28th April 2005
Free National Movement Leader Tommy Turnquest came under fire on Wednesday from the Progressive Liberal Party for seeking to deflect attention from the FNM leadership issue to what he termed the ineptitude of the present government.
"The Progressive Liberal Party has been watching closely the internal dispute that is brewing between the now embattled leader of the Free National Movement and the committee that he appointed to determine his suitability to serve as leader of that party," PLP Chairman Raynard Rigby said in a statement.
"However, Mr. Turnquest at his press conference [on Tuesday] sought to dispel his own internal problems by unwarranted attacks against the PLP Government."
At that press conference, Mr. Turnquest advised reporters that they should focus attention on other issues facing the country.
Appearing to accuse the PLP of fuelling a "make-believe" issue surrounding his position as leader, Mr. Turnquest said, "They want desperately to take the focus off their incompetence, ineffectiveness and inefficiency. We must continue to reveal their total ineptitude as a government. The old, pompous, all-for-me nature of the PLP is back and we must resolve to rid our country of this rudderless, incompetent and unfocused government."
But Mr. Rigby said, "We take this opportunity to gently remind Mr. Turnquest that it would seem prudent to deal with the apparent disarray within the FNM before attempting to wrongly characterize the stellar performance of a PLP government which has already eclipsed in so many ways the former government which he served."
He also said that any talk of a rudderless political organization is laughable from anyone in an FNM with a choice of four people "all of whom carry the title of leader."
Mr. Rigby said, "PLP’s are confident in their own indisputable leader, Prime Minister the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie as he steadily transforms The Bahamas for the benefit of all, proving yet again that he is the right man for the job.
"If Tommy Turnquest would only tend to his own affairs without resorting to wanton attacks against the government in a sad, but vain effort to detract attention from his real political problems, perhaps then, those looking on may be able to conclude something other than the presently inescapable fact that Tommy Turnquest is no leader."
He said ordinarily the PLP would offer no comment on matters that are of an internal nature to the FNM, but Mr. Rigby said the party decided to respond since Mr. Turnquest decided to "attack" the governing PLP.
The Free National Movement Leader has spent much of the week trying to reassure FNM’s that any talk of a leadership crisis in his party is in fact a "make-believe issue."
He was forced to go on the defensive after a Bahama Journal story on Monday revealed that there is a move afoot to encourage the return of Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham as leader of the party.
Party insiders said on Wednesday that Mr. Turnquest is deeply concerned about the perception in the minds of many after it was revealed that an advisory council he appointed reported that the major problem facing the party is that it requires new leadership.
But at his press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Turnquest insisted otherwise.
He said, "I confidently expect to successfully lead the FNM into the next general elections and to win back the government for our party."
Mr. Turnquest also assured that opposition within and outside his party did not trouble him.