THOSE who want to see a more peaceful and fair world must take up the mantle of Nelson Mandela and demand universal liberty and justice, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis told the House of Assembly yesterday.
Paying his respects to the memory of Mr Mandela and supporting a government resolution expressing thanks for the his life, Mr Davis noted that at a 2008 concert in London celebrating his 90th birthday, the South African leader told the audience, “It’s in your hands now”.
Mr Davis said: “Truly it is in our hands now – to take that beacon of change and ignite the flames of liberty and justice for all citizens, all over the world.
“It’s in our hands now to seek peaceful resolutions in Syria, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. And in East African nations like Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda, and in Central Africa, in countries including Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda.
“It’s in our hands now to eradicate poverty, hunger and famine all around the world.
“It’s in our hands now to encourage a society that eradicates diseases, forever expanding healthcare to reduce people’s suffering.”
Mr Davis added that Mr Mandela would tell Bahamians “it is in our hands now to fight against white domination and black domination; to shape our country with freedom and justice for all, regardless of skin colour”.
Mr Davis said he was honoured to join the House in paying special tribute to the life of a man he called “a great global icon, a symbol of freedom, a giant of liberty and justice throughout the world and a voice that powerfully called for the creation of opportunity for all”.
The Deputy Prime Minister also noted the role played by the Bahamas in bringing an end to the racist system of Apartheid and securing the release of Mr Mandela from Prison.
On October 20 1985, Commonwealth leaders from around the world gathered in the Bahamas to sign the Nassau Accord, which marked a revolutionary shift in policy by Great Britain, which joined the other leaders is opposing Apartheid and calling for sanctions against the South African government.
This accord, Mr Davis said, “broke the back” of Apartheid and ushered in the country’s first democratic election, which Mr Mandela won.
He said the Nassau Accord proved that “no nation is too small to effect change in the world and no people are too few to demand the right to be heard.”