Is the idea of ‘One Bahamas’ a utopian goal?

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Oswald Brown Writes!

Oswald Brown

By OSWALD T. BROWN

Andrew J. Burrows made a profound statement in a post on his Facebook page earlier today (Saturday) noting that he is “learning again that truth and honesty aren’t always the same thing.” He added: “We have a long road ahead Bahamas. We are so not ready at this point and 40 is right around the corner. It’s time we grow up.”

Whatever led Mr. Burrows to wax philosophically in this manner may have had something to do with an exchange in one of the various groups that have proliferated on Facebook that provide a forum for comments from participants on the various issues. Probably the “best” of these groups, as far as fairness is concerned in providing participants with opposing viewpoints to state their case, is BAHAMA VOICE.

Meanwhile, on the bottom rung of the “fairness ladder” is the NO SPIN ZONE, a hate-filled group controlled by die-hard supporters of the Free National Movement (FNM), including Peter T. Carey and Doc Margo Seymour, a sister of former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing, who apparently is still shell-shocked that her brother and the FNM were soundly defeated in the May 7 general election. To members of this group, any criticism of their god, PAPA Hubert Ingraham, is a declaration of war and they are not adverse to using the most scurrilous concoction of lies and libelous statements as their weapons of mass destruction against their presumed enemies.

I don’t know whether it was something said in the NO SPIN ZONE that elicited the remarks posted earlier by Andrew J. Burrows, but this was the first thing that crossed my mind, knowing how vexing comments from members of the FNM Hate Brigade in the NO SPIN ZONE can be to persons who have not yet learned, as I have, to disregard what they say as the ranting of political goons who still have not yet recovered from the beating that the FNM received in the May 7 general election.

The Hon. Ryan Pinder – Minister of Financial Services

Nonetheless, I thought that I should expand slightly on some comments that I wrote in response to Andrew J. Burrows’ remarks. As I noted in that response, the problems that beset this country can be summed up in two words: political polarization. Every single Bahamian has strong political leanings one way or the other, and until we as a people realize that politics is a tool used by some unscrupulous power-hungry people who engage in it as a profession to keep us divided, we will never reach that utopian goal of “One Bahamas” perpetually espoused by one of my favourite politicians, Algernon Allen, the co-chair of Urban Renewal 2.0.

Indeed, the criticism that surfaced when Mr. Allen, a former Minister in the FNM government, accepted the invitation from Prime Minister Perry Christie, leader of the PLP, to co-chair Urban Renewal 2.0, is clear evidence of how politically myopic and partisan some Bahamians can be. Here is a remarkable program aimed at helping to address some of the more deeply entrenched problems in our communities and there are those whose simple minds could not appreciate the altruism that was the foundation of the decision made by Mr. Allen to “cross political lines,” so to speak, and do something in the best interest of all Bahamians. It is my hope that more Bahamians would use this approach in working towards bridging the political divide, with the ultimate goal of achieving Mr. Allen’s dream of “One Bahamas.”

Leading up to the 40th anniversary of our attainment of independence, it is important that white Bahamians, in particular, realize that this elusive dream can only be achieved if they discard the notion that Independence Day is mainly a holiday for black Bahamians and become full and enthusiastic participants in the celebrations. By the same token, black Bahamians must put the final nail in the coffin that contains the past “sins” of the racist UBP party that was defeated by the PLP in the 1967 general election and extend an “olive branch” to our “white brothers and sisters” to follow the example being set by Sir Durward Knowles, a white Bahamian, who originated the “One Bahamas” theme along with Mr. Allen.

Very much to the credit of the present PLP government, very strong examples of the kind of results this sort of outreach could accomplish are reflected in the major role that PLP Member of Parliament for Elizabeth Ryan Pinder, Minister of Financial Services, a white Bahamian, is playing in the new PLP government and the PLP candidacy in the last election of Clay Sweeting, another white Bahamian, for the North Eleuthera constituency, which includes Spanish Wells, where reports suggest that prior to 1967 a black Bahamian could not stay overnight.

We need more examples like this, in terms of bridging the racial divide, leading up to the 40th anniversary of The Bahamas’ independence, and I suspect that this was the objective that Prime Minister Perry Christie had in mind when he named businessman Charles Carter, an iconic Bahamian broadcasting personality, and Nicholette Bethel, who has well established roots in the cultural affairs of this country, to co-chair the committee organizing plans for the 40th anniversary of the Bahamas’ independence celebrations.

–ends–