These are perilous times for our Commonwealth. We are still in the outer grip of the pandemic. The economy is not what it used to be. Unemployment is high. Crime is out of control in New Providence. There is record inflation, causing it to be difficult to buy food and to fill your vehicle with gas.
The government of [Prime Minister] Philip Davis is lost. The prime minister spends most of his time at overseas conferences, seeking attention and validation. No serious solutions are being brought to bear on the crises of the day.
These are times in which opposition parties should thrive. Charismatic leaders able to connect with the public should be able to bring the people on side, especially when there is a do-nothing government, such as the PLP, in power.
The FNM was mad at Dr Hubert Minnis after the general election loss of 2021. The election was called early and our side was wiped out. Dr Minnis made the wrong call. Though, I think we would have lost anyway if we waited longer. That said, the loss likely would not have been as bad if ‘Doc’ had taken more time.
We chose Michael Pintard to lead us in our haste and anger to move on. It is still early in his time as leader. However, some things are becoming obvious.
What has shocked me most about Mr Pintard is how lacking he is in energy, excitement and mass appeal. He dabbled in poetry and comedy in his earlier life. I, therefore, thought he would “spice it up” as leader of the FNM. I was dead wrong.
Mr Pintard has been bland and boring as FNM leader. He has no activist-styled spunk. He struggles to get the attention of the masses. In fact, I doubt many Bahamians even would know who he is if he were to walk into a crowded room of regular people.
Dr Minnis has outshined Mr Pintard in the House. ‘Doc’ goes hard at the PLP. He particularly directs his fire at our poorly performing prime minister. The PLP sees that Dr Minnis is a threat. They often have two ministers assigned to Dr Minnis to interrupt and frustrate his contributions. That doesn’t stop ‘Doc’. He keeps at them, challenging the government over its poor leadership.
The PLP doesn’t see Mr Pintard as much of a threat. He still talks about working with the government over this and that. While the PLP is trying to destroy FNMs, the FNM leader wants to work with the PLP Government?! Amazing!
Lincoln Bain has even been a more effective opposition voice than Mr Pintard. Mr Bain has put the fire to the PLP over the lack of access to Crown Land for Bahamians. He has also highlighted illegal logging practices on Crown Land.
My grandson shows me the large audiences Mr Bain gets on social media. He is outshining the struggling FNM leader on platforms the young people engage with.
We in the FNM have seen this before. Mr Pintard appears to be another Tommy T. Tommy Turnquest is a nice man. He’s a hard worker. But a political leader he is not.
I initially was hopeful that Mr Turnquest would make it, but soon saw he did not have the political instincts or charisma to lead.
Leaders have to be able to inspire. They must have the charisma to draw people to them, and together. They must have the instincts to know when to attack the other side. They must have the courage to be bold. Mr Pintard does not seem to have these traits.
After we lost, all the people who had grievances with Dr Minnis united behind Mr Pintard because they knew how much Mr Pintard did not like Dr Minnis. They wanted an anti-Minnis to keep Minnis out. The problem is we need a leader who can win a general election.
Like with Tommy T, Michael Pintard does not excite the Bahamian people. FNMs must come to terms with reality. The party needs to think deeper about where it is with leadership. If we waste time with a leader who the people do not care for, we will spend a long time on the sidelines in opposition.
The Mackey Street Man