( The letter first appeared in The Nassau Guardian on 5 March 2021. Mr. Buckner is the son of the British investor that developed Sandy Port . He attended school at St Andrew’s in Nassau and was teasingly called by his Bahamian classmates the first white Prime Minister of The Bahamas. He has been preoccupied with the subject of white people in politics in The Bahamas from school days. The finest work on the subject is Colin Hughes 1977 work “ Race and Politics in The Bahamas”. The letter miscasts the subject in all sorts of difficult ways. The fact is we must have a society which is based not on the colour of one’s skin but the content of one’s character. All the rest is vanity.—Editor)
The lack of diversity in politics today is both troubling and wrong in a representative democracy.
The government recently lost its only female Cabinet minister. She was replaced by a man. As a result the Cabinet is now 100 percent male (sorry, but a minister of state is not a Cabinet minister).
In 2019, the government’s only White Cabinet minister, Brent Symonette, stepped down. Since then the Cabinet has been 100 percent Black.
We have a 100 percent Black, male Cabinet. That is not representative of the Bahamian people.
The FNM has announced its candidate for South Abaco, Vandea Stuart. While she is a woman and so will help the FNM with its lack of female representation, she has got the nomination in one of the handful of seats where White candidates are viable.
White people make up a large percentage of voters in five constituencies: St. Anne’s, Freetown, Killarney, South Abaco and North Eleuthera.
They also make up sizable minorities in Long Island, East Grand Bahama, Golden Isles, North Abaco and parts of South Eleuthera. I am not saying that areas with large White populations have to have a White MP; not at all.
People need representation on a large number of issues and fronts. But identity and community are important. So far, the FNM has nominated only one White candidate; Adrian White in St. Anne’s. One is not proper representation.
The government partly makes up for its lack of female MPs in the Senate. But the government has not appointed any White senators at all.
The FNM has always been the party of one Bahamas, the party of inclusion and diversity. There are plenty of qualified Bahamian women who can win election, serve as MPs and as Cabinet ministers. There are also plenty of White Bahamians. What is being done by the FNM to develop these candidates? Where is the outreach? What’s up, FNM?
According to news reports, there may soon be an opening on the FNM ticket in North Eleuthera and the party should use the opportunity to nominate a White Bahamian. No White woman has ever been elected to Parliament.
Perhaps the FNM should use the opportunity to make good on two of their short comings, and at the same time make history.
In the modern age, we need proper diversity in government so that all Bahamians are represented.
— Garth Buckner