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'Enough Is Enough' Says Leader Of We March Protest

We March Bahamas lead organiser Ranard Henfield.

We March Bahamas lead organiser Ranard Henfield.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

POINTING to the hundreds of protestors that flooded Bay Street chanting “enough is enough”, We March Bahamas lead organiser Ranard Henfield yesterday forecast that the movement was poised to “take over the government” at the election polls later this year.

Mr Henfield praised the event’s turnout, which he claimed was three times the size of the group’s Black Friday march in November, as a sign that “the people have found their voice”.

He pledged that the group was working on compiling information gathered through focus groups into “the people’s manifesto”, an election campaign tool that supporters can use to educate candidates vying for their vote.

We March intends to print and distribute 150,000 copies of the brochure at its next march, according to Mr Henfield, who said that organisers will not announce its date until they apply for Cabinet approval next week.

“I think it’s three times the numbers we had on Black Friday,” he said. “I was expecting the numbers to triple and we saw that today. It shows you that the movement is growing, more people are prepared to stand up, more people are prepared to offer solutions and not cower to an administration that is trying to shut us down or muzzle us.

“The people have found their voice, and they want to be heard and we want to register, we want to vote, and we’re going to take over the government.”

Notwithstanding setbacks that included a date change, and Cabinet’s

denial of their request to occupy Rawson Square, the group’s second protest on the historic Majority Rule holiday attracted moe than 1,000 supporters, who marched with passion from the Western Esplanade to Pompey Square calling for immediate relief to a myriad of social and economic issues, and decrying a lack of transparency and accountability in governance. The march got underway shortly after 10am and an estimate was provided by a police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because officers are now discouraged from giving such estimations.

Chaos

While organisers stressed that the event would be staged with decency and order, the march momentarily descended into chaos shortly before noon as calls grew for protestors to push on to Rawson Square rather than file into Pompey Square. Several persons moved through the crowds encouraging marchers to be defiant in response to the government’s denial of their request to occupy Rawson Square as they had done at the Black Friday march, pointing out that the space was not being used at the time.

Pastor C B Moss said: “Their permit is for Pompey Square but the size of the square is such that Pompey Square is inadequate, and as Rawson Square is free and available then the people should (go). I suggest that the people go to Rawson Square where they can be properly accommodated.

“I take the position that in April 1965, that they call Black Tuesday, I was on Bay Street just like this. The police at that time told us we couldn’t be there, to move, but we didn’t move, and that’s why we’re here today. We shouldn’t move, no, we should go to Rawson Square.”

Incensed by this sentiment, some 300 protestors ignored the calls of organisers to abide by the permit, and marched past onlooking police officers repeatedly shouting “Rawson Square”, “the power of the people is greater than the people in power” and “oh they scared, they scared”.

Among protestors in that breakaway group was Free National Movement Leader Hubert Minnis, and several of his party’s candidates.

“They march for a future and they want to be heard,” Dr Minnis said.

“This is the people’s time the people will be heard. What the people are showing and telling the government is they are tired of things being thrown down their throat. They are tired of secrecy they want complete transparency and they want to know what’s going on in their country.”

The break away group assembled at Rawson Square for about 15 minutes as protestors struggled to determine whether organisers were following them or remained at Pompey Square.

However, the crowd dissipated once organisers took the stage in Pompey Square.

“When we arrived at Pompey Square, someone suggested that we continue on to Rawson,” Mr Henfield explained. “I said no we have to do things in decency and order, so I went to the (police) inspector and I said we have permission to come to Pompey Square could we walk down to Rawson and make the block and come back, but he said no we can’t.

“So I told them no we can’t,” he said, “we can’t expect an administration to be accountable, to follow the law, if we’re not going to follow the law. John (Bostwick II) and I agreed, we can’t be breaking the law, you can’t be asking for the government to be law-abiding and accountable, because the crowd is angry.”

Future

Once at Pompey Square, protestors settled in for a series of speeches from civil society, community activists to concerned citizens, and beloved music icon Ronnie Butler. The platform also featured leading activist groups like ReEarth, the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association, and Citizens for a Better Bahamas.

“This is serious business,” Mr Butler told the crowd. “Ain’t nothing jokey about this, I went down Burma Road 50 years ago, I’m going back again. I going back for all my Bahamian people.

“I am here really and truly on this day, the holiday, whatever day it is don’t mean much to me right now, when I know there are so many people in this country suffering. It don’t mean much to me right now when those who have [a lot] of money and they wouldn’t give a dime to help all these poor people.

“They are all for themselves,” Mr Butler said, “but I’m not going to take much of your time. Let me just say this, monkey was working in a machine shop and he skipping and skipping around in this machine shop, and he’s happy because he has everything in the world he want. “One day he stuck his tail in the machine and look around and say ain’t long now. So I say to you, how long?” Mr Butler asked the crowd.

