‘I never considered coming back’

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After many months of silence on political and national issues, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said yesterday he never considered returning to public life.

“I never considered coming back, but my friends, a number of my friends, they didn’t pay attention to what I said,” said Ingraham in an interview at his law office at Caves Village.

“I was happy that people like Frank Watson and Tommy Turnquest (former members of Ingraham’s Cabinet) knew and accepted my position, but I have other friends, like Aaron ‘Kiki’ Knowles and Floyd Wilmott and others who believe that, no, we’re going to turn his head.

“No. I never intended to do it (return).”

The interview came a day after Ingraham wrote to Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Sidney Collie and told him that he would not consider a nomination for any position if his name is entered during nominations today.

Several prominent FNMs had planned to nominate Ingraham, who gave up the FNM’s leadership in 2002, returned as leader in 2005, and retired from public life in 2012.

Ingraham told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that if he returned to front line politics, “it would be contrary to everything I believe, to seek to have a hostile takeover of the FNM”.

He added, “In the case of 2005, it was a very quick, surgical arrangement. I was nominated on that day and in two days I was the leader.”

Speaking of current events playing out, Ingraham said, “This is a long, drawn out fight in the FNM, people fighting tooth and nail and people are gathered on all different sides, etc.

“No. It would be unthinkable to seek to get in such a mess because a victory under those circumstances would result in some people whose position would be hardened against you and you’d have a divided party and divided parties can’t win.”

Ingraham also said yesterday, “Speculation about my stand now only creates opportunity for miscreants who seek to big up their political profile by spewing vitriol on my person.

“They should not be accommodated by anyone who seeks what is best for our party or for our country.

“Similarly, those who benignly seek my return to active politics must not be encouraged to engage in a fruitless undertaking but instead be encouraged to place all their energy into securing a victory for the FNM at the next poll.

“I appreciate most sincerely the support of many who wish for me to return. However, I cannot and I will not. It is time for another to lead us.”

Ingraham noted these are changing and challenging times.

“These are challenging times for our country as much as it is for countries around the world where social turmoil and economic uncertainty prevail on virtually ever continent and in every region,” he said.

“Such times call for change and change is coming as is evident by the historic and dramatic changes being ushered onto the political stage in countries which include our closest allies and most important trade partners in the European Union and in North America.

“I firmly believe if we are to achieve our best in the Free National Movement and indeed in and for The Bahamas we cannot isolate ourselves from change nor cling to old familiar ways.”

Ingraham again pledged his full support for the party and for the leadership team which will emerge from the convention this week.

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