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‘No Hypocrisy’ In Ubp Hero Award

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

photo

Sir Roland Symonette

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis does not believe his criticism of the United Bahamian Party during his most recent majority rule address is incompatible with his decision to award Sir Roland Symonette a National Hero honour over the recommendations of his advisory committee, according to Press Secretary Anthony Newbold. 

In January, Dr Minnis hailed the historical events that culminated in the first majority rule government in 1967, lambasting the era which preceded that achievement. Critics say his statements then conflict with his recent decision to bestow the country’s highest honour on the man who led the UBP. 

During his January address, Dr Minnis said: “In the middle of the 20th century the House (of Assembly) was firmly under the control of an entrenched oligarchy, who maintained their stranglehold through unjust electoral laws and the brutal exercise of economic power. It was then that a new generation of political leaders rose up to challenge the old guard and to bring pressure on the colonial power for change.

“In the 1960s some of the worst aspects of the corrupt electoral system were changed and universal adult suffrage came to the Bahamas, with women voting for the first time in 1962.

“So it was that in 1967 the Bahamian people finally voted out the oligarchy and opened a new era of democratic government. We call that day Majority Rule Day. It is a day that should be celebrated by all Bahamians because, among other things, revolutionary but peaceful change had come to the Bahamas. A system that had to end one way or another, ended in peaceful and orderly manner, and of that all Bahamians should be proud.

“But majority rule did more than just bring an end to a patently unfair electoral system that prevented the majority of Bahamians from achieving true representation in the House of Assembly. In the words of former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes, one of those who served in the forefront of the movement for equality and social justice, ‘majority rule removed the last psychological shackles from the minds of many. It shattered false notions of superiority and inferiority; it initiated the fulfilment of the promise of universal access to education; it created the foundation upon which to build a society with opportunity for all.’”

Asked if Dr Minnis sees a contradiction between these words and his decision to give a posthumous award to Sir Roland, Mr Newbold did not attempt to reconcile Dr Minnis’ words and his recent actions, saying: “Obviously he does not think there is any contradiction in anything he has said up to this point.”

Dr Minnis and his Cabinet have not publicly rationalised its award decisions. The honours advisory committee, headed by Fort Charlotte MP Mark Humes, recommended that Sir Lynden Pindling alone be awarded the highest honour for the inaugural year of the awards. Ultimately, Dr Minnis chose to bestow the honour on Sir Milo Butler, Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield and Sir Roland. 

Asked if Dr Minnis will ever explain his thinking about the matter, Mr Newbold said: “The prime minister and his Cabinet may decide they want to do that. At this point they haven’t decided that they want to say what those discussions were like. He may well decide he wishes to do so. Up to this point, no.”

The Progressive Liberal Party believes the process that resulted in the awards has been procedurally flawed, not least because the awards  go against the recommendation of the advisory committee.

“The prime minister and his Cabinet, the government of the Bahamas, they’re the ones charged with running the country,” Mr Newbold countered.

“On any number of occasions they will ask for and receive recommendations, suggestions, advice, from any number of people, entities or organisations. They may or may not take that advice. That is totally within their purview.”

Some are concerned the awards controversy has immediately caused the National Honours system to lose value and prestige.

“The Queen’s Honours been around for decades,” Mr Newbold said in response. “People complain about that. Whatever we do, whatever any government does, will in all likelihood find some resistance from within the community. And most certainly anything any government does will find lots of resistance from the opposition. That’s what they do. They oppose. National Honours, it’s for us and as the years go on we’ll do it again next year.”

According to the National Honours Act, people eligible for a National Hero honour should have made a seminal contribution to the Bahamas which has altered the history of the Bahamas in a positive way; should have given service to the Bahamas which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attainment of the highest excellence which has rebounded to the honour of the Bahamas and which service and attainment have been acknowledged as a source of inspiration by a significant portion of the nation; and have, through their “heroic exploits and sacrifice, having gone beyond their personal and historical limitations, contributed to the improvement of the economic, spiritual and social conditions of the nation as a whole.”

