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‘It’S Not Colour, It’S You, Brent’

Sir Franklyn Wilson and Brent Symonette.

Sir Franklyn Wilson and Brent Symonette.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

PROMINENT businessman Sir Franklyn Wilson has hit out at former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette for his comments on race, calling his views narrow and emotional.

Sir Franklyn suggested any perceived political barrier erected against Mr Symonette was not due to skin colour but his character.

He cautioned sitting Cabinet ministers to view Mr Symonette’s comments as a lesson of their own political mortality, and to be merciful while in positions of power.

“A lot of Cabinet ministers today are making decisions that are bringing a lot of hurt to a lot of families and I want them all to remember that the day will come when they no longer have that power,” Sir Franklyn said. 

“Mr Symonette says he has a lot of wealth, the country knows he has a lot of power for a long time. Yet still today his public comments suggest some hurt, some not being at peace.

“Mr Symonette’s experience drives home the point. Don’t care how much power he had, how he been the son of the first premier, how much wealth he has today. We see hurt, we hear hurt, so those who seek peace for themselves and otherwise take an opportunity from this high profile example.”

For comparison, Sir Franklyn referenced the struggle faced by the Anglican community when it deliberated over the appointment of Reverend Angela Palacious as the country’s first female priest.

“There were a lot of people who previously would have thought they could not support a woman but when they looked at the Reverend Angela Palacious they saw sufficient of Jesus Christ in her to say I could support her. 

“So Brent’s comment about a barrier may be in his mind, because people are saying not that ‘I’m against white people being prime minister.’ Maybe they’re saying I’m against you.”

Sir Franklyn continued: “That may be hurtful for someone to come to accept but that may be the barrier to which he refers. I believe that Mr Symonette’s experience should be a matter for reflection before talking, just individual reflection.”

Mr Symonette grabbed headlines this week over a race narrative spun in exit interviews concerning his decision to step down as a Cabinet minister mid-term.

On Wednesday, the former deputy prime minister suggested the country was not ready for a white prime minister and reiterated his call for a national discussion on race and wealth in politics.

Yesterday, Sir Franklyn said he interpreted Mr Symonette’s call for a national discussion on race as a financial commitment to fund the research needed to fully ventilate the issue.

“I assume that by that (Mr Symonette) means that it’s a discussion which will reflect research and intellectual rigour. It won’t be grounded on emotions and I interpreted his saying he’s out to facilitate the discussion as a public financial commitment to fund that research. 

“And if that is what he means then I think he is to be commended and I look forward to him making that serious financial contribution towards that cause,” Sir Franklyn said. 

“Beyond that a discussion grounded on just his experiences would be too narrow to be either helpful or accurate.”

Sir Franklyn also took aim at Mr Symonette’s intent for returning to frontline politics after his retirement in 2012, stating he believed a significant achievement for the former Cabinet minister was to have his father recognised as a national hero, an honour he received in 2018.

Mr Symonette is the son of Sir Roland Symonette, the country’s first premier and leader of the defunct United Bahamian Party. Sir Roland was part of a group of white businessmen known widely as “The Bay Street Boys”.

Sir Franklyn was part of “The Sunshine Boys”, a group of black businessmen founded by the late Bradley Roberts in the 1970s. Mr Roberts was a former Cabinet minister, parliamentarian, and long-serving chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party.

During Wednesday’s interview, The Tribune asked Mr Symonette whether backlash he experienced could also be linked to attitudes surrounding wealth disparity in the country.

Mr Symonette replied that the same disparity existed throughout the world.

“The wealth in the Bahamas is controlled by the people who control it,” Mr Symonette said. 

“You’ve got me, you’ve got Franklyn Wilson, you’ve got Tiger Finlayson, some very successful lawyers and bankers and doctors, that’s what it is. So let’s have that discussion.”

“Any country in the world you can use the ratio that ten percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth,” Mr Symonette added.

