By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
TEN rights activist groups have denounced reports of trash talk against Progressive Liberal Party leadership candidate and Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin.
According to tabloid reports, a Progressive Liberal Party stalwart councillor at a recent leadership candidacy event said Mrs Hanna-Martin needed to know her place was in the kitchen, suggesting limitations on women’s political participation.
The group statement underscored the political organisation had yet to deny the claim or denounce the alleged statement, adding the party needed to act in accordance with the values they espouse.
Rise Bahamas Founder Terneille Burrows said, “We are not going to stand for anyone demeaning another person on the basis of them being a woman, or man for that matter. Until we have prominent people that are willing to denounce such behaviour, the dehumanisation will continue.”
“The interests of our wider society are undermined when we allow prominent people and institutions to remain silent in the face of discrimination.
“Bahamians are no longer going to tolerate being manipulated by political machinery,” Ms Burrows added.
Marion Bethel, Committee Member on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), called for a shift in Bahamian culture.
“Misogyny, the hatred of women, runs deep within our Bahamian culture,” she said.
“Until we, both women and men, begin to understand and resist this hatred, we will all continue to live crippled and diminished lives, and so will our children, their children and their children’s children.”
Equality Bahamas Director Alicia Wallace noted the link between dismissive comments about individual women and prevailing attitudes toward the work and value of women.
“The casual manner with which people demean and diminish the work, contributions, and lives of women is a symptom of a patriarchal, misogynistic ideology that pervades family life, workplace culture, political strata, and national affairs,” she said.
Ms Wallace noted that while statements need to be rebuked and withdrawn, corrective action also needs to be taken. “Systemic issues must be understood and addressed so we are able to identify problematic statements like this one as more than words, but as rampant, entrenched misogyny in practice.
“This is indicative of the need for gender mainstreaming to happen in tandem with public dialogue.”
“The persistent and intentional undervaluing of women’s contributions to society — including household management, commitments to religious institutions, economic participation, and the exercise of civic responsibility — continues to affect views of gender and serves as a barrier to entry in male-dominated industries and spaces.
Donna Nicolls, deputy director of the Bahamas Crisis Centre and director of Bahamas Women’s Watch, along with women’s rights activist Noelle Nicolls, agreed that consideration of our own biases and how they affect the daily lives of others is an important step towards shifting the thinking and practices that disadvantage women, stunting national growth. Corporate entities, political parties, educational institutions and civic organizations must act.
The PLP’s convention continues today to Wednesday.
So far interim leader Philip “Brave” Davis and Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin are the only two candidates to officially announce intentions to contest the party’s top post.
Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper will run for deputy leader and the chairmanship race now has four candidates.
These include former Elizabeth candidate Alex Storr, former Long Island candidate Glendon Rolle, former Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez, and former Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.
Yesterday, pundits gave their opinions on the path forward for the historic, embattled organization.
Dr Ian Strachan, Vice President of the University of the Bahamas’ northern campus, said: “The most dangerous way of thinking about the future of the PLP, dangerous for our country, is to draw the conclusion that in five years whoever the PLP leadership may be, they will be accepted by the voting public and rewarded with power simply because Christie is gone.
“This is dangerous not because it may be untrue; it is dangerous because it might be true. The same old players, with the same old agendas, values, methods and networks, are—predictably – trying to regroup and rebrand themselves. For our country’s sake, those with integrity in the PLP need to be prepared to fight to the death for the soul of the party. In the end, perhaps only a second defeat in 2022 will re-centre the organization.”
Activist Fred Smith, Grand Bahama Human Rights Association, said: “I encourage the PLP, as the official opposition, to regroup and rejuvenate themselves with integrity, dignity, and honesty. I did not support the Free National Movement because they were particularly smart or progressive, I supported in the last election in order to defeat the PLP. It is not good for democracy to have an Official Opposition that is so small, I will do everything in my power as a human rights activist to promote the institution of the PLP as the Official Opposition and to help them hold the government accountable.
“This FNM is a traitor to human rights and it has done worse than the PLP, and it has contradicted itself on human rights issues with the spy bill, with the non-profit regulations, with the secret intelligence agency, and with immigration and constitutional rights. I urge the PLP to stand firm and rebuild itself in order to help democracy develop in the Bahamas.
“No political party has a right to govern, they are there at the will of the people and if you mess up they will throw you out and we should continue to change governments until we have one that is responsive transparent and accountable to the people of the Bahamas.
“The PLP needs to gird its loins for the next election, demonstrate that it has the ability to govern properly, change people like Fred Mitchell within its party so that it can garner support and come back as a real effective Official Opposition to promote the development of democracy in the Bahamas.”