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Crisis Centre Speaks Out Over Lack Of Rebuke For Miller

BEC Chairman Leslie Miller

BEC Chairman Leslie Miller

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Crisis Centre yesterday criticised parliamentarians for making “a mockery of domestic violence” following comments by Leslie Miller in the House of Assembly.

In the absence of a unanimous rebuke from MPs of Mr Miller’s remarks in which he suggested he beat his girlfriend – comments he later said were in jest – the crisis centre charged that MPs have reaffirmed harmful abuse strereotypes.

The statement said: “The Bahamas Crisis Centre finds it very disturbing that members of parliament collectively made a mockery of domestic violence in the House of Assembly. Comments made by the Member of Parliament Leslie Miller about domestic violence were in very poor taste, and so were the actions of those members of parliament who found the comments amusing.

“The actions of our leaders only served to reaffirm the dysfunctional thinking that women like abuse and like to be beaten. The fact that women sometimes stay in abusive relationships depends on a range of factors, including: fear, financial dependence, lack of self-worth, shame, traditional thinking, lack of support resources, and societal apathy. Added to this, the abuser often minimises the abuse to further confuse the victim.

“Research shows that women often leave and return to abusive relationships seven times before they leave for good. There is nothing funny about domestic violence and we as a society must create a supportive environment for women as they wade through the various issues that keep them trapped.”

Mr Miller, MP for Tall Pines, came under fire this week following the publication of his comments in the House of Assembly in a local daily.

At the time of his comments on February 20, Mr Miller said he was criticising the FNM for what he described as them not looking out for the best interests of fishermen while they were in government. He said he likened the previous Ingraham administration’s relationship with fishermen to a woman being abused.

He said: “That’s like beating your wife or your girlfriend every time you go home. You just beat her for looking at her. I love you. Boom, boom, boom. I had a girlfriend like that. When I didn’t beat her she used to tell me I ain’t love her no more cause I don’t hit her.

“But seriously I had one like that. I had one. She used to tell me...”

At that moment, House Speaker Dr Kendal Major interjected stating: “We know that you are joking with that.”

However, Mr Miller continued: “No I serious with that. I tell her I get tired man. My hands hurting a little bit, give me a break.

“I am telling you the truth. One thing I don’t do is lie.”

On Wednesday, however, he insisted that he had “never abused a woman in my entire life” and that his comments were spoken in “jest”.

The Crisis Centre statement called for a greater response to domestic violence as a community. It continued: “As a community, we need to be sensitized and educated about the dynamics of domestic abuse. It is our collective responsibility.

“Members of Parliament should have been unanimous in their rebuke. We need to empower women to reclaim their sense of personal power rather than blaming and ridiculing them. As a community we need to stand together on this matter.

“The actions of the members of parliament who found the comments humorous contradicts the government’s message that domestic violence is taken seriously in our country, we need a public commitment that they will lead by example and address the serious matter of domestic violence in a systematic and expeditious manner. This is of paramount importance.”

Yesterday, Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin maintained that the government did not condone violence against women in any form.

“Hundreds of women in The Bahamas,” said Mrs Griffin, “face situations that cause serious distress, pain and frustrations to them and their children and households, generally. Since returning to office in May 2012, I have actively participated in many international and local meetings and conferences addressing the issue of violence against women and girls.

“Through the Bureau of Women’s Affairs, the Gender-Based Violence Task Force and partnerships with various governmental and non-governmental organizations, my Ministry continues to highlight this serious scourge in our communities providing public education and services. By mid-June, through the work of the Gender-based Violence Task Force and the results of a study being funded by UNWomen, we hope to have a strategic plan to strengthen the coordination of the various agencies that provide services to both victims and perpetrators and eventually to eradicate this ugly menace from our shores.”

Mrs Griffin added: “We must not be distracted and we must continue to work together to make our families strong, safe and free from all forms of violence.”

Comments

Thinker 4 years, 3 months ago

If they didn't condone it, why did they laugh? Bullies in the playground, that's why. It shows that they are all playing a game with the citizens' money and time.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 3 months ago

The minister is a joke. She never addressed Mr Miller, so her statement carries no weight. This is a farce and a scam

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ADubbs 4 years, 3 months ago

Indeed! She did not address him or what he did, or what the rest of them did, in the least. I can't believe she took two days to come up with THAT.

