Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said yesterday “the masses are emotionally tied to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP)”.
“Every now and again, parties like the FNM can get their head to turn and to vote for you, but their heart is never going to be with you. They have one lover, and that lover is the PLP,” said Ingraham in an interview with The Nassau Guardian at his law office in western New Providence.
“Now you can seduce them and induce them and get them to come with you from time to time, if you are offering the right medicine, or the right policies or programs etc., if you are the right personality. But there is nothing natural about them forsaking the [PLP].”
Ingraham made the comment after he was asked what he thought about Prime Minister Perry Christie’s recent comment that he is needed for the PLP to remain stable.
Pointing to ongoing infighting in the Free National Movement (FNM), Christie suggested while a guest on the Kiss FM talk show “Ed Fields Live”, that his departure would lead to instability in the PLP.
Ingraham told The Guardian, “The PLP is a structured party. No individual, whether it’s FNM or PLP, will be the only person who will hold the party together. But there will be a lot of contention in the PLP if Christie left. But the PLP being the institution that it is, whoever is left with the name PLP, will be the PLP.
“By that I mean they can have whatever contention they have. At the end of the day, whoever becomes the leader of the PLP will have the PLP support in the country, as opposed to the FNM.
“FNM supporters, many of them will scatter and go elsewhere, but the PLP’s core will go nowhere. They will stick with the party. That’s the same experience with most political parties in the Caribbean, nearly all of them, that led the countries to independence.”
Ingraham again warned that if the leader of the Free National Movement does not find a way to bring the party together after its convention this week, the party could fracture.
“The party has an opportunity to make a very fundamental decision to either stick with Dr. [Hubert] Minnis as the leader or change to Loretta Butler [Turner],” he said.
“We’ve had Minnis for the last four years as our leader. We have not had Loretta as our leader. She was a deputy. She gave her post up and she challenged Minnis for the leadership and she lost badly and the party has been called upon now to make a decision.”
Ingraham was also asked whether he thinks Christie should retire.
“Those who want him to retire can retire him, you know,” said the former prime minister with a chuckle.
“He didn’t put himself there. I find it very strange people saying what Christie should do and what he shouldn’t do. If they don’t want Christie there then they shouldn’t vote for him, especially The Guardian. Every week they are badgering this man in the editorial that he should go, he should go, he should go. Well, vote against him if you don’t want him there.”
Asked his thoughts about another possible five years of Christie as prime minister after this term, Ingraham said, “I think the FNM is the better party to govern The Bahamas than the PLP.”
The FNM’s convention starts today at the Melia resort.