Former MP in tears for next generation

By AVA TURNQUEST Tribune Staff Reporter aturnquest@tribunemedia.net FORMER member of parliament Edward "Dud" Maynard broke down in tears yesterday over the growing disparity between the ideals and aspirations of the country's "trailblazers" and the younger generation. Addressing students at a symposium commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Women's Suffrage Movement, Mr Maynard said he felt that young people were wasting hard-earned opportunities by indulging in drugs and distancing themselves from social history. "We have taken over our country politically, but our children are falling behind," Mr Maynard said. "That is a grievous feeling to me, it makes me feel like I've made sacrifices in vain. Some of us risked our lives, we risked all, so you could have. "It's emotional for me because when I was making three pounds a week, my mother gave ten shillings of that to the organisation," he said. "I'm not upset about that. I just feel that lying down on Bay Street Black Tuesday hasn't come home to you people." Heralded as one of the most significant achievements in Bahamian history, Women's Suffrage was achieved when a bill to grant equal voter's rights to women under the General Assembly Elections Act 1959 was passed on February 23, 1961. After more than a decade of petitioning, the legislation came into effect on June 30, 1962. Mr Maynard explained that the women activists employed every resource available and sacrificed everything to achieve their goal even at the cost of physical harm. The suffragettes faced staunch opposition, according to Mr Maynard, who said the most formidable opponent to the movement was Sir Stafford Sands. "Stafford Sands said that it would never happen," Mr Maynard said. "Not even over his dead body, and when it happened and he lost the elections in 1967, he won but he resigned. He said he would not take his seat in House of Assembly." Mr Maynard added: "That's why I get angry when they say they don't want Sands' picture on the dollar bill. You need to have his picture there. We need to let the children know that's the nigga. I'm not talking about colour of skin, I'm talking about bad ways. "You had suffragettes from the PLP, UBP, independents, but the most important thing is they got together like a hand in a glove and they worked together," he said. Among the many women who toiled selflessly to achieve this milestone, lead suffragettes were: Mary Ingraham, Mabel Walker, Georgiana Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart, Mildred Moxey, Ethel Kemp and Dame Doris Johnson. Under the theme Commemorating the Past, Reflecting on the Present, Envisioning the Future: 1962 and Beyond, a symposium reflecting on gender equality and the historic status advancement of Bahamian women began yesterday. Joined by children and siblings of leading suffragettes, Mr Maynard spoke of his personal experiences as a witness and participant in the revolutionary movement. Mr Maynard is the son of suffragette Georgianna Symonette and the father of Charles Maynard, Minister of Youth, Sports and Development. Other relatives present were: Juliette Barnwell, daughter of Mabel Walker; Alice Musgrove-Rolle, daughter of Mary Ingraham; Wallis Carey, daughter of Eugenia Lockhart; and Shirley Cooper, sister of Dame Doris Johnson. Descendants encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them and to become active participants in the country's development. Mr Maynard said: "All of us here at this table were not people who worked because we wanted to necessarily, we worked because we were told to and then we got to love it so much we couldn't stop." He added: "Our mothers made sacrifices and they made sacrifices with you in mind, even before you were conceived. You have to make an effort to make something of yourselves, be one of the leaders in this country. You don't have to be prime minister to be leader, you don't have to be an MP to be leader. "It's not good enough for some to go away to college and study medicine and become a doctor or a lawyer. You must think of this country and future generations, the way we did." Jointly organised by the Bureau of Women's Affairs and the College of The Bahamas, the four-day event will feature panelists from institutions in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Panel discussions engaged the following themes: Gender Equality in The Bahamas; Envisioning the Future: Tools for Transformations; and Gender Transformation: Moving Beyond Boundaries. Mr Maynard added: "People made sacrifices, people did without, people took chances with their lives. I was shot at trying to make things better for you all before you were born. "I'm not asking you to feel indebted to me for it, you should be indebted to yourself to do the best you can."


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