EDITOR, The Tribune.
Based on their often observable actions, I always thought that many members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force lacked basic training in how to properly interact with members of the public. What I did not know was that some senior members of the force are downright stupid until I observed it with my very own eyes.
Firstly let me put in this disclaimer. I have never been arrested nor have I ever been charged with any criminal offence. I have never had any personal negative police experience. So back to the matter at hand. I am a signed up member of Bahamian Evolution, an all-inclusive movement whose aim is to cause the government to recognise the value of this country’s natural resources, and to cause those resources to be professionally managed, sustainably exploited and marketed worldwide preferably via a Ministry of Natural Resources. Then our aim is to ensure that every single Bahamian benefits personally and directly from the natural resources of this country through a properly functioning sovereign wealth fund.
Starting in September of this year, 2020 www.bahamianevolution.com led by Lincoln Bain and a few young Bahamians have been educating the Bahamian people about the natural resources of our country through documentaries on its website, on Clinton Watson’s Beyond the Headlines television show, by way of news conferences in Rawson Square, by word of mouth and by other means. The first thing that gave me cause for concern was the very first news conference we had at Rawson Square.
When I got to the square immediately I was taken aback by the presence of at least ten police officers, many of them of the senior ranks. I have attended a number of press conferences prior to this and never once saw a single police officer. Why? Because it is not necessary. In my opinion it is an abuse of the limited law enforcement resources of this country. So not only was this sizeable contingent of police offers present at this news conference, but it did not take me long to detect that their demeanor and body language clearly indicated that we were the enemy. Now this is really nonsensical because when we achieve our goals, police officers will benefit handsomely along with all Bahamians. This very same scenario repeated itself at all of our Rawson Square press conferences sometimes with a 30-seater police bus present.
So against that backdrop, two weeks ago on December 16, 2020 Bahamian Evolution had the audacity to stage a march from Arawak Cay to Rawson Square. When I arrived on site I observed that Lincoln Bain was engaged in an intense, but polite conversation with several senior police officers. They were telling him that their mandate from the Commissioner of Police was to prevent the march because the Commissioner had not given his permission. Now in a democracy where persons have the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of movement, there is absolutely no need to obtain permission from anyone to exercise those rights. Moreover Mr Bain indicated that he had followed all of the normal but unnecessary protocols to have the march. But I digress. Finally Mr Bain told the police officers that all we wanted to do was to walk peacefully on the sidewalk, not obstructing traffic, from Arawak Cay to Rawson Square, and this is when the unbelievable stupidity happened.
A senior police officer looked Lincoln Bain in the eye and told him that if we attempt to walk on the sidewalk as requested, we would be arrested. And to put meaning behind those words the ubiquitous 30-seater police bus along with a good number of squad cars were present. Which planet do those police officers live on? Which country do they think this is? Cuba or China? They must have temporarily taken leave of their senses! And to add insult to injury, at the very same moment that the officer was speaking, other Bahamians and visitors to our country were walking peacefully on the same sidewalk between Arawak Cay and Rawson Square. So somehow it was legal for them to do it, but it was illegal for us to do it. In the end the march was officially called off, nonetheless we did walk peacefully downtown to Rawson Square and we did hold our press conference. However the actions of certain members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force left a very bad taste in our mouths. The situation leaves much to be desired. There is an urgent need for the Commissioner and his officers to be educated on the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas with specific emphasis on the freedoms that are guaranteed and enjoyed by every citizen of this Commonwealth.
December 29, 2020.