So, the press of The Bahamas paid no attention to the fact that the Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis went to Clarence Town, Long Island on the 11th July 2019 to honour the founder of the Progressive Liberal Party Sir Henry Taylor. Sir Henry is buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Clarence Town. For the second year running, the party had the permission of the Catholic Church to hold the ceremony and a family member Ms. Erica Darville, his grandniece also attended.
The plan is for the Men’s Branch of the Progressive Liberal Party to upgrade the tomb and the area around where the man who founded the PLP is buried. Sir Henry is also a former Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The ceremony went off without a hitch. Those who wish to see the ceremony and have Facebook accounts can access the ceremony with the following links on Facebook.
Then the bombshell, when an FNM ideologue, a man named Bennett Minnis recorded a voice note in which he blasted the PLP for coming to Clarence Town. He called the PLP and its leaders: Chairman Fred Mitchell and Leader Philip Davis some of the worst names one can imagine. Said Senator Fred Mitchell and his “sissying friends” and called the PLP’s leader a “Tiefing Black monkey”. This kind of homophobic, racist rant is bar room talk.
The words are unacceptable in any event.
What distinguished them from bar room talk in this instance, however, is that this man is a public official. He serves on the Board of the Water and Sewerage Corporation and is a supporter of Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister. A week after these racist homophobic words were spoken, the Government of The Bahamas was still stumbling around with a proper response. There is only one proper response and that is he must resign or be fired. But instead we had the FNM dissembling.
The press statement from the Chairman of the Party, the hopeless and hapless Carl Culmer was that the PLP “ should clean up its own doorstep”. He tried to say that the PLP had in social media attacks been similarly abusive on FNM figures. He could produce no proof of this. He tried to equate the work of Gorman Bannister, who is a PLP supporter, with the work of a public official. Mr. Bannister is a private activist and free to vent his spleen. One might disagree with content if you will but he does not represent in any way shape or from an official body in the country. That then was a red herring.
Then the Minister Desmond Bannister said that the matter was one for the Cabinet. So, the Cabinet of The Bahamas has to adjudicate on something which is so obvious and simple that the Prime Minister should have called for his resignation the next day. This is the so called government of ethics, accountability and transparency. They have failed us again.
Mr. Minnis, the Board member, went farther. He doubled down in the press after the voice note went viral and said he would say it again. He said he stood by every word. He repeated the abuse. Even the pro FNM Tribune had had enough and called on the Government to act.
What is also a more important problem is that Mr. Minnis said that he would have blocked the road to Clarence Town had he known that the PLP was going there. He said that he would in the future block their coming into Clarence Town if they came again and that no policeman could stop him. The Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis reported that matter to the Commissioner of Police.
So that is what dominated the news last week. There is a saying, some say a saying, that people who say that big people cannot be stopped by little things: the saying says that whoever says that has never spent the night in a dark room with a mosquito. The PLP should be proud of what they have done. This is classic civil disobedience. The FNM has been provoked to do something which is an overreaction and comes off as stupid, clumsy and inept. It is a political move; it worked like a charm that service in Clarence Town. The PLP should keep it up and those who say the party is being distracted by it are wrong. It is a teachable moment.
The self-hatred by black people is now a topic for the dinner table. We must exorcise it from our national ethos and consciousness. Brent Symonette has now gotten his wish: race is being discussed nationally.
Benett Minnis is a klutz and an ignoramus but he has done us all a favour. The fig leaf is gone and now we know what the real problem is that many people of Long Island have with the PLP. It is simply that it is a Black man’s party.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday, 20th July, 2019 up to midnight: 157,132;
Number of hits for the month of July up to Saturday, 20th July, 2019 up to midnight: 482,503;
Number of hits for the year 2019 up to Saturday, 20th July, 2019 up to midnight: 5,428,316.