More of us than them?

EDITOR, The Tribune. THE STATEMENT, there is more of us than them seems to be taking deep roots in the psychic of a number of persons within the Bahamian society. This statement was reportedly made at a gathering on Fort Charlotte, where a loud crowd of our Creole speaking brothers and sisters were in attendance. The influential Bahamian speaker got up and made the remark, to the consternation of the Bahamians who heard it and are still puzzled to this very day as what it meant. Amidst the untimely remarks made by Haitian President Michel Martelly, during his recent unannounced (to the Bahamian public) visit to New Providence, confusion reigned as to the implications of his message to the crowd at Joe Farrington Auditorium. From the many flags that were waving it was evident, all were of the nation of Haiti; not a single one was raised in honour of The Bahamas. It is obvious that many present were persons who were granted citizenship, according to the message delivered to them on that occasion. The apparent lack of allegiance to The Bahamas should not surprise any of us. It is due in part to the process or lack thereof, in how we in this country grant citizenship. The process should be a transparent one with clear and deliberate instructions to be undertaken by the applicant. They should know and be able to answer some basic historical facts about the country and they should be able to a certain degree speak some basic (at least conversational) English. There are a number of persons who owe no allegiance to this country and today or tomorrow the economy changes for the worst or they get an opportunity to go to the United States and that is where their being Bahamian status will come to a sudden halt. Many of the talk show hosts were inundated with calls from persons questioning and expressing very passionately, what rights the president of Haiti had in making the remarks which he made. These questions and comments went on for approximately a full week. One female caller in particular with a Creole sounding accent called one of the radio hosts and said that she did not see anything wrong with what the president had said, because it is more of us than it is of you all. That is the second time within a short period of time such remarks were made. It causes one to wonder, just how widespread is this trend of thinking in the country. With this entire episode what really ticked a lot of Bahamians off was the seemingly sneaky and mysterious way the president came into the country. In the past many leaders of other countries came to The Bahamas as private citizens, in most instances they came and left without any fanfare, most Bahamians never even knew that they were in the country. On the other hand whenever they are making state visits it would usually be broadcast for all and sundry to know. Personally the first time I heard about his coming I was at the traffic light at the junction of Wulff Road and East Street. A long-time Haitian resident was pushing an old shopping cart and he paused by my car window and made the comment: "Bahamians really want to know how many Haitians are in the Bahamas?" You just wait until the president comes from Haiti. I drove off pondering whether I had missed the news of an upcoming visit by the Haitian President. A few days later I learnt that I was not alone, but the majority of the Bahamian populous was also unaware of the visit. Lest we forget, it was about 25 to 30 years now since most Bahamian couples generally, and women in particular, started conscientiously practising family planning. On the other hand, the Haitian women have been having multiple births in comparison to the Bahamian women. It has long been speculated that this strategy is a diabolical plot to over-populate the country with their offspring. What would be of interest is the number of births to Haitian vs Bahamian women for the past five years. We would like to see the actual numbers, not the ratio. It may be advisable for the remainder of The Bahamas, inclusive of New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Exuma to implement some, if not all, of the strategies currently practised by Long Islanders. The statement it is more of us than it is of them cannot and should not now or in the immediately foreseeable future be taken lightly. Wake up Bahamians before they make it mandatory for you to speak Creole to obtain certain jobs and other positions in The Bahamas. Thank you for graciously allowing me to share my thought with the country at large. MICHAEL E TURNER Nassau, February 20, 2012.


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