By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis on Monday slammed members of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for misrepresenting the concept of Majority Rule, contending that the party had politicised the historic value of the celebration intentionally.
In his contribution to Parliament ahead of Tuesday's celebration of the 50th anniversary of Majority Rule, the Killarney MP insisted that the accomplishment was not one “of any one political party” nor of “any one group of people,” as he asserted that the movement which led to the achievement, crossed “boundaries of party and class, race and gender, and any other circumstances of birth.”
He also urged Bahamians to take part in Tuesday’s protest organised by activist group We March Bahamas.
Dr Minnis said scores of Bahamians with no affiliation to the PLP played vital roles in the build up to and success of the Majority Rule movement, in addition to those that contributed under the banner of the PLP but then shifted political allegiances.
"I wish to remind us all that Majority Rule is not an accomplishment of any one political party or any one group of people," Dr Minnis said on Monday.
“I am pleased to say that all eight founders of the Free National Movement were among those who were elected on that historic day in 1967.
“I say this not to boast, but to make clear that Majority Rule is not about any single political party. It was about the people. Majority Rule is an accomplishment for us as a people committed to the principles of equality and freedom. It made us all a better people; black and white, rich and poor, male and female. It helped to make us one people, united in love and service.”
Dr Minnis, who was 12-years-old the year Majority Rule was realised, implored all Bahamians alive at the time of the event to do their part to make known the "reality" of the historic time.
As 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the accomplishment, the government has made a focused effort to commemorate the occasion.
We March Bahamas seeks to use the occasion to highlight plight of modern day Bahamians.
On Sunday, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts referred to We March Bahamas as a “rebel group” and called lead organiser Ranard Henfield “a confused boy”.
Mr Roberts accused the group of attempting to overshadow the day.
However, Dr Minnis in defence of the We March movement, said the group had been forced into an opposing lane by the PLP and its supporters over the use and value of the occasion.
Dr Minnis told the House on Monday that he has instructed all “loving, caring” Bahamians and FNMs to support the movement because it represented the present day issues of the Bahamas.
In a subsequent interview with The Tribune, Dr Minnis said the PLP had already rallied its base to perceive Majority Rule as an “us against them” activity.
He told this daily that the government has done everything it could to ensure that its supporters know that as a PLP, their interest are best served marching along side the government instead of We March Bahamas.
Dr Minnis said: "The PLPs have been instructed to assemble at Windsor Park, we know that is the home base of the PLP. Only thing they have not done is ask them to assemble in yellow, but they have asked PLP members to assemble there.
“That is not the whole idea of Majority Rule, Majority Rule is for one Bahamas - black, white; rich, poor; no separation, no discrimination.
“The fight then was that the people wanted a change. The fight today is the same thing - the people asking for their voices to be heard. So we have made a complete circle. The people were asking then for their voices to be heard, the people today, as they march, are asking the same thing.”
He added: "We want our voices to heard, we want a Freedom of Information Act, we want transparency, that was they cry then and it is the cry again today. And that is why our message is so important when we say it's the people's time, it's truly the people's time."
We March Bahamas plans to march from the Clifford Park/Western Esplanade areas along Bay Street to Pompey Square at 10am.
Meanwhile, the governing party will march at 7am from Windsor Park ending at the Southern Recreation Grounds on Market Street, as part of a day of celebrations.