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Former MP: Bahamas needs to heal racial divide

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Philip Galanis

By SYANN THOMPSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

sthompson@tribunemedia.net

FORMER MP Philip Galanis says The Bahamas needs to heal its racial divide.

Reflecting on Majority Rule Day, he said while The Bahamas has had major accomplishments and is striving toward equality, much racial healing is needed in the nation.

"We need to come to terms with the racial divide. There is still an underlying and a racial undercurrent in the country and it is not only by black and white Bahamians, but it’s by black and white people. We need racial healing in this country. Then, we have got to be honest with ourselves about the Haitians in this country, they are people, they are entitled to certain rights. We cannot be denigrating them; we must recognise that it may be them today and us tomorrow. We must find a way to heal those wounds and do what we can to eliminate the racial division in this country,” Mr Galanis told The Tribune Thursday.

Majority Rule - January 10, 1967 - represented a day of liberation for not only the black masses, but for white Bahamians who suffered segregation under the United Bahamian Party.

Another area of setback is partisan politics, which he says also needs healing.

“The other area of disappointment in our society, as far as I am concerned in terms of nation building, is the fractured nature of our politics. We’ve become so partisan in our politics that there is, or seems to have been, an acceptance that – to the victor goes the spoils, which means essentially who wins the government gets all the spoils of the country,” he said.

The founding fathers of the country, include Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Milo Butler, Arthur D Hanna, Paul Adderley, Hon George Smith, Cadwell Armbrister, Philip Bethel, Henry Bowen, Loftus Roker, Sir Kendal G L Isaacs, Sir Orville Turnquest, Sir Arthur Foulkes and Norman Solomon.

Mr Galanis said he does not believe that these men in building The Bahamas and framing our constitution planned for the “culture” that has emerged in today’s politics.

“That was not intended by the founding fathers that those who won should have all of the say and their entire way. I believe the plan really was to be more inclusive and over the years. I think, beginning perhaps in the 1990s, our politics became far too divisive, too fractious, too partisan and so many things in this country is governed by the party colours that you wear and the political party you support and it ought not be that way,” Mr Galanis said.

He added: “This country is called The Bahamas which means it’s for all Bahamians, regardless of their political association or their race, their religion, their social standing. The country really belongs to us all and when the elections are finished, we ought to be binding the wounds that may have been opened during the political season and recognise that we will sink or swim as a country and everyone benefits when we pull together.”

The Bahamas has had marked advancements since 1967 according to Mr Galanis, who says while the founding fathers were able to usher in political majority; when it came to ownership in industries like tourism, the country fell short.

“We have failed miserably in many ways, in encouraging more participation in the economic development of the country. The exception may be in the professional services industry, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers who have engaged in nation building. We have not had that kind of success in tourism when it comes to ownership. When you look at our tourism sector, which constitutes some 65 percent of our GDP, very few Bahamians own significant or substantial investments in tourism.”

Comments

bahamianson 3 years, 4 months ago

Tickle the ears with such eloquence. Bunch of garbage, we will never be United.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 4 months ago

The core of the 1967 PLP didnot survive to Independence ...... it fractured in 1970.

The PLP proceeded to blackball ALL black and white Bahamians who joined the FNM.

Galanis was a Pingdomite PLP .......... Can he pretend that that he is not culpable?????

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moncurcool 3 years, 4 months ago

How does Galanis opens is mouth to talk about heaven the divide when he is a part of a party that created it and now make the memories and annual event when they make a holiday about majority rule. So they expect people of of the majority color to celebrate this holiday? Kill the holiday if you want to end the divide or name it something else.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 4 months ago

Typical corrupt to the core PLP 'ole timer once again trying to play that tired 'ole worn out race card. It worked in manipulating our grandparents and parents, but it will never work for the vast majority of today's Bahamian voters. Today most voters are rightly colour blind and therefore not the least bit vulnerable to the PLP's 'ole play bag of manipulative racism tricks to get votes.

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professionalbahamian 3 years, 4 months ago

How ironic this article should be published now- people can't deny this is a racially divisive holiday - first step in the process is to rename this holiday- or keep talking without results.

Education is key!

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mandela 3 years, 4 months ago

All and every holiday is racially divided with Independence Day being the most obvious, white Bahamians don't take part in anything Bahamian except raking in money from the black populace.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 4 months ago

Keep your racism to yourself.....the Bahamas of today has no place for it.

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joeblow 3 years, 4 months ago

The simple reality is that Blacks have oppressed, manipulated, taken advantage of and victimized far more Blacks in this country than any other race combined! I wonder what Mr. Galanis's solution would be for that?

The divide in this country is NOT racial, BUT political and economic!!

No holiday in this country should be political!