Comments

TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

These days accepting any one "45 plus" jobs up in PMO can be paycheque security risky but as Press Secretary to Ma Comrade Prime Minister is part time work at best.... Ain't long now before Acee's PublicPurse paycheques does stop arriving automatically in he bank account.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

Give Minnis a couple more years and he will be recommending and approving the awarding of a National Hero honour to none other than Perry Gladstone Christie.

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

Wonder what "entrenched oligarchy" our PM was referring to?? The UBP was the ruling party between 1958 and 1967; or was he referring to the land which bestows knighthoods on 'worthy' Bahamian politicians? (The PLP governed for 30 years, from 1967 to 1992, you don't get much more entrenched that that!)

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

My bad, 1962 not 1958! Thank you licks2!

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TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

Ma Comrades, maybe the real story the PM needs tell is the one where he's "calling timeout on capitalism" is right medicine prescribe move forward in the best economic interests of the many.... sure hasn't reached out the many throughout colony out islands so well over past 58 years period.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

So when will Craig Flowers and Sebas Bastian be recognized and be receiving their awards. Asking for a friend who been buying numbers from they were coded ‘washer and dryer tokens.’ No not you D’Aguilar.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

As even the lowly dimwitted Doc knows, there can be only one King Sebas and one Prince Craig! Can you imagine poor lowly Minnis having to pay homage to these two thugs?

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CaptainCoon 1 year, 2 months ago

Craig Flowers has been in the crooked business longer than Sebas and has far deeper pockets as well. It should be King Craig and Prince Sebas. Two crooks of the crooked kingdom.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes, but King Sebas has been the far aggressive and enterprising criminal thug of late. Prince Craig is just sitting back and hoping King Sebas manages to get himself bit where it hurts most by that darling white haired constantly yapping little poodle.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

So can one also argue that "Crooked" Sir Roland passed his crooked dealings down through generations and has even deeper pockets? Because he was able to clean up his money w/o heave taxation?

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licks2 1 year, 2 months ago

The only thing I saw with the statement by Ace or the PM is that Bahamas got woman suffrage in 1952 not 1962. . . the UBP became government in 1964. . .not 1958 and just became a party in 1954 or 5. . .a few years after the PLP became an official party in 1953!! The PLP rich businessmen were antagonistic toward the Home Office. . .our government at the time. Keep in mind that at that time the rich blacks had their children in the mother land studying law etc.
The UBP became government in 1964 when the Home Office granted local government. . .the UBP became the government in 64 and ruled for 3 years before it was beaten in election by the PLP in 1967! The UBP was a part of an oligarchy that was the Home Office as government, the PLP and UBP elites holding economic power. . .the UBP whites having more economic power that the elite blacks. The oligarchy that held down the poor whites and blacks was the Home Office, rich whites and the rich blacks!! Check it out. . .the original PLP was a cluster of white and black business men. . .so was the original UBP. . .rich white and black business owners. . .the revolution was always among them. . .who will get the biggest piece of the pie. . .the UBP had it for three years and the PLP took it from them in 1967 and held it for 25 years. . .turning their advantage into a criminal enterprise where all was for me baby. . .

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

..........and that is not fake news!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 2 months ago

How does any of that qualify Sir Rolsnd. I'm honestly waiting for someone to tell me what he did to positively change the direction of the Bahamas in a profound way. I don't support the victimization, bribery, drug dealing and extortion that ran rampant in the .pindling era, but I can see the case that could be made for a young Pindling, but not alone, he didn't change the country alone. I have yet to see the case for Sir Roland other than he was nice. While he may deserve recognition because he was a prominent figure, that's not grounds for a "hero" designation.

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TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

Ma Comrades, the UBP A..K.A. Bay Street Oligarchy Boys, actually became the ruling party in 1958 and ruled over colony out islands up until Majority Day, January 10, 1967 having been replaces by the PLP founded in 1953 by William Cartwright, Cyril Stevenson, and Henry Milton Taylor.... all three founding men's whose political actions would encounter harsh, cruel and extreme financial harm at the hands Oligarchy Boys... something the PM likes exaggerate when wanting underlines likes he really knows something about growing up..... but some around during da days - jumps to dispute.

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CaptainCoon 1 year, 2 months ago

None! Let them know Minnis! Sir Roland was a giant of a Man!

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

So where is El Chapo now? Did he escape again?

