By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement Senator Dr Duane Sands said he is running for the party’s deputy leader post because the FNM currently has “serious problems” and despite the dismal performance of the government, it is “not gaining traction”.
While appearing as guest on Real Talk Reloaded with host Lincoln Bain, Dr Sands said the Official Opposition’s problems “are not going to go away on its own” and instead of being a part of the problem he wants to be “a part of the solution.”
On Sunday, Dr Sands told The Tribune that he and Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner are running as a team to hopefully replace FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis and Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest at the party’s convention next month.
The pair finalised the decision on Saturday and informed Dr Minnis and Mr Turnquest of their intentions on Sunday.
The decision has set the stage for one of the most anticipated political events of the year, to be held from July 27-29.
Dr Sands said on Monday if Dr Minnis remains leader of the FNM after the convention, he will throw his full support behind the Killarney MP.
“Since 2012, I have tried to be a measured voice in the Free National Movement and despite the dismal performance of the PLP, the FNM is not gaining traction, not the way we ought to be. What I believe is that you should be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem. So I would like to make a more substantial contribution to the advancement of the country and that is why I am offering myself for service,” Dr Sands said.
“I pledged my support to Dr Minnis when I ran in 2014 and lost and I delivered it to the leadership of the FNM. I think it is very important for the public to understand there is no point in sticking your head in the sand. If you perceive a problem it is not going away on our own, you have to address it, you have to deal with it and sometimes you have to force other people to deal with the problem. There are serious challenges and problems in the FNM that our supporters believe we need to get resolved.”
Dr Sands said calling for a change in leadership does not mean Dr Minnis is ineffective, but he added: “Sometimes even though you are going in the same direction, you have to change the seats on the bus.”
“Some people point to a challenge with the leader and some point to challenges with the followers but at the end of the day the FNM is not as potent as it ought to be and could be and given what is at stake for the Bahamas, we owe our people a duty to get it right,” Dr Sands said.
“In convention when we come out for better or for worse our challenges need to be resolved. A number of people are calling for a difference in leadership and I liken it to rearranging the seats on the bus. We are all going in the same direction and believe in the same thing but sometimes you have to reposition who is riding shotgun and who is at the wheel. Sometimes you have to shuffle things around to get a more effective team and get a better result.”
Last month, Dr Minnis agreed to an early convention after six parliamentarians, including Mrs Butler-Turner, threatened to seek his removal as leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Assembly.
Mrs Butler-Turner and Dr Sands lost their bids to become FNM leader and deputy leader, respectively, at the party’s convention in 2014. At that time, they were not running as a team.