HENFIELD AND THE APOLOGETIC NEGRO
It was Clarence Bain, the late Andros politician and National Hero, who first brought into popularity the expression the “apologetic Negro”. He no doubt got it from the United States where he worked and he saw Black people being obsequious Uncle Toms and later here in The Bahamas who apologised for the misconduct of White people toward Black people. They had no pride in themselves. Unfortunately that is all we can say in response to the weak words of the Foreign Minister of The Bahamas Darren Henfield who could not open his mouth and simply say that the words of the Ambassador Designate to The Bahamas for the United States, Douglas Manchester were not acceptable and that the United States would have to clarify urgently the position. It was left to the former Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell to stand up for The Bahamas and say clearly that the words were patently offensive. The problem gets worse though. Mr. Henfield could not only not defend The Bahamas but in the process attacked the remarks of the Opposition spokesman and former Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell as farcical: according to the Nassau Guardian. First, he stole a word which was used in a press statement by Mr. Mitchell. He should go use his own words. But secondly, it is clear when he described the words of the Ambassador designate as a “Freudian slip”, he showed that he had no idea what a Freudian slip was. A Freudian slip means that the Ambassador was telling the truth from his heart which he inadvertently blurted out, otherwise we would not have known. It is to be distinguished from a misstatement by someone who simply does not understand what he is saying. Bottom line then is that Mr. Henfield ended up excusing the Ambassador for telling his true position which (according to Mr. Henfield) is that the Ambassador believes that The Bahamas is a protectorate of the United States. Now if that is true Mr. Henfield and you accept that it is Freudian slip, why do you think that such a man should be allowed to come and be Ambassador to The Bahamas? It is clear that Mr. Henfield has no institutional memory either. His officials would recall that a former US Ambassador was withdrawn from The Bahamas following his challenging the sovereignty of The Bahamas in a public meeting, even though embassy sources said he had been advised not to do so. This led to then Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell advising the Ambassador that he (the Ambassador) was not a satrap and The Bahamas was not a suzerainty. But never mind, Mr. Henfield says it is farcical Mr. Mitchell’s statement. Boy when you’re too dumb to know better, it becomes a serious matter. This is the fellow who leads the Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas in a discipline where words mean everything. We didn’t think that anyone could underperform Brent Symonette in the job of Foreign Minister but Brent Symonette has met his match.