Neko Grant has left the door opened, ever so slightly.
The longest consecutive-serving Free National Movement House of Assembly Member earlier this week, in a candid and exclusive interview with The Freeport News, gave somewhat surprising responses to questions about a turnabout decision to remain in frontline politics.
“Circumstances alter cases.”
“ I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.”
So, said Grant, who is near the end of his fifth term as an FNM Member of Parliament, representing a seat in Grand Bahama.
Rumors circulating, indicated that FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis in his intense effort to unify the party for the campaign run to the 2017 General Elections, had asked the Central Grand Bahama veteran politician to reconsider his decision to step away from the frontline.
Two weeks ago, Grant held a press conference to announce his decision to officially call it a day at the end of this parliamentary term. At the time, Grant sounded satisfied that it was generally accepted he had contributed valiantly to the development of the country through his political, civic and charitable efforts.
During his interview with The Freeport News, Grant again insisted in being “at peace with myself.”
He acknowledged however that constituents have expressed a strong desire for him to carry on as their candidate for the next general elections cycle.
“I have been approached by numerous constituents. I explained to them why I have taken the decision to quit frontline politics. Some are disappointed but they accepted the position. I wouldn’t say that I have turned them down. I first gave notice of my intention in early 2012,” said Grant.
It was clear though, and he agreed that the “ultimate” decision actually came because his political leader did not defend him against certain criticisms.
“Over the past several months, I was villainized and demonized by others. I got attacked, unfairly by some people who I had great respect for. The leader did not come to my defense even though he was fully aware of the advice and cooperation I had given him for four years. The utterances of many were wrong and that factored more so in my ultimate decision,” said a somber, but passionate Grant.
He told The Freeport News that Dr. Minnis has not approached him but when pushed on the possibility of changing his decision to opt out of running as a candidate in the next general elections, Grant didn’t quite say ‘no’ emphatically.
Grant lamented the state of affairs in his party and indeed the country and implied that his experience and advice could make a difference in a positive way, but pointed out that there “are forces at work that would not be receptive” to any contributions he would make.
Rooted in community and humanitarian work, Grant had actually been serving the nation through sports, Kiwanis and the Church for some 21 years before he became a candidate for the Hubert Ingraham-led Official Opposition in 1992. His political run has been historic.
He joins a select list of House of Assembly representatives who have served for at least five consecutive terms and for the FNM, he is No. 1 in that category. With Dr. Minnis in recent weeks making public his focus on unification of the party, a talk with Grant seems one of the obvious steps.
Grant was a member of the six-dissident MPs who turned against the leadership of Dr. Minnis, but saw him prevail during the late July convention. In the tense days following the convention, it seemed that there would be a major split in the party. Of late though, Dr. Minnis has endorsed the prime member of the dissident six, Loretta Butler-Turner, for a re-run in the Long Island Constituency.
Will Dr. Minnis request a sit-down with Grant?
In FNM circles, they are saying, perhaps he should. It appears the Central Grand Bahama MP might be receptive to such a meeting.
Grant told The Freeport News that “the only thing constant in life is change and circumstances alter cases.”
The door to his political future has indeed been left a bit open.
Published Friday, September 16, 2016