On the heels of reports that certain Members of Parliament were asked to apologize during the Free National Movement’s two-day conclave on the weekend, Centerville MP Reece Chipman said he will continue to be the voice of his constituents, even if his views are deemed controversial by the Party.
Chipman, who spoke to Eyewitness News on Monday, did not deny or confirm if he was made to apologize. However, political sources who attended the conclave claimed that four MPs – Chipman, Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, Bain and Grants town MP Travis Robinson and Pineridge MP Fredrick McAlpine were reportedly asked to apologize, but all of the men did not comply with this request.
These men are often referred to in social circles as “the dissenting four”. They voted against the increase in value-added tax during the Budget Communication as well as against a recent Resolution that was moved and passed in Parliament to have the Government rent the Town Centre Mall to relocate the general post office, even though the mall is partially owned by Brent Symonette, a sitting Cabinet Minister.
The four Members of Parliament have reportedly been criticized from current and former members of the Party for their stance taken on certain issues, but Chipman assured yesterday that at the end of the day, the Party is still unified.
“It is expected by all Members of Parliament to represent their constituency, and by extension the people of The Bahamas,” Chipman said.
“I don’t think there is a sense of a lack of support of what the government puts forth, but it’s having a different point of view. [It’s not that] you don’t support the Party.
“You may not support a particular issue or an item on the agenda, but you can support a government. But for me what has transpired has nothing to do with moving forward,” Chipman said.
The Centreville MP said some within the Party may have an issue with his views, but he does not feel disconnected.
“Our relationship is very good,” he said. “I cannot say I have a disconnect with any of the Party members. I think we do recognize that there is some work that needs to be done and we are willing to work on it.”
After the conclave, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis admitted that the (FNM) has made mistakes. He said the FNM’s accomplishments were not being heard because of these missteps and pledged to improve the Party’s communication.