|FNM deputy angered by PM’s “rude” comments|
Guardian News Editor
Published: Sep 12, 2012
Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said in a statement last night that she
was “surprised and dismayed” by Prime Minister Perry Christie’s “rude and disrespectful comments” with respect to her criticisms relating to billionaire investor Phil Ruffin.
Christie said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian on Sunday that Butler-Turner was “stark, raving mad” for taking issue with his decision to allow Ruffin to ride in his official prime minister’s car after they toured the luxury Albany development in southwest New Providence last week Monday.
Ruffin formerly owned the Wyndham Nassau Resort and Crystal Palace Casino and Nassau Beach Hotel. Before Christie became prime minister in 2002, he was Ruffin’s long-time attorney.
Referring directly to Butler-Turner, the prime minister said, “She has to be stark, raving mad because for me I would carry one of my constituents in the prime minister’s vehicle, and I would carry an investor if he had to talk to me in that [vehicle].”
He was responding to her first statement on the matter released last week.
In her new statement, Butler-Turner said, “Appearances matter and the Bahamian people expect good judgment from the head of government.”
Christie endorsed political statements made by Ruffin in a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian during which time he called himself a “Perry man” and said he never liked the Free National Movement.
But Butler-Turner claimed Christie failed to uphold certain standards of conduct expected of a prime minister.
Referring to the “stark, raving mad” comment, she said, “In using such intemperate language Mr. Christie is trying to shift attention from his actions”.
“It is the Bahamian people who are offended by what some may say was the stark raving mad decisions of Mr. Christie: First, to drive about with Mr. Ruffin, and secondly, not to publicly tell Mr. Ruffin to stop interfering in domestic affairs.
“I note that a senior member of Mr. Christie’s party expressed concerns about Mr. Ruffin’s public statement about the latter being a Perry man.”
Butler-Turner appeared to be referring to recent statements from George Smith, who served as a minister in the government of former Prime Minister the late Sir Lynden Pindling.
“I think he ought not to have commented to the press again about his personal preference,” Smith said.
“Foreigners have got to recognize and we Bahamians have got to recognize when we travel, that the politics of The Bahamas is the business of the Bahamian people. Other people may have their preferences, their points of view, but those ought not be expressed publicly.”
Butler-Turner claimed many Bahamians were angered “by the arrogance of Mr. Ruffin inserting himself into Bahamian politics”, commenting about which party or prime minister he believes to be good for The Bahamas.
“Is this the type of behavior Mr. Christie condones by foreign investors?” she asked.
Christie told The Nassau Guardian on Sunday he hopes all investors would consider themselves “Perry men” because good relations with investors are good for The Bahamas.
But Butler-Turner claimed, “Bahamians are stunned that the prime minister of The Bahamas would have Mr. Ruffin accompany him on a tour of a major tourism development. Prime Minister Christie should know better. We certainly expect better of the prime minister.
“As the Bahamian people are seeing more and more, day by day, ‘Bahamians First’ was always an empty slogan, with Mr. Christie happy to give a lift in his official car to a foreigner equally as happy to interfere in our politics, while the prime minister goes along for the joy ride,” she said.