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Fred Mitchell Describes Govt's Position On Reparations As 'Racist'

PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell.

PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell.

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

IN the wake of Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest underscoring that reparations for black Bahamians are not a government priority, Opposition Chairman Fred Mitchell has described the Minnis administration’s position on the matter as “racist”.

Mr Mitchell also described Mr Turnquest’s comments that “looking backwards doesn’t help you win a race” as hypocritical – noting the Free National Movement is “always seeking” to denigrate Sir Lynden Pindling and the Progressive Liberal Party government from the 1980s.

In an interview with The Tribune on Monday, Mr Turnquest was asked his thoughts on calls for reparations.

To this, he said reparations are not at the top of the list of items the government is “concerned about”, adding the Minnis Administration is instead focused on developing the economy and “empowering people”.

In March 2014, the Christie Administration formed a National Reparations Committee to establish the moral, ethical, and legal case for the payment of repatriations by the former colonial European countries.

Mr Mitchell was Minister of Foreign Affairs in that administration.

“The Deputy Prime Minister is a hypocrite,” he told the Tribune yesterday. “They don't want to look backwards for something that will help black Bahamians but are happy to look backwards to the so-called drug era to denigrate black leadership …he should be reminded that what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.”

“The latter point is the FNM is always seeking to denigrate Lynden Pindling with baseless innuendos from his government in the 1980s but that's ok because it suits their political purposes... but reparations to which all right-thinking and decent people think in principle is morally sound and restorative for black people in the diaspora we shouldn't look back...it is racist,” Mr Mitchell continued.

He added the PLP supports the CARICOM consensus on the matter.

There is currently a national discourse on the intersections of race and class in the Bahamas in the aftermath of comments made by former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette who suggested he faced political barriers and attacks due to his skin colour.

Mr Symonette, who resigned as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Immigration last week, 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.

Last week, former Minister of State on Legal Affairs Damian Gomez said he believes that conversation should start with reparations.

Mr Turnquest, however, disagrees.

“So, I’ve heard this whole thing about reparations and while it is (an) interesting concept, I don’t think anybody around the world yet has figured out how that exactly works,” Mr Turnquest said on Monday.

“Who are you seeking reparations from, on what basis, what is enough, how do you value that… so, again, it’s not at the top of our list of items to be concerned about.

“We’re much more focused on trying to build an economy to move the country from where it is today. Again, this whole idea that somebody’s done us wrong…or somebody owes us something is a thought that we don’t want to necessarily encourage.”

“So again, for me, it’s about going forward and ensuring that we put in place the structures and the opportunity for Bahamians to be successful.”

Comments

BMW 1 week, 2 days ago

Fred go to africa and get ya money from those who rounded their own people and sold them.

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CatIslandBoy 1 week, 2 days ago

While slavery was evil, disgraceful, and repugnant, the idea of reparation is even worse. To whom do we present a bill for this stain in our history? How much should the bill be? And finally, to whom should any money be paid? Mitchell's ignorance is really deafening.

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Chucky 1 week, 2 days ago

Finally someone who says the truth. Thank you.

Now if we can only get those by bible thumpers who’s bibles endorsed this behaviour to throw their books in the garbage we might for once be able to move past this.

Exodus 21:20-21

20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 2 days ago

What is a "white" Bahamian???? .......... are we confusing light-skinned Conchy Joes with real white persons from Northern Europe? ....... Most Bahamians (98%) are bi-racial and suffer more discrimination from classism and colourism rather than racism.

Mango-skinned people from Eleuthera and Long Island are called "white" in Nassau ..... It is a social construct that has nothing to do with being Caucasian ................ we are really confused by what is "white" ......... Let us stop confusing the "white" moniker with one's DNA.

Why do we concentrate on "white" while there are at least 30 other "minorities" that are overlooked in that 10% of Bahamian population ...... Greeks, Jews, Lebanese, Chinese etc.

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One 1 week, 2 days ago

Ridiculous! We received an independent country. This is different than USA whose black people live in a country where wealth distribution and power favors the descendants of slavers.

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Chucky 1 week, 2 days ago

Yah like nobody who lives among us has benefitted from slavery.

Wake up, not only has our whole country benefitted as a whole from being founded and developed by proceeds of colonialism, but also , many our our elite families are direct descendants of slave owners

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ABOMINATION 1 week, 2 days ago

Please get out of Politics Fredrica! Once you align yourself with that corrupt PLP party, you have no integrity left....PERIOD! AND THAT goes for Chester too....The dirt will come out soon, and you will al be judged accordingly. I implore all of those who benefited from stealing from the Public Purse to ask for forgiveness and turn themselves in.

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Sickened 1 week, 1 day ago

Sorry, but who is supposed to pay the reparations? The heirs of Christopher Columbus? Perhaps the Spanish Government? Or is it that all decendents of any white person living at the time has to chip is some money?

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Clamshell 1 week, 1 day ago

OK, would Mr. Fred be willing to turn back the clock and take up goat herding over there in Nigeria or The Congo? As he’d be doing if his ancestors had been left to themselves?

If so, I think we could arrange that ...

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Sickened 1 week, 1 day ago

Can half blacks get half the payout? Or is it only those 'true to Africa' blacks who never married outside of their race that can benefit? If there are any ancestors of the indigenous Bahamian Indians left surely they deserve a pretty handsome payout as well? If England and Spain do pay out then do their African black citizens of those countries have to pony up for the cost of reparations to other black people around the world? Shouldn't Egypt be asked to pay reparations also for the slaves they used to build the pyramids? Damn, what about the Roman empire and the multitudes of slaves they had from around the world? This is getting complicated.

Seems like if we are going down this road, then we had better make it fair and start at the beginning.

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 1 day ago

Don't wanna sound racist or insensitive but the truth is this.....

The slaves in this country are the majority, they now run this country.

So what's the rationale behind this? Slaves should pay reparations for their own slavery?

Huh?

Funny how something sounds so good on the radio or TV but when you take a real hard look at it it's really kind of silly....

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Apostle 1 week ago

Who ever listens to Fred Mitchell and his egotistical rant other than his PLP constituents who want to come back in power tomorrow. Sleepnom my brother. They love you, but Jesua loves you beat.

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sealice 1 week ago

I believe we are going to have to concede to the expert because if this racist MOFO thinks you are racist and he know's cus he fluckin hate de white peeps dem.....then you musse racist....

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