By NICOLE BURROWS
We have many people competing for the title of biggest dodo in Bahamian politics and government - in last week’s news alone.
The biggest non-surprise: Wayne Munroe has gone to the party where he should have been all along. We all know that he fits right in there, too. His decision to join the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is in keeping with his misogynistic thinking which is such a significant part of the PLP psyche, although they would have you believe otherwise. After all, this is the party that formed the government that constructed the laws of citizenship which, in spite of the equal and human rights conventions The Bahamas has signed its agreement to, still leave the married Bahamian mother of a child and the unmarried Bahamian father of a child out in the cold.
After three failed attempts to bring forth a referendum to address these inequalities in our constitution, still the Bahamian woman married to a foreign man who gives birth outside The Bahamas can’t pass her citizenship to her child at birth, nor can the single Bahamian man who creates a child with a non-Bahamian woman.
After these attempts, I’m guessing the present PLP government will say “at least we tried. We tried, you see, but our people aren’t ready”. But the same people they refer to are the people in whom they’ve inculcated the doctrine that a woman’s place is beside her man ... second to the man ... the ‘help meet’. This thinking is the foundation of misogyny.
Moreover, the Bahamian woman’s inability to pass on her citizenship is her punishment for not marrying a Bahamian man. And the Bahamian man’s punishment is not being able to pass on his citizenship because he shouldn’t ever make babies without being married, let alone with a foreigner. And it goes a little deeper, I believe, for the married Bahamian man who has ‘outside’ children, so those children, because of their ‘subordinate to in-marriage procreation’ status, can’t lay claim to anything that is the Bahamian father’s, beginning with his nationality.
This PLP thinking, of which Munroe is (officially) now a part, made it more acceptable to disadvantage the child altogether, than to be fair and equal.
Munroe fits right in with the way of thinking that created those citizenship restrictions in the first place. He believes that no change to the constitution is necessary to give the children of all Bahamian women explicit, immediate rights to Bahamian citizenship. According to him, “the issues of citizenship are best dealt with by regulation”. But he doesn’t elaborate on that point, because he would sooner dismiss it altogether.
He says “That has been my position and will continue to be my position ...”
In an NB12 interview in August last year, Munroe also said “Bahamian women have more rights than men.” These are rights, Munroe says, that were given to Bahamian women by Bahamian men. So, I suppose Bahamian women should be grateful for this gift?
In the same interview he goes on to say that, in some countries around the world, girls can’t even go to school. So, because our girls can go to school, we should be happy with getting that much, I suppose? How patronising.
Now imagine this man in any position of power in any government, as he purportedly aims for the post of deputy leader in the PLP. You already know he’ll be campaigning to maintain unequal rights for women. He would be in no hurry whatsoever to advance a referendum on constitutional changes to facilitate a clearly stated and transparent equality of Bahamian citizens. Because he is of the mindset that women already get enough rights, he certainly won’t be trying to add any in their favour.
In another five-plus years, the only people who will be faced with the consequences of such thinking are the ones who were born post-1973, who could be in positions of leadership and influence well beyond the expiration dates of Christie, Davis, Roberts, Munroe etc. I cannot imagine these younger generations of Bahamians being accepting of this old, anti-woman/submissive woman mentality, and, as such, I wouldn’t expect them to throw their support in the direction of Munroe, Davis or the PLP.
With respect to Davis, I can’t help but mention the attack of insanity Philip Galanis had last week. Galanis says it is time for “decisive action” and “new leadership” and, therefore, he would support Philip Davis as leader of the PLP. He says, “I think he [Davis] has been a person who has delivered on promises he has made, and I know first hand that he has done so.”
Well, I and many others aren’t too sure about this. The word on almost any street in Nassau it seems begins like: “Dat Brave Davis ..!”
And anything that begins like that in Bahamian dialect is not good. I have heard too many people talk about how Davis has not fulfilled his ‘promises’ and in many instances has gone in the completely opposite direction of a promise. For all the promises he’s fulfilled, according to those who have encountered his distinct lack of support on serious issues, there have been at least as many promises reneged on. Most Bahamians I’ve ever heard discuss him associate him with scandal and harbour contempt on the basis that he didn’t do something he was supposed to, or did something he was not supposed to, or did nothing at all.
So I’m not sure where Galanis is getting his information from - one can only assume it is personal. But he goes on further:
“Maybe it is time for us to have a new, fresh injection of ideas and a different vision of the way forward, with a person who is going to be able to put together a team that works as a team ... right now this government does not work as a team ... there is no accountability.”
How does one get new ideas from an old head?
Davis is already the Deputy Prime Minister. If there was ever a position from which he could provide new ideas and foster accountability it should be that of the second in command, should it not? Should we believe that the decisions taken by the Christie government to date carry none of Davis’ influence?
As much as we’d like to give reason to Christie’s missteps, I wouldn’t believe for a moment that he took them on decisions he made alone.
So Galanis would have us believe that there is some novelty and freshness to Davis? How can Davis, the current deputy leader of the current PLP team, provide any leadership different than what he already provides? Davis ... the same man who mystified us with arrogant ignorance when a reporter asked him in June about his desire to be leader of the PLP, and Prime Minister?
Reporter to Davis: “And what do you think you’ll bring to the table?”
Could there have been a bigger bull* answer? That is the calibre of man, of person, who sits in the position of DPM of our country, hoping to move to the top position of leadership and governance on behalf of all of us? What kind of a sick joke is that? How sadistic is Galanis to want to inflict that on his fellow Bahamians?
Not to mention, is Galanis really someone who we want to take a lead from, when just last week he almost climbed foot first down the gullet of the co-host on a popular radio talk show because someone called him to tell him that the co-host said something about him? Instead of calling the show and asking the man what exactly it was that he said and then addressing it like a sensible, grown-up person, he took the second-hand news and verbally attacked the man on live radio and then hung up the phone like a big baby. These, my dear people, are our ‘leaders’.
Now, as an aside, I have to add that, after observing almost every one of our local journalists laughing and joking and cutting up with these politicians when they interview them (and it’s not just the women), it’s painfully obvious that the politicians don’t take the reporters seriously. They eat them alive. And then they throw them up, and eat them again. And who can blame them, if the reporters don’t take themselves, or their roles, anywhere near as seriously as they should?
The only time you see this kind of loose interaction between interviewer and interviewee in other world news, for example, in American and British politics, or anywhere there is a modicum of responsibility or accountability to the electorate, is when there is a photo opp with a baby or a visit to college students. And even the latter group holds ‘leaders’ and influencers to greater account.
From reporters/journalists to party and government leaders, we need serious people going about serious business in serious ways, if we ever hope to turn The Bahamas off of its fatal flight plan.
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