The crowd replied: “Ain’t long now.”

Striking a more sombre tone, mother Sonia Kemp made an impassioned call for community action to combat crime. Ms Kemp spoke of the immense grief suffered by herself and her family after her 19-year-old son Shaquille, a promising Bahamas Academy student with three scholarships lined up, was killed by a stray bullet in 2014.

“I marched for a better future for my two small children,” said a 34-year-old protestor.

A 40-year-old protestor said: “I’m marching for my children too, but not just my children, my children’s children. I’m marching for the country to change, nothing is fair in this country. I want equality in this country and I want things to be fair. I don’t want the government to think they can run this country any way they want to do it, without consequences.

“And I need some people to be arrested,” the protestor continued, “this is the only place in the world where you don’t get arrested for white collar crime. The crimes that we have in this country, people need to get arrested, and until that happens I will continue to march.”

The group’s manifesto will address five pillars: social, political, economic, and labour reform and better management of natural resources and the environment, according to Mr Henfield, adding that it would also feature Family Island and youth perspectives.

“The end game isn’t to march,” Mr Henfield told protestors, “the end game is to put forth the people’s manifesto and by that you are able to say to any candidate this is what is in the best interest of the people, the best interest of the majority, not in the best interest of whoever owns Baha Mar.

“I’ve had persons say We March is anti-PLP I can assure you today that plenty people that are a part of We March are PLP, FNM, DNA, Baptist, Catholic, Anglican, rich, black, white, poor. You know what we have in common, we are Bahamians.

“Every administration wants power,” he continued, “me and you don’t care about power, we want to do more than survive we want to do more than pay our bills and cry.

“We want to have savings, we want to have something to leave for our children, we want to enjoy life.”

He continued: “We have to stand, we have to advocate, we have to keep pushing, but you have to register. It makes no sense if you march if you don’t get informed, you have to be informed.”

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The March was FNM"s dressed in BLACK.. Where was Henfield for the past four years? and why when it is so close to the election time does he come forward with all of these marches and promises to take over the Government? , Take note of who were on the Marches Joe Darville.Doc; Minnis and a relative of the man who was convicted of having bullets. They were there front and center. Along with those GANG Members Henfield mentioned.

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HarryWyckoff 2 months, 2 weeks ago

The march was PEOPLE, not PARTIES.

Just because you are of the old-school, bigoted, slavemaster mentality that cannot see past party colours, does not mean the rest of the nation is as dumb as you.

This is about the Bahamas, and there are two generations of voters out there sick and tired of the old guard and their Red/Yellow mentality destroying this nation with incompetence, corruption and sheer greed.

You and your kind are a dying breed, and sorry, but I hope you die out sooner rather than later.

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lkalikl 2 months, 2 weeks ago

birdiestrachan is a Chinese owned, piece of dog nanny, PLP stalwart, paid to post here. Fook birdiestrachan and fook the PLP!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And the same is true of Birdie's alter ego TalRussell.

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justthefactsplease 2 months, 2 weeks ago

@ birdiestrachan...YOU PIECE OF S#!T...I VOTED PLP THE ONLY TIME I EVER VOTED IN THIS COUNTRY. SO DON'T LABEL ME AS NO F..ING FNM. I AM A PISSED OFF BAHAMIAN!!!!!

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Cobalt 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It was really comical to see John Bostwick of all people on the news, dressed in black and marching. This country is one big joke. Is this man serious? He's a disgraced, ex-senator whose very presence is a black eye to the FNM government. He should actually be in jail right now but mommy and daddy saved him. Why the hell is he, Hubert Minnis, and other political figures attempting to piggyback on the We March movement anyway??? Do they not realize that the entire organization was established to protest against politicians like themselves?????

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Cobalt 2 months, 2 weeks ago

When Hubert Minnie was serving as minister of health under Hubert Ingraham and the FNM, he never once displayed any interest in serving in solidarity with the Bahamian people. Now all of a sudden we're expected to believe that he has the interest of Bahamian people at heart??? What a joke. No politician should be taking part in these marches. Each march is a defiant protest against a political system that has used greed, dishonesty, corruption, and selfishness to ushered in the destruction, poverty, and economic ruin of our country. In less than fifty years we've allowed politicians to destroy our country.

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OMG 2 months, 2 weeks ago

A breath of fresh air as someone isn't blaming the white man for all the ills of this nation.

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DDK 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Do you folks not realize that the people marched and will keep on marching and demanding change from a corrupt and greedy government which does not care about the people of OUR Bahamas, ANY corrupt and greedy government which does not care about the people of OUR Bahamas?

