Bahamas Parliament to Mark Women’s Suffrage Anniversary

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Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin pictured with senior police officials during Wednesday’s forum commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Nassau, Bahamas – A special parliamentary session to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Bahamas will be held Monday.

“We must continue to tell the story because so many young women do not know,” said Minister of Social Services, Mrs Melanie Griffin.

“We must make sure that we do our best to ensure that the legacy left behind by the Women Suffrage Movement does not die.”

Mrs. Griffin was a guest speaker at a forum for police officers, reservists, and civilians in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Specially recognised were Sergeant 522 Anita Williams (first woman to join the police force), Inspector Dorothy Davis (first woman inspector), ACP Juanita Colebrooke (first woman assistant commissioner of police), Superintendent Allerdyce Strachan (first woman gazetted officer), and Superintendent Delmetta Turnquest (first woman finger print examiner).

Attorney Marion Bethel gave a special presentation on the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

Mrs. Griffin said that Dr. Doris Johnson who represented women’s suffrage at the time, was not allowed in the House of Assembly to present the petition on behalf of Bahamian women.

Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin at the Police Force’s forum commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

“But 50 years later (we), the women who stand on their shoulders, will make sure that that petition, that speech she wanted to make will have its day in the House of Assembly,” she said.

“We are very proud to be able to do that and give it the prominence it needs and put it definitely in the records of the House of Assembly.”

A resolution paying tribute to the leaders of the women’s suffrage is to be tabled in the House of Assembly.

“This is a significant milestone for us,” said Mrs. Griffin. “It is important for the country for us to know our history.”

She commended the contributions of those pioneering women police officers.

“Fifty years ago there would have been no women on the police force,” she said. “Oftentimes we take it for granted that what we do we have always been able to do.

“It is important to celebrate (the achievements of women) because many of our young women do not know that we could not always be police officers or parliamentarians.

“It is so much that women were not able to do but because of the struggle of (the Women’s Suffrage Movement)…they did it just so we could be where we are today.

“We must make sure that we do our best to ensure that the legacy left behind by the Women’s Suffrage Movement does not die.

“Their struggle was to get the vote. They did their part. We now have to do our part. We have an awesome obligation to move the struggle forward.

“As long as any of our sisters live in poverty…as long as domestic and family violence exist…as long as there is not equal pay for equal work…the struggle is not over.”