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Bethel is new FNM senator

  • Free National Movement Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis (left) and newly appointed FNM Senator Carl Bethel at a press conference on Tuesday. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 02, 2013

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Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday announced Carl Bethel as the party's new senator-designate and leader of opposition business in the Senate.

Bethel will replace outgoing senator and former leader of opposition business Desmond Bannister, whose resignation took effect on September 30.

Bethel yesterday promised to help reinvigorate and restore trust between the Bahamian people and the party.

"I wish to assure that I will do my very best to justify their confidence and the hope now vested in me," said Bethel at FNM headquarters.

"Our country faces many great and difficult challenges for which in far too many instances the present government appears to be ill prepared and therefore ill suited to tackle."

Bethel previously served as minister of education, attorney general and FNM chairman.  He lost his Sea Breeze seat in the last general election.

He was first elected to the Holy Cross constituency in 1992. He has previously served as a senator and president of the Torchbearers Youth Association.

"My primary hope will be and is to assist our new party leadership in their enormous but necessary task of renewing this party, or attracting the next generation of younger men and women who will rise and go to the forefront and take up the mantle of national leadership," Bethel said.

"[I plan] to help our new leadership in reinvigorating the FNM at every level and in every constituency throughout the length and breadth of our Bahamaland.

“It is only through the infusion of idealism and the visions of a new generation will the party reclaim its relevance and restore the trust of the Bahamian people."

Minnis said yesterday that Bethel will not be placed on a rotation. He said Bethel, whom he described as a freedom fighter, will serve in the Senate until 2017.

Minnis has said that the current senators will be rotated out of the Senate after two years of service to allow other FNMs to serve.

Bannister has said that he only planned to serve as senator for a year.

Minnis said the party is confident in Bethel's abilities.

"We are more than confident that with his years of experience in the political arena, he will contribute significantly to the Senate's proceedings and objectives," Minnis said.

"As a veteran politician, Mr. Bethel's experience will certainly lend to the development of the Free National Movement and by extension, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."

In his resignation letter, Bannister thanked Minnis for appointing him to serve in the Senate.

After resigning, he urged party members to stop undermining the leadership of the FNM and come together and strengthen the party.

Bannister was the second FNM senator to resign since the FNM became the official opposition last year.

Former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing resigned in late 2012.

Bethel joins FNM senators Kwasi Thompson, Heather Hunt and John Bostwick II.

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