Nassau, Bahamas — Branville McCartney, Leader DNA, will speak at the Freedom of Information rally in Rawson Square June 11, along with leader of the Official Opposition Dr. Hubert Minnis, union leaders, church leaders and others. The public is urged to participate and sign a petition that already has nearly 5,000 signatures calling on the Prime Minister to enact a Freedom of Information Act as almost every democratic country in the world has.
Bran: FOIA rally is a chance for young leaders to shine
Tomorrow’s Freedom of Information rally is a chance for the future leaders of The Bahamas to stand up and make their voices heard according to Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Branville McCartney.
McCartney, whose party is officially supporting the groundbreaking event in Rawson Square, said the impressive show of youth activism and unprecedented range of groups taking part – including political parties, major unions and a variety of advocacy groups – bodes well for the future of The Bahamas.
We can clearly look forward to good things in terms of new leadership in this country, whether it is from the political arena, business, or environmental activism,” he said. “And this country truly, truly needs a refreshing outlook.”
The DNA leader was speaking as a guest on the Love 97FM radio show ‘Voice of The Bays’, hosted by Save The Bays, the fast-growing social and environmental advocacy group that is the lead organizer of the FOIA rally.
He said the time has come to do away with the old approach to governance, which relies on a code of official secrecy and treats citizens as subjects.
“The bottom line is, we live a democracy, and if we want a real democracy, we ought to be in a position to know what the government is doing, save and except for in the interest of national security,” he said.
“Today, we don’t have that, and this administration in particular seems to be adamant about keeping information away from their bosses – the people of this country.”
McCartney gave as examples: secret deals with investors which lead to projects that degrade the environment; the unexplained reemergence of retired political operatives who block the rise of talented young Bahamians; and the veiled process of handing out government contracts which opens the door to cronyism and corruption.
When asked to produce those contracts, there seems to be a strong reluctance, and even an arrogant demeanor, as if they are saying ‘This is something I don’t have to give you.’ If given an opportunity to govern this country, the DNA would enact a real Freedom of Information Act – that is one of our promises – in an effort to ensure the power of the people remains with the people.
We unfortunately have seen governments past and present make certain promises to get elected. The difference with this new, young leadership is that we want what is good for the country ultimately, not for ourselves,” he said.
The DNA and Save The Bays are set to be joined in Rawson Square by the official opposition Free National Movement, the Trade Union Congress, the National Congress of Trade Unions, the Bahamas Public Service Union, the Bahamas Humane Society, Bahamas Against Crime, the Coalition to Save Clifton, the Bahamas Reef Environment and Educational Foundation (BREEF), reEarth and many other groups.