Butler-Turner, who was sworn in by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling on Sunday, replaced Dr. Hubert Minnis, who was ousted from the post after seven of the 10 opposition legislators had informed the head of state they no longer had confidence in him.
“I note that my appointment as the first woman to serve as Leader of the Opposition (in The Bahamas) is of historic importance,” she said, thanking her parliamentary colleagues for placing their trust and confidence in her as the new Leader of the Opposition.
“I pledge an unwavering commitment to collegiality and collaboration. Democracy is not about the mood of a single individual; it is about cooperation in the pursuit of the common good,” Mrs. Butler-Turner said.
Mrs. Butler-Turner, a mortician and mother of two children, said she and her colleagues are convinced that there needs to be a new direction for the country.
“Today is about the collective judgement and the sincere beliefs of the majority of the duly elected representatives opposed to the Government of the day.
“We have acted in accord with The Bahamas’ Constitution and in accord with parliamentary democracy. We have acted in accord with our consciences, as have others in this country who have also acted similarly.
“On behalf of my colleagues, we pledge our commitment to serve with integrity as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. We pledge ourselves to the common good of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas; we rely on the wisdom of the Bahamian people,” said Mrs Butler-Turner, who was first elected to Parliament in 2007.
In a statement, Minnis said that as the “the duly elected leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) I wish to assure our faithful, dedicated, hardworking and committed members that I am not moved by these tactics.
“I remain steadfast in my duty to you, our supporters and the Bahamian people, to return good governance to this country and to rid the Bahamas of this inept, arrogant PLP administration. That is and will always be our primary focus.”
He said what has occurred over the last few days in the FNM is the result of individuals who have failed to respect the democratic process of their own party.
“They have put their self-centered ambitions for leadership, and personal feelings toward me, ahead of the will of the people and the best interest of the country. The Free National Movement is not distracted. Our party remains the best opportunity for real, systemic change in this country.”
Minnis said that many FNM supporters in the seven constituencies “ have contacted the party over the last few days expressing a sense of deep betrayal and disappointment in these representatives; please be assured that your party has not abandoned you.
“Indeed, we are energized and committed more than ever to ensure that you and our beloved Bahamians, receive what you truly deserve: the highest quality representation, with impeccable integrity.
“To FNMs throughout The Bahamas, rest assured that your Free National Movement Party is ready, energized, and committed more than ever to fight, for and on your behalf,” he added.
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