- Candia Dames
- Guardian News Editor
The Free National Movement’s (FNM) National Central Council will meet tonight to ratify the party’s candidate for the North Abaco by-election.
Greg Gomez, an educator, is widely regarded as the favorite and is expected to get the nod.
The three other contenders are Perry Thomas, of Fox Town, North Abaco; Jackson McIntosh, a former administrator for Cooper’s Town, and Cay Mills, a taxi driver who also resides in North Abaco.
The council met week before last to ratify the candidate but failed to do so.
Gomez ran into an issue concerning his residency, as he has previously lived in the United States.
In order to successfully nominate, a candidate must have been ordinarily resident in The Bahamas for at least a year prior to nomination.
FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis recently confirmed that Gomez moved back to The Bahamas last August.
On Thursday, former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham announced that the effective date of his resignation from the House of Assembly is now August 31.
He had previously said it would be July 19, the 35th anniversary of his first election to Parliament.
Ingraham said he pushed off his retirement date, in part, to allow Gomez a fair chance to be considered as a candidate in the by-election that must be called within 60 days after Ingraham’s resignation.
“Greg Gomez, who is one of the four persons who applied to the party for a nomination, has spent some time in the United States of America and he hasn’t been back home for quite a year yet. He has applied,” Ingraham said.
“I want him to be considered like the other [three] as a candidate and my postponement will facilitate that. His father has been my supporter for many years.
“In fact, all of the [prospective] candidates have been my supporters at some time or the other.
“Greg has a wonderful story to tell as to how he was victimized by this government, and I want him to be able to tell it in his own words, and I want him to be given the opportunity.
“So I hope the party will look at him and the others and make a decision. Whatever decision they make I hope Greg will be able to tell his story on the campaign trail, whether he’s a candidate or not.”
Ingraham, who turns 65 next month, won the seat eight consecutive times — once as an independent, twice as a PLP and five times as an FNM.
Both Ingraham and Minnis have said the party will mount a strong campaign in North Abaco despite financial challenges.
Ingraham previously reported that the recent general election campaign left the FNM $1 million in debt.
The North Abaco by-election is considered a significant test for the FNM, which is hoping to build momentum after a crushing defeat at the polls.
“Obviously, political parties are formed to win elections and so the effectiveness of any political party is usually gauged from its wins and losses, and so definitely at this stage in our development we would want to prove to The Bahamas that we have the ability to win and win the confidence of the people,” FNM Chairman Charles Maynard said yesterday.
“So we are going to put our best effort forward to win.”
The Progressive Liberal Party intends to run Renardo Curry again.Curry ran against Ingraham in the May 7 election.
PLPs believe that he has a strong chance of winning North Abaco for the party.
The North Abaco by-election will be the first by-election since the Elizabeth seat came up for grabs in 2010.