Minnis Seeks Forgiveness as FNM Moves to Elect New Leader

Minnis bahamas
An emotional Dr. Hubert Minnis addressing FNM church service

The outgoing political leader of Bahamas’ opposition Free National Movement (FNM), Dr. Hubert Minnis has urged party members to forgive him for any mistakes he has made in the past and will continue to assist the party in ‘whatever role assigned to me”.

Minnis, who has already announced that he will not be contesting the leadership of the party on November 27 said that while he is not perfect “and I never will be,” he will continue to serve in the House of Assembly as the Member of Parliament for Killarney”.

Minnis, who led the party into defeat in the September 16 general election when it lost by a 32-7 margin, said he wanted to thank his constituents for their support since 2007 and during the recent general election.

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“As a former prime minister and whatever role is assigned to me, I will support the work of the opposition to advocate on behalf of the Bahamian people and to hold the government accountable,” a teary-eyed Minnis said at the FNM’s 50th-anniversary church service.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve our country as prime minister and as Member of Parliament. I thank the Bahamian people and the members of the Free National Movement for their support and their encouragement.

“I also thank the many well-wishers for their advice, their prayers and their assistance. We all need God’s grace. Where I have made mistakes, I ask for your forgiveness,” Minnis said, thanking his wife, Patricia, and his family, for their support.

The medical practitioner told the party supporters that he had entered politics “to lift up those who had dreams for a better life but who needed and wanted more opportunity and greater access to quality education, to healthcare, home and land ownership and food and nutrition.

“This is why our 2021 manifesto was about ensuring greater opportunity for all Bahamians as a matter of greater justice and equality.

“This is why we made the University of The Bahamas and BTVI (Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute) free to all Bahamians. This is why we ensured that every student coming from the Family Islands was given a subsidy of US$500 per month to assist with their accommodation. This is why we provided free preschool education to all Bahamians — three and four-year-olds. This is also why we expanded homeownership and access to Crown land.”

He said his administration had provided US$51.7 million in food assistance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and that at the height of the pandemic, 57,000 families were being assisted.

Meanwhile, former prime minister, Hubert Ingraham, who did not publicly endorse Minnis in the last general election, told reporters over the last weekend that he did not feel like his advice was wanted or appreciated by the FNM.

“I have not been active in the last five years or more because I did not feel that my advice or counsel was appreciated, wanted or needed,” said Ingraham, who stepped down as FNM leader in 2012 after the party’s defeat at the polls.

He was later replaced by Minnis, with media reports quoting him as saying in 2012 that the Ingraham era was over.