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stillwaters 4 years, 3 months ago

I am totally speechless at how much nonsense gets past the speaker of the house. I feel reallly, really sad about what the Bahamas is becoming!!

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Arrow 4 years, 3 months ago

I THINK! and maybe these two words represent the core of what is wrong with our society. We have become a nation of none thinking idiots who say whatever comes to our mind, the speaker of the house along with the minister should be reprimanded. Physical abuse is not a laughing matter but we have become accepting of all manner of foolishness just as sweethearting has become common practice so has lewd talking. I am truly appalled.

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully, Candia now knows how to never again conduct an interview with a know-it-all Potcake. The other daily's Comrade Sister Candia is probably the one journalists on the local scene I admire for her cut-to- the-chase (no time your bull Sh@# interviews but not for the way while doing her interview for radio, she all but allowed Potcake Leslie to "excuse" his way all over her. Sorry, Candia, more is expected from those most admired as a gifted journalist.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 3 months ago

I disagree with what Mr. Miller said. and I do not believe there are any women in the Bahamas who fits into that category. If there is. The woman is not well. Mr. Miller made a serious mistake and they will make him pay and pay. especially those who love the lime light.

The Nurse did tell him No. I could not see or hear what the others were doing or saying. but I am sure they did not agree with what he said , No right thinking person would . The Bible says the tongue is small .but it can cause a lot of trouble. We have all said things we should not say. but once it leaves our lips it is out there and you can not take it back.

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CitizenForDecency 4 years, 3 months ago

Leslie Miller has again PROVED why Prime Minister Christie MUST FIRE HIM from all post! He is a disgrace! So many times I am ashamed to be a woman in this country. All MP's in the House should have rebuked him. Leslie Miller ( He is too low for me to address as Mr. Miller) displays the attitude and sentiment that is representative of the members of his party, that is why they found it amusing. We the women of this country will send Leslie Miller and his party a VERY STRONG MESSAGE in the NEXT GENERAL ELECTION. There will be a heavy price to pay for their disrespect toward Bahamian women and general lack of decency. We have not forgotten Mr. Rollins vulgar behavior toward a female MP and now the PLP is preparing to "Dismiss" the voice of the Bahamian people and move ahead with the Web Shop legalization. Rest assured, we will remember and will DISMISS the PLP in the next election. They have proven (in a very short time that do not deserve our trust or respect). Make no mistake ... I am not an FNM I voted for them in the last election...NEVER AGAIN.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 3 months ago

The DNA had a candidate for every single House seat. They only got 8% of total vote and not one seat - NOT ONE !!!!!!!!! I am not saying they should have won government majority - or that they should not have - but not to even get ONE seat??????????? This shows how much Bahamians LOVE to be slapped in the face by government every single day. All they need is some KFC and a few beers every 5 years - and then let the slapping begin again.

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TalRussell 4 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how the "Pot cake-mouthed" member of the House and the Chairman, by the appointment of the PM, of BEC observed this Saturday March 8th, the annual day of celebration for International Women’s Day? I'm bett'in numbers odds, it wasn't spent at no by invite luncheon for women

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 3 months ago

The Crisis Centre should also REBUKE Government for the PITTANCE that they receive from the Treasury every year.

They should REFUSE to collect the cheque - and simply say "That amount is not worth out time to go to the bank with - we have a CRISIS on our hands at the moment. Call us back when you (Govt) also agree it is a crisis and have a sensible amount of money to put toward the solution of it".

But of course, they won't. They will accept the pittance and pretend to be doing something - and say "well at least we are doing something instead of nothing". Meanwhile the crisis gets larger every year.

Of course I can't say what the crisis is - I don't want the Christian Council hunting me down.

TheMadHatter

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ArtOvation 4 years, 3 months ago

Concerned citizens please sign the petition www.tinyurl.com/violenceisnotfunny
and join the peaceful protest at Rawson Square 9-11am, Wednesday, March 19, 2014.

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