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Bahamian Politics

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  • JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 1

  • 2 | The Nationalist

  • JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 3

    The Irony of it All 4by Dawn Demeritte

    A Toast to Charlie 5By Keith O. Major II

    History Untold: The Road to Majority Rule 7By: Quinton C. Lightbourne

    Branville McCartney Interview 8-9by Jayde K. Knowles

    Senator Desmond Bannister Interview 12-14by Dawn S. Demeritte

    Khaalis Rolle Interview 16-17By: Quinton C. Lightbourne

  • 4 | The Nationalist

    To the average Bahamian, legalizing number houses would be ideal. Equally so, enacting a national lottery would be a luxury. Either option personally affects me none, however from a broader perspective; this process would deepen the sense of democracy for Bahamians.

    If I had to vote on whether or not to legalize number houses, I would vote no. I understand what the ramifications of legalizing numbers are, but the irony in all of this takes away from the future of the gaming industry. We as Bahamians are ultimately voting on whether or not a practice that is illegal by our laws and Constitution should be made legal yet weve been participating in this illegal national hobby for years. While were in the process of rewarding bad behavior, can I request we legalize marijuana and ultimately strip clubs? Maybe with my extra addition, you can see how preposterous all of it seems? In addition, isnt it ironic that these same businesses are illegal but yet they have legitimate business licenses from the government itself? Is it not against the law to give an

    illegal company a legal document to operate? Now youre asking us to legalize an illegal business because you have no way to control it? Lets just lose control and legalize everything!

    The Bahamas has always been a country where the rules and laws are there, but the will to enforce them hasnt always been present. A clear example is the drinking age, the age that we can neither confirm nor deny. Tourists can come here and drink from 16, but we cant enter their country and do the same because other countries enforce their laws, we have them simply to claim a state of legitimacy. Therefore, when I vote no for the legalization of number houses; Im not doing so to take away from Bahamians, Im voting no to ensure that we as Bahamians have a fair chance at building a legitimate democratic country.

    Building a legitimate democratic country is a lot harder than it seems, as democracy itself is a problematic ideology to grasp. To be legitimate, you must first be democratic; which sounds

    easy but many of our institutions present a democratic faade, when in fact they represent just what it means to be undemocratic. Ironically enough, the greatest opportunity for a country to gain legitimacy seems to be in the legislative capacity which is handled through a referendum. It is important to note while many of us are eager to take part in a referendum few of us truly realize the importance of a referendum and how it assists in building a free and democratic country. Currently we are in a participatory democracy which means that citizens are required to be involved in the discussion and informed debate that foreshadows decision making. In other words, according to Larry Johnston it is the democracy of small societies, town hall meetings, sometimes workplaces but more importantly a viable option for todays plural societies. Now all we have to do is continue to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the government to involve citizens in the decision making process. This means educating yourself on what it means to vote in the referendum, this means

    understanding the repercussions and last but not least sometimes removing your selfish needs out of the equation and doing whats best for the country.

    On the other hand, I do support a National Lottery. It is my personal opinion that a vote for the National Lottery is a vote for democracy and freedom. Few people recognize and understand what it is to live in a real democratic and free country. Currently we believe that because were granted certain rights that were free, but we are far from that and one of the main factors hindering us from being free is ourselves. The only claim some countries have to being democratic are free elections, hopefully we the citizens of the Bahamas take the appropriate

    actions to assure the Bahamas does not turn out to be one of these countries.

    Voting for the National Lottery ensures that even if persons dont gamble; that the day they decide to do so the option is there. I should be able to have the right to participate in gaming activities as I see fit and if the government doesnt feel that as a citizen I can handle this, they should create organizations to assist in addiction. To have freedom means that free citizens should have the right to decide whether or not they want to participate in any activity. It is my presumption that we live in a democracy but arent free to make decisions for ourselves on salaries that we make. The irony overpowers once again.

    A country will never truly be democratic

    and free as there will always be laws enacted to protect citizens from general harm or in some cases, bad decisions. However, a law such as the one that prevents us from gambling in the country period, who is it protecting? For the avid gambler, voting yes on the referendum comes easy but for someone that doesnt participate in gambling remember youre voting for a deeper sense of democracy. Youre ultimately voting for the hope that our laws can begin to reflect a progressive society by allowing Bahamians to have the right to do something that they have been barred from doing for years. Youre giving Bahamians the right to act within their capacities as adults in a free and democratic country. Vote wisely.

    THE Irony of it All

    by Dawn Demeritte

  • JANUARY 2013 ISSUE 2 | 5

    A day without laughter is a day wasted, many would agree, that these words can easily be attributed to the late Charles Charlie Maynard, Former Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture. But rather, these words of English comedian and actor Sir Charles Spencer Charlie Chaplin, KBE, only describe what must have been the philosophy of our dearly departed friend Charlie. Charlie seemingly represented a new age of politicians, in that, not only was he remarkably upfront with those he came into contact with, but also lively and passionate on matters of national interest. Surely, few will soon forget, the emblematic Ping! which became part and parcel of most of his last addresses during the last political season, and by which he became known as the Lie Detector.

    Charlies passion for politics and proper representation of his people carried him through several political organizations including the now governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), the Coalition for Democratic Reform (CDR) and lastly the Free National Movement (FNM). Alas, it was through the FNM, that Charlie would finally realize his goal of being elected to Parliament when he was so elected in 2007, representing the constituency of Golden Isles. Following the 2007 elections, Charlie was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Education with responsibility for Culture and shortly thereafter the substantive minister for Youth, Sports & Culture.

    Charlie hailed from a family firmly rooted in politics in this country as son of Former PLP Chairman Andrew (Dud) and Isadora Maynard, nephew to Hon. Clement T. Maynard (Former Minister, PLP) and cousin of now Attorney-General and former Member of Parliament Allison Maynard-Gibson. As a family man, it was his wider as well as immediate family in which he took great pride in joy. Indicative of such was the last words he shared with his loving wife Zelena and love he sent for his three daughters mere moments before his untimely demise. His commitment and vigor to active involvement in frontline politics could not have been shown any clearer by his untimely passing on the front line as FNM Chairman organizing the partys bye-election effort in North Abaco.

    Politically, Charlies keen interest in the development and uplifting of young persons was exhibited in the FNM as he served as personal advisor to the Torchbearers Youth Association (the FNMs youth arm) at the time of his death. However, Charlies impact extended beyond the bounds of the FNM and politics in general, his interest was also seen by the level advocacy in which he took up on behalf of youth on the national stage in and out of Parliament as Minister with responsibility for Youth Sports & Culture.

    Notably, across the areas of both sports and culture, Charlie had among his list of accomplishments the distinct pleasure of overseeing two major successes coming to fruition under his careful watch, those being the construction of the new Thomas A. Robinson national stadium as well as the reconstruction of the downtown Straw Market, respectively. In closing Charlie, after the recent 2012 elections had the following to say by way of interview with a popular daily I had no disappointments, he said. I believe that I was able to make sure that we lived up to all of our projects in our manifesto that we promised in 2007 as it relates to youth, sports and culture. So I feel good about the service that I rendered to the Bahamian people, certainly, a man at peace with himself.

    Charlie, your spirit and vision will undoubtedly live on through the many who came in contact with you in your personal and professional capacity. Your openness and joviality was truly a refreshing addition in

    a business that which, by nature can become very mundane, crass and treacherous. You were truly one of the good ones, a new age political statesman on the rise.

    Ladies and gentleman please join me in a toast to Mr. Charles Charlie Maynard gone too soon!

    Che