had made a comeback in 2005 as the leader of the FNM, after relinquishing that position shortly before the 2002 general election. While Tommy Turnquest, the former member of Parliament for the Mount Moriah constituency and former minister of national security in the Ingraham administration (2007-2012), did yeoman's work in leading the FNM party between 2002 and 2005, many Ingraham diehard supporters were lobbying for the former prime minister to return to the leadership helm of the party.
Like the writer of the letter mentioned above, they were of the view that without Ingraham, the FNM is as dead as a door nail. They had no confidence that Turnquest could lead the FNM to an election victory. It now appears as if it's deja vu all over again, with respect to FNM hardliners calling for Ingraham's return. They are hoping for Ingraham to do the same thing he did back in 2005. But I think these people have failed to appreciate the fact that we have a different set of dynamics concerning Ingraham and the leadership situation with the FNM. The first time he stepped down as FNM leader, he stayed on as member of Parliament for North Abaco. Back then I had a fishy feeling that he would have mounted a leadership comeback.
After Ingraham announced to the nation that he would resign from his seat in the House on the night of May 7, I too had called on the former FNM leader to remain in frontline politics; but only as the member of Parliament for North Abaco. I argued that Ingraham could offer much needed assistance in the House of Assembly to his FNM parliamentary colleagues, some of whom are political novices. As it stands right now, at least half of the current FNM parliamentarians are inexperienced. But the issue of Ingraham remaining in the House is now water under the bridge. Ingraham has officially retired from the House of Assembly on August 31. The remaining eight FNM parliamentarians will now have to fend for themselves and their party.
I am beginning to wonder if FNMs believe that the present leadership team of Minnis and Loretta Butler-Turner (Long Island) can win a general election. The upcoming by-election in North Abaco will be crucial for not only the FNM party, but also for Minnis. With so many reports in the press of FNM hardliners murmuring under their breath about Minnis' performance thus far as FNM leader, you can be certain that these people will begin the clarion call for Ingraham's return to lead their party. It is almost as if FNMs are unwilling to accept the fact that Ingraham has moved on with his life. Moreover, at aged 65, one wonders how much gas the former FNM leader has in the tank if he were to mount a political comeback.
In another five years, God willing, Ingraham will be the Biblically allotted three score and 10. Do FNMs really want a 70 year-old leading their party in the 2017 general election? Ingraham is a masterful politician, but at the ripe age of 70 do FNMs honestly expect him to stand up well to the rigors of campaigning throughout the archipelago? It is likely that the FNM has gone to the well one too many times. I see no point in Ingraham returning as leader of the FNM. Such a move would probably destabilize the FNM party and it would no doubt demoralize its current leader. Besides, the FNM party must start learning how to win general elections without Ingraham. And it can start that process by winning the North Abaco by-election.
The writer mentioned above said that Ingraham was like a Roman general. In the first century A.D. after the death of a famous Roman emperor, many Romans began to speculate about his return from the grave and him mustering together a massive army and taking over the Roman Empire. This legend is called the redivivus myth. Many Romans had a fascination with their deceased leader. In a metaphorical sense, Ingraham has kicked the political bucket. Now, however, there is mounting speculation that he will resuscitate his political career before the 2017 general election and lead the FNM to victory. But I cannot envisage that Ingraham will ever again enter into frontline politics. His official retirement from the House should have put these speculations to rest once and for all.
Much to the disappointment of diehard Ingrahamites, the possible return of Ingraham to the leadership post of the FNM is a myth, a legend. There will be no Ingraham redivivus this time around. The party hitched its wagon to Minnis in May. Therefore, FNMs must settle once and for all that they are in this with Minnis for the long haul. After all, Ingraham has finally retired.
- Kevin Evans
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