New Bahamas opposition leader promises to fight hard to become next government

Minnis said that despite the disappointing election loss, it was time for the FNM to “embark on a new day”.

“Our tasks are: To renew our party, revitalize our plans, rebuild confidence and return as the next government of this great Commonwealth,” he said on Saturday night in his acceptance speech.

Minnis was elected leader of the FNM unopposed at the party’s convention held on Saturday. He replaces former prime minister and party leader Hubert Ingraham, who announced his intention to step down after his party lost the May 7 general election.

Loretta Butler-Turner was elected deputy leader; Charles Maynard is the party’s new chairman; and Dr Duane Sands is the party’s new deputy chairman.

Minnis said the party could have communicated “earlier and better” the good work it had done while in office.

“Perhaps we could have in some ways spoken more directly to the hearts of our people,” he said. “And, we must be honest about our mistakes and be open to constructive criticism.”

Minnis said the FNM would be a “government-in-waiting, ready to “rescue The Bahamas from the disaster that is already emerging in the Christie administration”.

He reiterated that the FNM would not oppose “for the sake of opposing”.

“Our task as the opposition will be to remain ever vigilant in holding this government accountable, insisting on transparency and watching out for corruption,” said Minnis.

He said that the FNM in opposition would continue to promote its plans like the Back to the Island initiative and the development of a Native Food Market Over-the-Hill.

The FNM, said Minnis, would also carefully review and watch the government’s health care proposals in terms of responsible governance.

On the subject of crime, he said the opposition wants to work with the government to address the high level of criminal activity in the country.

“We have the unique ability to view governance from both sides of the aisle,” said Minnis. “We will be bipartisan in our goal to improve life for all Bahamians no matter one’s political persuasion.”

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