By Jerry Roker
For Bahamas Press
Even after trouncing his then deputy, in elections held a year ago, FNM leader Dr. Minnis is still being targeted, particularly by the old guard members of his party, as someone who lacks the leadership skills and intellectual oomph to make the FNM sufficiently attractive to voters in sufficient numbers to make them a winner at the polls in 2017.
The magnitude of his victory, certainly left all and sundry with the belief that he was solidly in control of his party and would lead them into the next general elections. Wait a minute folks. Before the ink was dry on the official results of those elections, up comes the former deputy prime minister in the FNM’s administration, publicly saying that Dr. Minnis had a 6 months window to prove his mettle.
There is no certainty that Dr. Minnis is now safe and the problems of the FNM are settled. The situation, therefore, still demands extraordinary leadership from Dr. Minnis and a willingness to compromise on the part of his detractors. Something must give. Even one of the morning tabloids, who are massive supporters of the FNM, now match the frequency of their vitriolic editorial attacks on PM Christie with similar bitter and mean-spirited attacks of Dr. Minnis. These attacks oftentime seem personal. Their is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Minnis, never mind that he criticized PM Christie for attacking the arrogance of the print tabloids for accruing to themselves the authority to determine who should lead this country, now agrees with PM Christie.
No matter ones political persuasion, we must know that the FNM is an important institution to our democracy, that, up to now, rests on the foundation of two vibrant political parties. An unfocused FNM, plagued by infighting and distrusted by voters, undermines that democracy.
In the absence of substantial change in Mr. Minnis’s style and manner, including in the way he confronts the PLP administration, he can expect continued sniping, and snipping at his heels, if not open disgruntlement, from those in his party, who are hostile to his leadership.
As the leader of the party, the onus is on Mr. Minnis to reach out, stretch, even to embrace, without dagger, those of his colleagues with whom he is uncomfortable. But he can do something else: engage his party in deep policy introspection and the fashioning of big, doable ideas to offer to the Bahamian people, not mindless criticism of government policies.
Bahamians should know what the FNM stands for, not only what it’s against.