Cabinet ministers to McAlpine on re-election: Worry about yourself

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Several Cabinet ministers yesterday hit back at Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine’s assertion that very few Free National Movement (FNM) MPs will be re-elected in the next general election.

During the evening sitting of Parliament on Monday, McAlpine once again castigated his party for their performance since coming into office, indicating that many of them have disappointed the Bahamian people, their families and friends.

“I’m sorry to tell you — for many of you in here, it will be one and done,” he said.

Yamacraw MP Elsworth Johnson, Freetown MP Dionisio D’Aguilar, Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells and Mount Moriah MP Marvin Dames dismissed the comments, insisting that McAlpine need only worry about himself.

When asked his thoughts on the suggestion, Johnson said, “Tell Mr McAlpine, speak for himself. I don’t know if he’s some prophet, but the people will make that decision, not Mr McAlpine. Speak for himself.”

D’Aguilar said while he’s sure McAlpine has “lots of views on lots of things”, he does not pay attention to him.

“Dionisio D’Aguilar is going to do what Dionisio D’Aguilar will do,” he said.

As he defended the government’s performance to-date, Dames insisted that the Minnis administration has had the “most difficult term of any government in the history of this country and we’re still standing”.

He labeled McAlpine’s comments as “a joke” and nothing but “political games”.

“We are in the business of politics and this is the season that we are in,” Dames said.

“He is free to make his own comments. I don’t know if he was referring to himself, but I know what I need to do to ensure that I continue to represent the persons who would have put me into Parliament.  

I continue to do that to the best of my ability and that’s my only concern. I can only speak for me and what I do.”

Dames insisted that the FNM continues to live up to the obligations it promised on the 2017 campaign trail and in its manifesto.

“We faced over the last [three] years, probably and arguably, the most difficult term of any government in the history of this country and we’re still standing,” he said.

“There are a lot of people hurting, that’s not lost on us as a government. We continue to do what we need to do to ensure we bring relief to those persons.”

The national security minister added: “The time has come for some of us who continue to go out in public and pontificate, to stand up and be counted, not to use their platform to talk nonsense.

“This is what bothers me — people are out there hurting, they don’t want political games, they want politicians who can show some respect and some care and to reach out and help. But to stand up and pontificate and talk nonsense, Bahamians are sick and tired of that nonsense.”

Wells echoed similar sentiments, insisting that the Minnis administration’s records speak for itself.

“I don’t share brother McAlpine’s view,” he said.

“He could make any sort of statement he chooses to. The FNM has done what I believe was necessary during this term. We are a tested, tried and proven leadership through crisis.”

He noted that since coming into office, the country has seen the “lowest unemployment in 10 years, 1.8 percent decrease in the deficit, more tourists in this country than any other point in the history of The Bahamas, free preschool education and tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas, over-the-hill redevelopment and tax-free zones”.

Wells continued, “I could go on and on as to why the FNM, when the tale of the tape is told, will be re-elected. So, Mr McAlpine can make whatever statement he wants.”