We should have seen the signs that former Bahamian Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis wasn’t cut out for leadership. They were all there.
Long before his admitted missteps with the $5.5 billion Oban Energies deal, the cold-hearted mass burials in Abaco following Hurricane Dorian or his botched handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were warned repeatedly this his leadership left much to be desired.
We need only think back to 2016, when seven members of his own Free National Movement (FNM) party had him removed as Opposition leader in Parliament citing no confidence in his leadership. It was a serious indictment against his abilities. It’s one thing for the public to not support your leadership. But, your own party?
FNM Members Warned Us
Former FNM Deputy Leader, Loretta Butler-Turner, for instance, publicly admitted that many of Minnis’ former advocates had witnessed his incapacity, incompetence and lack of collegiality.
She later painted Minnis as a man who often made unilateral decisions and surrounded himself with ‘yes men.’
As the years drew on, Bahamians began to see it for themselves.
The Minnis, who was fired as prime minister last Thursday, weeks after he called a snap election, sounded nothing like the Minnis of 2017, who swept to victory promising to honour the public trust with an unwavering commitment to good governance, transparency and accountability.
The man, who promised to repeal taxes levied by the former Christie administration, instead, increased them, increasing hardship on the poor people he promised to help.
The man who campaigned on the slogan, “It’s The People’s Time” arrogantly ignored the very people who gave him the privilege of serving as this nation’s fourth prime minister.
As he sank further into the seat of power, Minnis’ election promises of fixed election dates, campaign finance reform and a recall system became less of a priority. He later arrogantly said they would have to wait until his second term in office. Laughable.
During his tenure, he also failed to implement term limits for prime ministers. So, on September 16th, the Bahamian people fulfilled that promise for him.
Problems From The Start
Not long after Minnis assumed office, his administration started to be plagued with dissent, terminations and resignations.
And the more members of his team spoke out against him, the more he deafened his ears to their criticisms.
Minnis’ take-it-or-leave-it leadership style, as well as his government’s missteps proved to be too much for many in his party, and some started jumping ship.
Centreville MP, Reece Chipman, for example, severed ties with the FNM over its handling of Hurricane Dorian as well as what he referred to as partisan politics.
In the weeks leading up to last Thursday’s election, Minnis made many promises. But, many voters did not believe him. He had repeatedly proven he was not a man of his word and many saw his promises as nothing more than bait to secure votes.
The FNM’s humiliating defeat lies solely at Minnis’ feet, and the FNM would be wise to order his prompt removal.
It will be very difficult to recover from this political stain on his resume.
Minnis’ defeat should serve as a cautionary tale for Prime Minister Philip Davis. Bahamians are showing zero tolerance for arrogant leaders who fail to do what they promised to do.
There will be no honeymoon for the PLP, which won 32 of the 39 seats. The work began the minute Minnis conceded defeat. The people will be watching.
I congratulate the Coalition of Independents (COI) and the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) for their performance in the election. Even though they both failed to secure a seat in Parliament, they did prove that there is a growing appetite for change.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does it happen in three election cycles. I encourage them to keep pressing forward.
Tribute To Bahamian Archivist, Chris Bain
I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of longtime Tribune archivist, Chris Bain. I met Chris while working as a cub reporter at The Tribune in the early 2000s.
Chris was a special man. Quiet, very unassuming, easy to overlook, but completely unforgettable once you got to know him. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met and had an encyclopedic knowledge of dates, political moments and even events that most people may have forgotten.
I remember him reading one of my earlier articles and gently pulling me aside to show me how to make my articles stronger. He pulled old news clippings and pointed out details that I was not even aware of. He never did it in a condescending way, but in a tender, fatherly way.
He and the late Ericka Fowler were my go-to people in the Archives Department.
No matter how many years had passed, I knew that I could pick up the phone to ask for help and he would happily give it.
Chris was a man of modest means, but was rich in thoughtfulness. I remember him going downstairs to The Tribune’s archives to pull a newspaper from the year of my birth and giving it to me as a gift.
Years after my brother’s passing, he pulled a news article of his death. It meant the world to me.
Beyond his talent, I will remember his soft voice, his boyish smile, his enthusiasm for news and just his overall kindness. His loss is not just one to his family, or The Tribune, but to the world.
My condolences to Chris’ family. I am so so sorry for your loss. I will miss him terribly.