Looking Back Doesn't Help, Says Deputy Pm On Issue Of Reparations

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.


Tribune Staff Reporter


“LOOKING backwards doesn’t help you win a race,” Deputy Prime Minister K Peter Turnquest said yesterday when asked his thoughts on calls for reparations for black Bahamians.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Turnquest said reparations are not at the top of the list items the government is “concerned about”, adding the Minnis administration is instead focused on developing the economy and “empowering people”.

Mr Turnquest’s remarks add to the current 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. According to former Minister of State on Legal Affairs Damian Gomez 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.

“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.

“We have the ability, we have invested in education in this country, invested in opportunities for Bahamians to be able to stand on their own two feet and to go forward and to be successful.

“And we much rather, at least I would much rather, put our efforts towards that, to empowering people, to improve their circumstance. Despite what the start may have been, it’s how you finish.

“And I believe that we have the tools to move ourselves forward on our own without looking backward…as any athlete would tell you: looking backwards doesn’t help you win a race.

“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.”

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.

When asked if this current government has any plans to revamp this committee, Mr Turnquest said that’s a question for the prime minister.

During Friday’s National Pride Day ceremony, Governor General Cornelius A Smith called for Bahamians to “reject” the things that stir up division if they want to “preserve” the country’s legacy of hospitality.

Mr Smith said Bahamians should strive to be on one accord and reject “divisiveness” that stems from “race, culture (and) creed”.


TalRussell 1 year ago

So again, how can populaces not mock comrade KP. It doesn't help be about going backwards - excepting on the 100 different occasions of blaming PLP for nothing tangible put in place by KP and his merry band Imperialists red shirts cabinet since ceasing governing power 771 days back by deceiving 71,409 voters. There are no structures and the campaign promises opportunity for populaces's Colony of Out Islands are nowhere be seen, and populaces have long given up on any hope to be successful under this do nothing, lazy red regime, yes, no...


TheMadHatter 1 year ago

If these calling for reparations had any sense, they would be asking where the H*LL is their land they were supposed to have gotten in 1973. Why is it still being held by the Crown? They going out tonight to celebrate Mortgage Day July 10th.


OMG 1 year ago

Surely granting of crown land is a Bahamian matter now all these years after independence.


bogart 1 year ago

Looking back doesn't help.....which is actually best in more ways than the DPM should be talking about. In the 21st century there is estimated in what today is called MODERN DAY SLAVERY..some 21 to 46 million persons are in slavery.in numerous countries. Various cmodern day slavery onditions exist detailing sonditions...forced to work in intolerable inhuman difficult to escape.

In the Caribbean, there is particularly in Haiti with grinding poverty persons are in articles in such slave conditions...numerous artricles on web. Many victims may be in the Human Trafficking train moved to places to work in intolerable conditions. There are usually boatloads of impoverished persons adults caught and allegedly having spent some $2,000 plus for the illegal boat trip...investigations needed into these situations....like these organized trips hhave no captains...like whatever happened to their children ...and how are their children treated if put into Restavek culture conditions? Every so often foreign females are caught working in sex industry...investigations needed if they were not forced into it working against their will.

Today there is modern day slavery needing more investigations into madern day slave conditions.


jamani2 1 year ago

When you look at the worldwide disparity that exists between the races you have to ask the question, how did this happen? And when you go back in history, you also have to admit that it was Europe that underdeveloped mainly Africa and Latin America, including the Caribbean. That is not to say that all of the problems of the 20th century, as they pertain to Africa and Latin american countries, including the Caribbean, are all Europe's fault. We simply cannot ignore or discount Europe's role in these problems. To say that Reparations is merely "an interesting concept" and that it can be compared to "looking back", as in looking backwards, is far too naive and dismissive of one of the worst atrocities committed in history. This atrocity was committed against Africa, Africans, and peoples of African descent. Saying sorry is one thing. Some things call for restitution and making amends. Australia and Canada have taken steps in the right direction. I don't think it is too difficult to figure out who all were affected and who gets paid. Countries in the western hemisphere with sizable black populations, and Africa must be looked at mainly. In addition, I don't think that reparations has to be only about money. How do we affect the lives of poor people as directly as possible in the impacted countries? There is no question in my mind that a serious discussion needs to be have as to how do we correct the global imbalance between countries that benefited from slavery and colonialism and those peoples affected by them. On this one I couldn't disagree more with the DPM.


TheMadHatter 1 year ago

The article says in part "..., I don't think that reparations has to be only about money. How do we affect the lives of poor people as directly as possible in the impacted countries? ..."

The answer? Vasectomy. The tube which carries the semen is severed and seperated in a virtually painless outpatient procedure. There is in over 90% of cases no swelling or other side effects. This allows men of African descent to enjoy sexual activity just as before, without the unwanted side effects of $25/week court ordered child care. It also relieves the state/govt from having to come up with the other monies needed above and beyond the $25. There are MANY men in this country who have over ten children "out there". Ive heard of many cases of 17, 25, and more. One guy in particular was in a news article just 2 years ago talking about how he had 69 children right here in this Bahamas. The court should force him to sell his Lear jet to pay for their upbringing - except that he did not own a Lear jet; only an old Kia putting out smoke and 17 months overdue for a tune-up. Man dem Ramen Noodles is da bomb eh? Keepin all dem people employed at the kidney center. Muddo.


OMG 1 year ago

With reparations where do you start-With Arabs who still enslave their people, Saudi Arabia who still employ cheap slave labour, to the African tribe leaders who sold their people into slavery or how about closer to home for all the years that black Bahamians had to leave Spanish Wells before sunset. Yes many of the countries colonised by the UK, Portugal and others did many things wrong but maybe the UK should ask for reparations from the Romans or Vikings who invaded, raped and pillaged the UK. Time for long independent countries to stop blaming their failures on past masters and get on manage and take responsibility for their own progress. As Bogart correctly said their is modern day slavery in every country.


sheeprunner12 1 year ago

This is such an asinine argument ........... SMT


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