October 19, 2012
Dear Editor, I cannot believe the excuses I am hearing and reading for the devastating loss of the Free National Movement (FNM) in North Abaco on Monday past. I am hearing unproven claims of victimization and intimidation, cars full of cash, and the death of democracy. None of the persons' dreaming up these excuses wants to acknowledge the obvious and real reason for that loss - a self-serving Hubert Ingraham. Ingraham supposedly asked north Abaconians to re-elect him to represent them in the House of Assembly prior to the May 7 general election.
He could not have asked them to re-elect him as prime minister. He was only in it to be prime minister, and if he could not be that he would take up his wealth of knowledge and experience and leave the FNM the way he found it. Now after the trouncing he and his party were dealt in the May election he did the right thing and resigned as party leader. Let someone else retool and steer the party toward the next general election. But when he declared that he will also not take his seat and resigned that seat he did the FNM a great disservice. He left the party leaderless and in shambles. We must remember all the other pretenders for leadership in the party lost their seats.
Dr. Hubert Minnis was rather far down the line in the leadership hierarchy of the FNM. I maintain that Hubert Ingraham had a duty to take his seat in the House, assist Dr. Minnis with his parliamentary and other opposition functions including the rebuilding of the party, then resign after a year or two if he wanted. But no, his oversized ego could not allow him to sit in the House either as an underling to Dr. Minnis or across from Perry Christie as prime minister. To add gross insult to grievous injury, after resigning his seat he had to handpick his chosen successor and impose him upon the FNM and the people of North Abaco. He obviously knew nothing of Greg Gomez, who was painfully not ready for prime time.
How could you choose a man to succeed you who had been out of the community and the country for several years, then delay your resignation to allow him time just to qualify to contest a seat in The Bahamas? And when you are rejected by the people of North Abaco after running an unfit candidate and waging a disjointed and dysfunctional campaign you cry victimization, intimidation and cars full of cash? To build a campaign centered on victimization showed how desperate, issueless and out of touch the two Huberts were.
Hubert Ingraham planted the thought of victimization in Hubert Minnis' mind. I recall Ingraham stating at his resignation news conference that he hoped Greg Gomez had a chance to run so that he could tell the Bahamians of how he was victimized. Obviously the facts as they were exposed showed he was misled by Gomez's information. Only now when it may be too late does Dr. Minnis realize that he got swing. Ingraham raced to the press during the counting of the ballots with a prepared statement not having the grace to permit his party leader to first make a concession statement. Dr. Minnis was left to make the best out of a most unnecessary and unfortunate situation.
The level of hypocrisy of some of today's political commentators seems to have no bounds. The turnout for the North Abaco by-election was 86 percent while the turnout for that constituency in the general election in May was 91 percent - not too bad. According to the apologists, on the other hand, the five percent deficit in the turnout was attributed to the intimidation and victimization of the FNM voters by the PLP. One editor claimed that it was a sure sign of the death of democracy in The Bahamas. Meanwhile, in the Elizabeth general election in 2007, some 3,941 of the 4,249 persons, or 93 percent of the registered persons, voted.
In the Elizabeth by-election in 2010 only 3,214 of the 4,943 eligible voters, or 65 percent, actually voted. Were these 1,729 persons who did not vote in the Elizabeth by-election intimidated and victimized from their democratic right to vote? I also want to know if all the public works carried out in Elizabeth during the campaign, the paving of public roads and private driveways, the installation of street lights and traffic signals and the clearing of bushes represented the death of democracy. My in-laws live in Elizabeth and I have firsthand information of what took place. It is a sad legacy that black leaders do not recognize when it is time to go.
Ingraham was rebuffed in the 2002 referendum, rejected in the 2002 general election, repulsed in the 2010 Elizabeth by-election, rejected in the 2012 general election and again in the 2012 by-election for the North Abaco seat he held for 35 consecutive years even after imploring the people of that constituency "that a vote for Gomez is a vote for me". It is now time for Ingraham to go - this time for good. - D. Leslie Howard
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News date : 10/19/2012 Category : Letters