The Political Landscape of The Bahamas in 2023 – Part 2
In the aftermath of the recent Grand Bahama and Bimini by-election, there has been much said about the current state of the Free National Movement. While it has been established that the PLP simply held serve by retaining a seat known to be one of its strongholds, the low voter turnout and the number of votes garnered by the FNM has been a topic of much discussion.
The leadership and supporters of the FNM should not totally dismiss the outcome of the by-election. It was always an uphill battle, the PLP is the government and had the backing of the Public Treasury, the late Obadiah H. Wilchcombe was a beloved MP and the sympathy vote was a major factor in the outcome. Nevertheless, a postmortem and detailed analysis of the results is necessary and advisable as the party readies itself for the big dance – the 2026 general elections.
Introspection and deep reflection is needed within the FNM as an organization. This is not just a task for the elected officers and current leadership of the Official Opposition party. It is a call to conscience for the membership of the party to remember why they made the decision to support the FNM in the first place. While it is not unusual to have factions or differing loyalties to leaders, the ultimate loyalty must remain to the country first and then the Party lest the torch is extinguished on the altar of self-interest, selfish ambitions and misplaced animosity.
The FNM has a rich history and it has accomplished much over the years. Supporters of the FNM should be proud of what their party has achieved for the Bahamian people during its terms in office. That being said, they must be honest enough to acknowledge that there have been mistakes, missteps and bad decisions made during their time in office. This is in no way unique to the FNM as the PLP has its own fair share of failures and bad decisions. This is a testament to the fact that our past and current leaders are only humans; they are not perfect. The good news for the FNM is that the odds favor them and history has shown that the Party is able to emerge from turmoil and internal conflict to win general elections.
There have been rumblings on mainstream and social media about the leadership of the FNM with speculations about what might happen during the Party’s next convention. This is part of the political process and it demonstrates that democracy is alive within the FNM. However, the beauty of democracy should not be used as an excuse to destroy the Party and ruin its chances at the next general elections. Mahatma Gandhi said it best when he stated that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. In the interest of the Party, a truce should be called and the hatchet buried until such time as FNM delegates decide on who will lead them into the next general elections.
Our nation needs a vibrant and effective Official Opposition to preserve our democracy and hold the governing side accountable to the Bahamian people. A distracted and weak FNM might be good for the fortunes of the governing PLP but it is bad for The Bahamas. The FNM has governed for 19 years and the PLP has governed for 12 years since the last administration led by the late Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling. The members of the FNM have always been able to choose the right leaders at the right time to lead them to victory at the polls in times past. Supporters and well-wishers of the Official Opposition Party must trust the process and let level heads prevail. In the meantime, FNMs at war with one another should sheathe their swords knowing that a house divided against itself cannot stand. The FNM is a Movement and its current challenges are only growing pains of a group of people who have come together for a common purpose. Let this echo through the proverbial hallways of the FNM – “when there is no enemy within, the enemy without can do you no harm”.
Written by: Arinthia S. Komolafe