FNM Chairman says MP not forced out
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Centreville MP Reece Chipman has resigned from the Free National Movement, announcing the move in the party’s Whatsapp group chat earlier today.
Chipman has announced he will hold a press conference at 1pm.
FNM Chairman Carl Culmer said he was surprised by the resignation as Chipman did not notify party executives or his constituency officers of the shock move.
He insisted Chipman was not pushed out, adding the party wished Chipman all the best in his future endeavors.
“The party has yet to receive any official notification,” Culmer said.
“We just saw it in the group, he said he is leaving the party and left the group.
“He said he is going to have a press conference at 1pm so I guess he’ll explain there, but we have yet to receive anything officially.”
Culmer said: “I just spoke to constituency executives, and they have yet to have anything as well. I really don’t know.”
The shock move follows the Centreville MP’s resignation from the Public Accounts Committee in January over frustrations the parliamentary sub-committee was “functionless”.
Chipman entered politics on the FNM ticket during the 2017 general elections, ousting former Prime Minister Perry Christie.
However, he has taken positions against the Minnis administration throughout his tenure – most notably on the recent increase in value-added tax, and the resolution to lease the Town Centre Mall from former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette.
He voted against the VAT increase along with Bain and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson, Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine and Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller in 2018. They were dubbed the ‘Dissident Four’.
The men were all stripped of their government appointments; however, Chipman had already been fired from his post as chairman of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation earlier that year.
“He made up his mind what he wants to do,” Culmer said when asked whether the party would seek to meet with Chipman.
“No one pushed him out of the party. I didn’t allow that. I had several meetings with him.”
For his part, McAlpine called Chipman an honorable gentleman.
The Pineridge MP declined to reveal whether he had prior knowledge of Chipman’s decision but added he believed the resignation was motivated by frustrations with the party.
McAlpine maintained he was still a member of the party.
“I’m still in the FNM, my reality is that I’m in the FNM trying to convince them or show them the error of their ways,” McAlpine said.
“My government which I’m a part of seems very much disconnected from the realities of what Bahamians are experiencing, and even worse now in Grand Bahama and in Abaco.
McAlpine said he felt Chipman’s sudden departure further evidences the party’s disconnect with reality.
“I think so, I do think so,” he continued.
“I think though, what has caused Chipman to do it. I think it amounted to frustration and lack of persons within the party or the organization actually listening to people.
McAlpine added: “You have to be at a certain level for them to listen, even when you’re making sense, even common sense.”