Yesterday, Sir Franklyn rejected Mr Symonette’s attempt to draw a parallel between them on the matter of wealth disparity, and pointed to a stark contrast between their economic philosophy.

“I don’t consider myself to be an elite nothing,” Sir Franklyn said. “His economic philosophy is fundamentally different from mine. I don’t believe this thing. The fact of the matter is if you look through my history, I was in groups like UNICOLL that was about advancing the concept of egalitarianism, of sharing, spreading.”

UNICOLL was founded by former Prime Minister Perry Christie and the late Dr Bernard Nottage in 1966 as a forum for Bahamian college students who were studying abroad to engage in dialogue about national development. It was changed to UNICOMM to reference “community” in 1968 in a bid to be more inclusive.

Sir Franklyn continued: “I have no bones about it. I support the Progressive Liberal Party because progressive is in the name. I hear him drawing the parallel about himself and myself. You only go around that road when you have, in my humble view, the wrong concept of wealth. Like somehow it’s all right because Frankie Wilson, but he is very different from me.”

Sir Franklyn noted the impact Mr Symonette’s views had on public policy.

“The most serious thing he will go down in public policy for is the Commercial Enterprise (Act) - which I fundamentally oppose,” Sir Franklyn said. 

“When he was minister of tourism he threw away the ‘It’s Better in the Bahamas’ campaign, made the change for senseless change sake. 

“One of his first shows I remember as a politician on Wendell Jones show talking about market forces. I don’t believe that. These are things in his public life he is best known for.”

Comments

joeblow 1 week, 5 days ago

I guess Sir Frankie is back on his meds and not walking the streets, but he should take his own advice!!

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TalRussell 1 week, 5 days ago

Comrade Joe, I don't know how to best describe it but thanks you – I may finally connect important missing puzzle piece begin solving me Brownies disappearing act which reoccurs like clockwork on my baking days... Still, who be's prime comrade suspect shall remain nameless, yes, no............

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 5 days ago

Well ain't dat da pot callin' da kettle black!

Try as he may to distance himself from Brent Symonette's remarks yesterday, Frankie Wilson a/k/a Snake is cut from exactly the same cloth as Brent, only he (Snake) has done a much superior job at taking whoever he can to the cleaners. And when it comes to racist inclinations, there is very little difference between Snake and Brent aside from the colour of their skin.

No single Bahamian has ever fleeced the Bahamian people to the extent that Frankie Wilson a/k/a Snake has done. Just think of Snake every time you pay an outrageous price for a gallon of gasoline at the pump. And that's just for starters. Snake has been picking the pockets of Bahamians for decades through monopolies in fuel supply and low cost housing development that were created by wielding (peddling) his behind the scenes great political influence at every opportunity. As political animals of the highest order, he and his wife have been given bountiful concessions of one kind or another by successive PLP governments over the decades. They have by one means or another managed to get control of vast tracks of land on New Providence and in South Eleuthera for mere pennies on the dollar. In addition they have enjoyed the benefit of huge property tax and utility infrastructure concessions associated with their property development activities - all at the taxpayers expense. Yes, Snake and his family have been greatly enriched over the years at the expense of taxpayers and quite often at the expense of many homeowners and foreign investors who were left with the short end of the promised deal.

Snake just couldn't resist crawling out of the grass to bite a wounded Symonette. Yep, that hissing sound is from a most devious and conniving Snake who has just injected his venom into a fellow smaller snake with lesser menacing qualities. LMAO

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 5 days ago

Agree about Frankie but how exactly has Brent fleeced the Bahamian people????

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The_Oracle 1 week, 5 days ago

"Mr Symonette is the son of Sir Roland Symonette, the country’s first premier and leader of the defunct United Bahamian Party. Sir Roland was part of a group of white businessmen known widely as “The Bay Street Boys”.