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

The effects Colony's inability break with its long dependency tourism dollars - continues playing a negative role many areas a still much colonial structured society. I would've thought, just maybe we new comrade Chief Justice Brian - might've shed the colonial costume trappings red robe and horse-haired wig - along with Queen's Knighthood.

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bogart 3 years, 4 months ago

The former MP talking about the nation needs to heal its racial divide and himself in GLARINGLY OMITTING the architect of the Bahamas Tourism and Banking.

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Gotoutintime 3 years, 4 months ago

Don't worry Tal----Good Queen Lizzy will soon come to save us--It's just a matter of time!!

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professionalbahamian 3 years, 4 months ago

Again education is key... close to 50 years on and still focused on divide and conquer - how has that bitterness worked out for everyone?

Change the names of offensive holidays- an easy first little fix.

Also give women equal rights- come on its 2020 and 1/2 the population is oppressed right there- white, black, whatever- can't pass citizenship on to their children on their own!!!- can that be blamed on the colonialist lol? Sheer stupidity to discourage that half of the population off the starting line!

Connecting tourism today to colonialism is absolutely crazy stupid, and has expired- one must face the reality of the resources locally available and maximize them for the benefit of Bahamians - sustainably! #1 resource= The people.

Think what would happen if the 1) government , 2) each citizen made choices based on improving the quality of life for their fellow Bahamian- without stealing/wasting taxpayers money and time or further pushing the country into debt!

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Gotoutintime 3 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, it sounds good but it will never happen---Human nature is just not that good!

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TalRussell 3 years, 4 months ago

Ma comrade, just so you know. I wouldn't strictly want be labeled as a firm denier of the benefits that can come from promoting local colonialism - nor am in favour of wiping colony out islands clean of our long colonialism's history.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Galanis, we have suggested over and over again that Haitians wear condoms. They refuse, and continue to engage in a "breeding war" against us. They are trying to outnumber us in every way they can - by immigration and procreation at the same time. Since they are obviously trying to destroy us and our culture, how can we not despise them?

Why should we not wish to survive and for our children to survive? Isn't that human nature - to wish for your offspring to survive?

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Chucky 3 years, 4 months ago

Does it really matter to you where the parent of the children down the street cake from?

Are you really such a patriot?

Do you spent any of your time doing things for the good of the nation without reward or remuneration?

Didn’t think so.

So it seems your comments are only justified through xenophobia.

It would appear to me, given the nature of your average Bahamian, that any non native child will be a welcome and much needed improvement

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 4 months ago

In addition, Mr. Galanis, YOU being formerly from the PLP are in a good position to heal another wound which was created by your former leader saying he would not allow "a country within a country" and heal the divide between Nassau and Freeport. Freeport people are Bahamians also - but they are treated like outside children or even traitors by the government. The Govt seems to be engaged in a pissing contest with the Port Authority, which has been to the detriment of all of us (a big reason we needed to implement VAT) - and it has done nobody any good.

If the Govt thinks they can do a better job managing Freeport than the Port Authority is doing - let them demonstrate their prowess in the neighboring East End or West End communities - or both. If they make one of those communities better than Freeport, I will be the first to jump on the bandwagon to get the Port out of our lives.

Action - not words.

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Chucky 3 years, 4 months ago

Racism seems to have evolved into class warfare all around the world.

Regardless of colour, people seem to admire and respect wealth & power, which go hand in hand.

Sadly even the poor look up to and desire contact and interaction with the wealthy; even if that wealthy person is the company owner who starved them every payday. Do I need to mention any of our big money employers illustrate this point. Tell me the poor man doesn’t gravitate to the boss man when he comes around hoping to get some notice.

Sadly, if you want respect and a better life you can only get this by making a lot of money.

Earn enough money and you will be noticed and invited into the club of the ruling class, don’t, and you will always be one of the ruled.

The only exception my be a poor lawyer ( I know, that’s generally thought to be an oxymoron “poor lawyer”). Lol. But the odd one does exist, and because of their knowledge they can not be as easily ruled.

Truth is it’s more about money and power than racism. Money travels up hill, it’s the only thing that does. And it’s been this way since the beginning of time. The little people have always been the source of production and the cow to be milked.

Things will likely get worse with more automation and artificial intelligence as this makes little people less important as a component of production.

Either way, racism is a but a mere distraction. If you’re poor, regardless of color; the ruling class, both corporate profiteers and politicians are striving to get every ounce of your wealth and efforts they can.

Greed knows no color.

The only solution is to make life so uncomfortable for the ruling clas that they change their ways. Problem is, they have thick skin, and the police to protect them.

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sealice 3 years, 4 months ago

Get rid of the PLP and FNM and then get rid of all the illegals be they heyshun dominicoke heads or whatever Non Bahamians country or paid for work permits per year.... (3) simple steps to fix the country....

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