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PastorTroy 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you HarryWyckoff, I have nothing else to add to your comment. Bravo!

DumbJackAsses

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lkalikl 2 months, 2 weeks ago

What is clear is that Henfield has more respect for the laws of the Bahamas than Doc Minnis. Remember that Bahamas. Minnis wanted a confrontation, because he still doesn't understand the value of the march itself. Minnis is a PLP, never forget that Bahamas. He and the PLP have to go, they are all the same. It should anger all Bahamians that Minnis has repeatedly shown a willingness to go against the laws of the land to rally support to his cause. He did it during the PI beach access protest as well. Given his position, he should know better. It is incredible that young Henfield showed responsibility and understanding and a man who is a member of Parliament and, up until recently, was leader of the Opposition, did not. It speaks volumes about Henfield's character and Minnis lack of it. The laws and the police are not the enemy of the people, they are the servants of the people. The PLP has become the enemy of the people, that much is clear. The PLP has gone full circle, from liberator to oppressor. It is time for change and time for something new. A new idea of Bahamian freedom was born on January 10th, 2017, one not rooted in race or racial opposition but in universal equality and justice for all Bahamians. Bahamian Independence 2.0 started on January 10th 2017. The new Majority Rule day saw the new majority come for their country and retire the dinosaurs that make up the corrupt, Chinese owned PLP. Fook the PLP and fook all PLPs, that organization is the enemy of Bahamian liberty and progress in the 21st century. They may have advanced it in the 20th, but they are its greatest obstruction in the 21st.

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licks2 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I wonder if you think doc was involved in the Russians hacking into the US election process too? Lol! Assembling in a public place by Bahamian citizens. . .is a constitutional guarantee to all Bahamians. . . you must decide what it is you want. . .a better Bahamas or snipping doc Minnis every chance you get. . .even when there is not a real target/issue. . .you conveniently make up one. . .like this post. . .pure personal gripe it appears!!

The people are now awake. . . they don't need you, I or any other person mixing it up with politics. . .the FNM, DNA and UPM all hitched they wagons to the flood moved forward by them young heroes. . .the PLP cannot because they have become the problem. . .long live the people movement. . .for good governance for all!

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TalRussell 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades what is there about what Ranard has said over his last two protests that you still don't get what some us see as being his true political intentions.... Oh, I thinks I got's it...Likes how he was going step back before the January 9 or 10 protest as its protest leader, so others can step up?

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licks2 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Tal me thinks you is reading way too much into this march group! Mayhaps heem just fed up and tired of the PLP nonsense way of government. . .like the great rest of us persons in this country!

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goodbyebahamas 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Birdie is pure evidence of how the PLP have brain washed him. A D grade student that can be conned into buying the Brooklyn Bridge for one hundred dollars at will. Don't $hit on Birdie, enough is enough, don't you think 40 years of the PLP $hitting on him is enough? He's not educated enough to realize his own political group is shoving it up his a$$ 24/7.

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lkalikl 2 months, 2 weeks ago

licks2 and birdiestrachan are the same thing. Party over country. Christie and Minnis are the same thing as that, party over country. Fook all PLPs, the old and the new. PLP and PLP Lite, same garbage.

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licks2 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And your hate for one person cloud your ability to think. . .reason. . .or be honest. . .so pray tell, how you get any better than me or birdie!!! At least birdie speaks with a "loosed" form of jiving that we can see that we are getting a "line". . .so most of us can laugh at him/her. . .but you seem so "blinded and morose" your hate and refusal to think, reason or acknowledge any opinion other than yours is spooky! I prefer to be like birdie and tal put together any day. . . you "wined" too tight to be of much use to country or party right up in now. . .nor this site! This politics thing een all that serious there fella/fellas.

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jackbnimble 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Does anyone see the government quaking in it's boots over this WeMarch nonsense? It didn't quake over the last march and isn't quaking over this one.

Frankly, unless a political party emerges from this group that could seriously contest the next elections and actually give the voters a REAL choice, marching will accomplish nothing and I seriously doubt that Henfield is prepared to take it to the next level. #hotaironsteroids

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justthefactsplease 2 months, 2 weeks ago

You must be blind not to see how much the government is actually scared of this "Nonsense" Movement. If they were not scared they would not have rushed to organized a competing march after they changed the holiday. Also, why do you think the Prime Minister called a press conference yesterday to tell Bahamians why they should give the PLP another chance??...It is because they ARE running scared. Watch and you will see a series of new repressive moves from the government in the near future to show exactly how scared they are.

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DDK 2 months, 2 weeks ago

We March Bahamas is NOT nonsense. It is a necessary display of fedupness! Keep marching Bahamas!

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