"#Sir Franklyn was part of “The Sunshine Boys”, a group of black businessmen founded by the late Bradley Roberts in the 1970s. Mr Roberts was a former Cabinet minister, parliamentarian, and long-serving chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party."

And the former taught the latter how to do business. These two statements tell the story that nothing has changed, the latter has completely emulated the former. They have become the enemy of the people they so despised.

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DDK 1 week, 5 days ago

Did/do the former and the latter conduct business in the same way or is there something a little more manic and corrupt with the latter?

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sealice 1 week, 5 days ago

Please all the racist crap that comes out of the PLP every election and this is believable? From a dude who's nickname is "the snake"???

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TalRussell 1 week, 5 days ago

Comrade Brent but days after being forced out Imperialists red shirts cabinet - still hungry for spotlight......oh yeah even really rich thirsts for attention, yes, no...... the man's true strategy fools some but rest we hearing is fine-tuned sufficiently hear rehearsal ticks political bomb under designed drops before 2022 - brungs about sudden end prime minister's rule, yes, no........these two are fast acting likes the longtime feuding between two Lyford Cay neighbours, yes, no...........

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BahamaRed 1 week, 5 days ago

Frankie should be the last to talk about character, all the Bahamian people he treated like dirt over the years. I distinctly recall a subdivision where people had bought and paid for homes, up jumps Frankie Wilson and Arawak homes saying the land was theirs. He made those people pay for the land and the homes they had already been living in -some already paid for- over again. Some people had been living in homes for 10/15yrs.

Frankie has the character and conscience of a snake....he and Brent are just alike- get rich off the Bahamian people.

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 5 days ago

Mr; Wilson responded because Mr: Symonette called his name and his Family member name, Mr: Symonette may have a problem with persons of a different hue living in his neighborhood if not why mention them.

At the end of the day, the scriptures say" '' lay up for yourself treasures in heaven'. Money does not buy happiness or peace of mind.

The news today reports a 62-year-old billionaire lost his life in a plane Crush all of that money could not assure life.

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 5 days ago

lest you forget. the quieting of poor people's property and calling it small things. but who would expect you folks to remember that or know about it.

Many poor people property was taken away from them by quieting and a little food.

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TalRussell 1 week, 5 days ago

What Colony of Out Islands requires is a group comrade man's and woman's of no more than 'Ten' in number to form an alliance with its main objective being that of presenting populaces on general election day with 'Ten" prospective House of Assembly candidates to become a parliamentary block of elected House MP's to act as a credible obstacle making it difficult any party political forming a majority government, yes, no.....
First, order business - appoint Royal Commission to dig into all quieting and crown lands grants extending back in time as long they falls within statute of limitations for all civil and criminal matters related real property,,yes, no........

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themessenger 1 week, 5 days ago

Birdie come back??? Well muddos, ten ten da bible ten..........

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geostorm 1 week, 5 days ago

I really feel sorry for my fellow Bahamians. We waste so much time on trivial matters and not enough on sensible discussion to move our country forward. Why all this talk of race? Why are we fighting against each other? It is all so silly! We need to focus on building our nation and taking it to first world standards and stop putting ourselves back. Gosh I wish we would just get it together. A nation divided can not be successful!

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Greentea 1 week, 5 days ago

Well- these two already write their script with the Bahamian people- but I learned a few nuggets in this response. And this statement had me in rolling in laughter- "Yesterday, Sir Franklyn said he interpreted Mr Symonette’s call for a national discussion on race as a financial commitment to fund the research needed to fully ventilate the issue." That will be the day!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 2 days ago

Then again, if Snake is so truly concerned about the need for the issue to be fully ventilated, he can fund the research from his own fat wad. And that, too, will be the day!

As well known hard core PLP supporters and peddlers of elitist political influence, Snake and his family have greatly benefited time and time again from wrongfully playing the race card whenever it gave them the upper hand in a business deal involving lighter skinned parties. Perhaps we should have some serious indepth research into that. LMAO

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