Friday, October 11, 2019
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PINERIDGE MP Frederick McAlpine supports Reece Chipman’s resignation from the Free National Movement but has no plans to follow suit anytime soon.
Mr McAlpine has, along with Mr Chipman and Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, been vocal critics of the FNM from within the party, occasionally voting as a bloc against priorities of the Minnis administration in Parliament.
Mr McAlpine said he is no less disillusioned with his party than his counterpart from Centreville but is more “long-suffering”.
“I’m still with the FNM because I’m trying my best to assist in making changes within,” he claimed. “I’m practicing one of the Bible’s fruits of the spirit which is long-suffering and I may just be more patient trying to steer them in the right direction.”
Mr Chipman’s resignation, he said, proves the “FNM needs a come to Jesus moment” and should stop patting itself on the back. Like Mr Chipman, he said the party is disconnected from the wider public.
Throughout Bahamian history, the consequences for people who leave the parties through which they got elected has varied. For example, Bamboo Town MP Tennyson Wells departed the FNM to become an independent in the second Ingraham administration and won re-election in 2002 despite no affiliation with a major party. He lost his second bid as an independent to his successor Branville McCartney.
When Mr McCartney later departed the FNM, he lost his seat in 2012 after forming the Democratic National Alliance (DNA).
Chairman of the FNM’s Centreville constituency association, Juan Cartwright, 44, said yesterday Mr Chipman should have resigned from Parliament altogether.
“The reason why he got elected was through the FNM association and through the FNM people who gave him a chance,” he said, “so it’s contradictory for him to keep one thing but not the other.”
Mr Cartwright said in his two years as chairman he has never had a conversation with Mr Chipman.
“The association is what has to engage with people on a daily basis when MPs aren’t around,” he said, “so it’s hard for you to say the party disconnected from the people when you disconnected from your association. You can’t argue about what’s right when you haven’t consulted people who helped elect you.”
Throughout Centreville yesterday reaction to Mr Chipman’s resignation varied from indifference to support.
Maggie Smith, 47, was watching her boyfriend fix their car when The Tribune found her on Royal Palm Street. She said she voted for the Free National Movement in 2017 in the Carmichael constituency but moved to Centreville two years ago and can’t imagine voting at all in the next election.
About a mile away, a man who gave his name as Dowell, 51, agreed with Mr Chipman’s criticism of the governing party but disagreed with his decision to resign because it leaves him without power to help his constituents.
“Years ago the governments who were in power, they used to at least try and provide a way for us to make a little money,” Dowell said. “But this government that in power, the prime minister who in power now keeping away the money. Side jobs which we supposed to have and little contracts, that’s how we used to eat, but we ain’t getting it anymore. Reece resign because he see that and he don’t want lose face with the people, he rather resign to show us he ain’t a part of that. But as an independent person in power, knowing we have two parties, he don’t have much power, he just a face. I think he should’ve speak with them highly as best as he could, tell them what he don’t like but stay there and work.”
In a statement yesterday, Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said he hopes his party will benefit from Mr Chipman’s “thoughtful counsel”.
“We are not surprised that Reece Chipman MP has now resigned form the Free National Movement,” he said. “We have watched how a young professional Bahamian was deliberately misled, abused and frustrated by a leadership which disrespected him. As leader of the opposition I have watched his concerns. I thought that he was making genuine contributions to the common good of our commonwealth and did not deserve the disrespect.”