By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
ACTIVIST Ternielle Burrows yesterday questioned why Official Opposition Leader Loretta Butler-Turner, who campaigned for women’s rights, would appoint two men to the Senate who “are opposed to everything she believes in”.
In an interview with The Tribune, the independent candidate for Elizabeth said she did not understand why Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney and controversial radio talk show host Rodney Moncur were chosen to be senators when both men have actively campaigned against women’s rights.
Ms Burrows questioned whether the Long Island MP changed her views on gender equality.
Mrs Butler Turner was an advocate for the vote ‘yes’ campaign ahead of the gender equality referendum. In 2009, when she was minister of state for social development in the Ingraham administration, she tabled a bill that would have made marital rape a crime. That bill was shelved after pushback from the community. Mr Moncur and Mr McCartney did not support the legislation.
Mr Moncur called for all Bahamians to vote “no” in the June referendum in order to “save women” from themselves and to “stop foreign men from having the same rights as Bahamian men.” He called the process “witchcraft”.
Meanwhile, Mr McCartney also voted “no” to the all four of the referendum questions.
Both men received their letters of appointment to the Senate yesterday.
“I am concerned with the appointments, not just Senator Moncur but also Senator McCartney,” Ms Burrows said. “Both men held a standpoint that seemed to oppose Mrs Butler-Turner. That is where I am confused. Has her position changed or what progress did she have in mind when choosing the people she did when she understands their stances related to gender equality and marital rape? While Mr Moncur is more outlandish and Mr McCartney is more easy on the eyes and palatable, I do not disassociate them. I cannot separate the two or say one appointment is less valid than the other.”
Ms Burrows questioned whether the move was “an act to shut the Free National Movement (FNM) down.”
Mrs Butler-Turner was appointed Official Opposition leader after she and six other FNM MPs wrote a letter of no confidence in party Leader Dr Hubert Minnis to the governor general, asking for his removal. Dr Minnis remains leader of the FNM.
In a statement while announcing the Senate appointments, Mrs Butler Turner said: “The choices for the Senate reflect a recognition of the need to collaborate, find common ground, and in particular, give voice to the difficulties and hardships experienced by every part of society, especially the most vulnerable individuals and groups in our country.
“There is strength in diversity, and it is a testament to their love of country that these Senate appointees agreed to collaborate in the interest of a common goal, namely rescuing the Bahamas from the quagmire of corruption and incompetence of the PLP.”
Senator Monique Gomez and political newcomer Jude Knowles have also been appointed to the opposition’s Senate bench.