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bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

Even before da UBP...there was da Burmma Road Riots in June1, 1942, whichin was over lesser pay allegedly orkestrated by Bay St merchants to pay black workers in da Colony by Pleasantville buildong da new airport whichin caused dese black workers to come from ova da hill to protest an whichin da Duke s protection brogade came out an in da event 2 people shot dead, 40 injured an round 100 jailed.... To many this was actually the beginning fer the struggle fer civil rights and parallels or precedes marches in der US fer civil rights....to many the action fer da march was Civil Rights.Action..whichinin gets overshadowed and minimalized by the press and peoples keeps callin it Riot..... now Pops being in da bootlegging business not an illegal activity in da British colony whichin happened during US Probition in da 20' earlr 30's .....it is ALLEGED dat the liquor was stored in the grocery store allegedly called 'tthe Big Door' at da corner of Biscayne an Flagler owned by one Englers allegedly managed by one Bahamian fella name wid T an in der dealings a tract of land was acquired by Pops a from Englers and called Englerstown....an at one time Pops alleged owned some 700 lots of land selling and financing dem to black Bahamians all over Nassau an da homes was beung built allegedly by Pops right hand man an contractor one fella alleged by da name beginning with D who by da way was unquestionably one very black man...Homes were also financed by allegedly City Lumber to many black persons in da Colony who couldnt go to da banks...till da 50s or 60s. There were also a number of white famolies who gave loans to black people in da colony. Bottom line ...Very simple to go check title document as to who buy what from who .......an whichinin not my gapseed allegations

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SP 1 year, 2 months ago

Tisk, tisk, tisk! Minnis is a disapointment!

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

Does Minnis remember when The PLP first introduced price control on bread basket items? First the white merchants refused to bring in these items, in an effort to force government to remove the price controls. Then they started importing limited quantities and only selling to white owned food stores. When a black food store owner placed his order he would get everything except the breadbasket items: rice, flour sugar, cooking oil.. they got none. So there was a severe shortage of these items. And it was people like Sir Milo Butler along with other small (Black) businessmen who pooled their resources and started to re-import these food essentials into the country. And guess what? Since the white merchants had exclusive agents to products like Matahma Rice, Robin Hood Flour, Wesson, Quaker grits, these smaller businesses could only import off brand products. And since the off brands were not included in the price control gazette they were not on price control. But it was enough to cause the white boys to remove their embargo and start importing goods again and not restricting their sales to only white Store owners. But by this time some customers had already gotten use to the cheaper brands and this caused businesses like Portion Control (now owned by Super Value) to enter the market.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

And how does that past history fit in today’s economic environment? Well because government has a financially dumb person, with no experience, calling the shots, it is now the government who is discriminating against the (mostly black) businesses in the inner city and inviting outsiders to go in and take control of the business sector. It is this (Minnis) government who has decided it will have two rates of customs duties on certain items and further disenfranchised the smaller businesses they claim they set out to help. So now instead of importing their own goods, these businesses may now have to go and buy their goods from the businesses that are duty exempt. A dumb and inexperienced person can destroy an economy in a flash.

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akbar 1 year, 2 months ago

The UBP as a ruling party was from 1958-67 but the group of white merchants were in the HOA long before that. So to say that the oglicarchy only ruled during those years is a mistruth. They were basically the political and economic force way before the formation of the party. They still had to be "governed" by Britain until 1964 but like most colonies as long as the elected officials were obedient and always put British interests first, they allowed local elected officials to basically do what they saw fit thus the concept of the "Bay Street Boys" existed before the UBP but were one and the same. So they were entrenched and still are entrenched. Colonialism is a serious and strange creature.

Peace and God is Great!

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ThisIsOurs 1 year, 2 months ago

"Minnis and his Cabinet have not publicly rationalised its award decisions. The honours advisory committee, headed by Fort Charlotte MP Mark Humes, recommended that Sir Lynden Pindling alone be awarded the highest honour for the inaugural year of the awards. Ultimately, Dr Minnis chose to bestow the honour on Sir Milo Butler, Sir Cecil Wallace Whitfield and Sir Roland."

This tells you everything you need to know about the current administrations "actions". All For Me Baby 2.0. #petty

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DDK 1 year, 1 month ago

And all this black, white and shades in between matters because??

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