The time has come for Prime Minister Hubert lngraham to “pass the baton” to a new generation of politic, said Bamboo Town MP Branville McCartney last night.
“I have the greatest respect for the prime minister and what he has done far the country, but he has done what he has had to do and now we need new leadership to move the country forward,” McCartney told The Nassau Guardian as the Free National Movement’s council mulled the question of whether to hold a convention this year.
Before the end of the night, the council voted unanimously to hold the party’s convention in 2011.
“It’s time to move on,” McCartney said in an interview earlier in the night. “And I feel that way about the leaders of both parties. This is a new generation.
“We need a new mindset. There are other people out there, inside the Cabinet and outside the Cabinet, who can take it further. There are quite a number on both sides of the political fence who can take it further. And I think that is where we are now.”
McCartney, 43, said that it “is our generation, this is our time to lead”.
The prime minister, who is serving his third nonconsecutive term in office, explained during a nationally televised press conference on Wednesday that he is of the opinion that the FNM should not hold a convention this year due to financial and other-concerns.
He said he planned to inform the FNM council of his viewpoint in a meeting that was scheduled for last night.
Ingraham also said he would welcome any potential challenges to his leadership and will stay on as long as he is wanted.
But McCartney said he believes that Ingraham – who said initially that the party would hold a convention, on November 5 should keep his promise.
“We don’t want to wait until the last minute to call a convention,” McCartney said.
“We certainly don’t know what the prime minister is going to do. He said he would let us know by the end of this year as to whether he is going to stay on as leader or otherwise. That’s all important. It, is essential, not only for the party but for the country as well.”
McCartney has made no secret of his intention to vie for the leadership post if nominated.
“If I were to be nominated, I would certainly offer myself for leader and to be the prime minister,” he said. “But that is something that is up to the FNM and the people. That is not up to me.”
McCartney resigned as minister of state for immigration earlier this year, and has since been publicly supportive of Ingraham.
However, it is unclear if McCartney can gain similar support from Ingraham’s broad base in the party.
“You have a lot of people who come up to you and say things and give you advice and suggestions,” he said. “Within the party, there are people who say they support me. But you know, you take a lot of things with a grain of salt and you tread carefully. And in politics it’s a situation where, you watch and you will know when to move at the right time.
“As far as the support in the public, that only comes into effect if there is a convention, and you are nominated and you are successful. That public support is only necessary if you have the post.”
By JUAN McCartney
Nassau Guardian Senior Reporter