The Branville McCartney Betrayal
In March 2011, Branville McCartney resigned from the FNM, citing ‘personal convictions.’ Renewed overtures were again advanced to McCartney, that the NDP would make space for him within their ranks.
Months later, a series of meetings were held between the parties, and briefly a union of sorts seemed possible.
The NDP, attempting to show their sincerity and commitment to a joint venture, turned over its constitution, candidates’ lists and national plan, (which was a work in process) to the McCartney group.
However, negotiations stalled, particularly over the process of leadership and direction. Subsequently, a joint venture with the NDP entity was rejected by McCartney and the executives were told to dissolve their party and join as mere regular members under a newly form entity that would be called the Democratic National Alliance.
As NDP and DNA negotiations soured, news reports of the NDP leader, Renward Wells having secret meetings with the Prime Minister circulated. Of course this again resulted in discord within the NDP ranks. Tensions grew within the party as a number of confidential email exchanges were leaked to the media and circulated over the social networks about the parties challenges.
A vote of confidence was done which again solidified Wells leadership within the party. However, concerns still lingered that the party had been infiltrated by political moles determined to thwart the party’s growth and development.
In May 2011, the DNA was officially launched as a political party with a strikingly similar platform as the NDP. Potential candidates who had previously committed to the NDP had aligned themselves with the new party.
In weeks following, the DNA was able to suck the life out of the third party movement, making it difficult for other alternative parties to survive within the new political climate. The Workers Party subsequently broke ranks with the NDP to join the DNA, dissolving their 35 year old party in the process.
As, the NDP attempted to restructure itself once again in preparation for the general elections, factions within the party brought up the idea of dissolving and infiltrating the various political parties with NDP concepts and ideals.
The Renward Wells Betrayal
However as fate will have it, Party leader Renward Wells who was negotiating secretly with the PLP hierarchy defected from the party to join the PLP in May 2011, taking along with him several key party members.
This move took the party by surprise, especially after Wells lambasted former party chairman, Andre Rollins for his decision to join the PLP. This NDP split followed the BDM’s sudden dismantling of its party a month earlier to join the FNM.
The party clearly challenged, immediately went into a conclave, where Lindon Nairn was elected Leader of the NDP. However the new dynamics of the party proved to be overwhelming, and Nairn seemingly lacked the charisma to galvanize the troops to march forward.
Realizing the impossibility of the party being able to contest the 2012 general election, five executive members resigned from the party to join the DNA; three gaining candidate nominations. Nairn remain behind, however, he decided to campaign and support the two former NDP defectors who had joined the PLP.
NDP Impact on the 2012 General Elections
In deed, the detractors were right; the NDP will not make it to the 2012 general elections. The weights of the major parties’ machinery prove to be too massive for the party to withstand.
However their short political life has undoubtedly changed the fabric of Bahamian politics. Their boldness to challenge the leaders of the government and the opposition to their faces, demanding a greater involvement of young, talented Bahamians in governance has made the party a hero.
Their ground movement of preaching Bahamian ownership and empowerment is now on every politician’s lips. Their willingness to openly give solutions to the country’s woes on immigration, crime and the economy has been incorporated within the three major parties’ platforms.
In truth, this band of troublesome young men and women has proven that in spite of their party’s demise, it is indeed possible for an alternative party to thrive and influence Bahamian politics.
If nothing else, the NDP’s early and active entry into the political fray forced both the FNM and PLP to reinvent themselves and its various accomplishments on the campaign trail has made way for the DNA to emerge to be a viable alternative party in the Bahamas.