NASSAU, Bahamas: Prime Minister Perry Christie has distanced his administration from allegations that it moved to prevent former prime minister Hubert Ingraham from addressing the Parliament for the last time as a legislator on Wednesday.
“I don’t know what information or what was said between the Speaker and Mr, Ingraham. I do know that I advised my colleagues that we should not stand in the way of the former prime minister making a speech in Parliament,” Christie told reporters.
But Ingraham, 65, whose Free National Movement (FNM) was defeated in the May 7 general election, blamed the motive as a “PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) decision” and promised not to return to Parliament.
He had originally indicated that his resignation would become effective from August 31 this year.
Earlier, Speaker Dr. Kendel Major acknowledged that he had received a letter of resignation from Ingraham and in a subsequent meeting with the former prime minister “a request was made that he be given the opportunity to make a statement surrounding his required resignation”.
“It is therefore the considered view of the Chair the communication ostensibly a resignation letter, is in fact a promissory note a resignation will take place sometime in the future. Accordingly, the chair is not minded to prioritize a personal statement of the Right Honourable member for North Abaco as prescribed by ruling.”
The Speaker said he would allow “with agreement from both sides , the member to make a personal statement at item J of the order of business which speaks to the motion for leave of absence, leave to resign seat… ”
But while he did not address the Parliament, Ingraham issued a 23-page statement to the media which he was due to have delivered.
In it, he described his 35 year stint in Parliament as “a long journey, filled not only with the highs of victory and accomplishment but also with the lows of defeat, dismissal from Cabinet in 1984, and recent defeat at the polls for the party I led.
“In office, I always did my best. And I worked tirelessly. I was truly a political nobody when, at the age of 25, I was selected by the then Leader of the governing party to manage the re-election campaign of my predecessor as the Member of Parliament for Coopers Town.”
Ingraham outlined the achievements his administrations had achieved adding “I promised to stay in office as long as I could or as long as the Bahamian people would have me.
“The Bahamian people in their majority have now determined that it is time for me to go. I accept their decision. And I thank them for the confidence they previously reposed in me for 15 years as Prime Minister of The Bahamas.
“In the immortal words of gratitude by Shakespeare I say to my family and to all the Bahamian people, “I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks,” Ingraham said.