Some of the parliamentary colleagues of the prime minister have subjected themselves to the spectacle of appearing to be surprised by the treatment, publicly, that they say that they have endured under his leadership. This should not be a surprise to anyone. It has been opined by assorted political pundits whether it is better for a leader to be loved as opposed to feared. My position is that of a combination of both. In Minnis’ case, obviously, he would appear to prefer being feared.
The former prime minister was jeered, literally, by Dr Minnis, and publicly told, to his face, that his time as prime minister was over. There was nothing subtle about his vitriolic remarks. Had it not been for Ingraham, I doubt that Minnis would ever have ascended to the top of the greasy pole. In relationships, usually, there is a degree of respect and civility, especially in politics.
For one to tell his mentor or benefactor that his/her era is over is the ultimate insult on a very personal level. Ingraham barely had time to get out of the way of the Minnis-driven bus before he was relegated to zero. Minnis then proceeded to appoint almost all of his parliamentary colleagues to the Cabinet, different corporations and government boards. We as Bahamians have long accepted the principle that in politics principles really do not come into play when money is involved.
Some of the newly elected and appointed Free National Movement (FNM) house and senate members never earned a decent living in the private sector prior to getting into frontline politics. Once in play, they are all receiving perks, benefits and income at the taxpayers’ expense. It is highly unlikely that any of his caucus really “loves” Minnis and I suspect that many have come to actually hate him politically. They, in most cases, however, need the financial bone, which Minnis has thrown over the fence to them. Jack, it has been said, may be stupid but he is not a fool.
Dr Sands was next in line for public insult and vilification following the failed coup against Minnis by himself and Loretta Butler-Turner. Yes, he was appointed to Cabinet by Minnis, but I suggest that that was mere window dressing and a bogus attempt to appear to unify the then and now fractured FNM. At the earliest opportunity, Minnis jettisoned Sands from Cabinet. Minnis, however, had no choice other than to “allow” Sands to be re-nominated for Elizabeth. Sands has considerable political support from various cliques within the FNM and obviously has leadership aspirations.
We then witnessed the exit of Mrs [Lanisha] Rolle as Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture after the PM stated in public that “certain things” had come to his attention and warranted “an investigation”. This is the same woman who appeared to be prepared to walk on hot coals in Minnis’ defense at the drop of a hat. She’s been gone for several months now and apparently Minnis and his people them are still “investigating” the matters relative to Mrs Rolle.
Peter Turnquest (FNM — East End) used to strut around as so-called deputy prime minister and minister of finance. He appeared to be a loyal foot soldier to Minnis and others. The other day, a Minnis appointee, acting in his private capacity as a lawyer, was instrumental in triggering Turnquest’s still unexplained abrupt departure from his public positions. He has now also been denied a re-nomination by the FNM even though he said that he did not seek one. The board member is still large and in charge at the Grand Lucayan.
Turnquest has now found his voice to critique the Minnis-fueled 2021 to 2022 budget and some of the cockeyed projects being proposed by his leader. What a difference a day makes in politics.
Next we witness Minnis cut Mark Humes (FNM — Fort Charlotte) down to the size of a midget, publicly, in the House of Assembly. Keep in mind that before Rolle and Humes got theirs, that Chipman got his over in Centreville, as did Vaughan Miller down at Golden Isles.
Some have opined that Shonnel Ferguson also got her things up in Fox Hill from Minnis. One must keep in mind that there was a huge civil matter playing out and it may have been difficult to overcome the appearances of the same. She’s also not been re-nominated. Never before in the political history of The Bahamas has a major party lost or got rid of so many sitting members of parliament with a backhand stroke. Is this because Minnis is a poor leader or is it because he is feared rather than loved?
The New Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is poised to take over the reins of governance but it will not be a cakewalk. Minnis and his rump party are more than aware of the necessity of being reelected. It must be borne in mind that just how the FNM launched what appeared to be “witch haunting” against selected former PLPs — vis-à-vis Shane Gibson, Frank Smith and Kenred Dorsett — and the same could happen to several sitting members of the FNM. Minnis, for sure, is not loved but rather feared.
To God, then, in all things, be the glory.
Ortland H Bodie Jr,
Business consultant and talk show host
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