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Bahamas ‘not ready’ for step to republic

RESIDENT Lynden Rahming said governance shouldn’t change - but it was up to the people. Photo: Moise Amisial

RESIDENT Lynden Rahming said governance shouldn’t change - but it was up to the people. Photo: Moise Amisial

By JADE RUSSELL

jrussell@tribunemedia.net

THE recent death of Queen Elizabeth II has sparked conversation on whether The Bahamas should become a republic, however residents who spoke with The Tribune yesterday are not ready for the country to take that step yet.

Recently, Prime Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis said his administration would let Bahamians decide whether the country should transition into a republic.

Although Mr Davis suggested he would support the move to being a republic he underscored the decision as the country’s ties with the monarchy falls within The Bahamian people. Such a change would require a referendum.

Yesterday, The Tribune spoke to a few residents who shared their views on if the country should transition into a republic and remove King Charles as head of state.

Lynden Rahming said he believed the governance of the country should not change, however, he said it all depends on the voice of the people and what the majority wants.

“It shouldn’t change, I mean if you want it to change then go ahead, but I don’t know why people are making such a big deal about it. We are still a Commonwealth nation and a part of the Commonwealth. But if they choose to take a census and find out what the majority of persons want then sure let’s move. It’s the voice of the people that makes a difference,” Mr Rahming said.

Another resident, taxi driver Felton Cox, said he would prefer the country to keep its ties with the British monarchy.

“I would rather stay with the British, the world knows in my view that the British are generally stable. Because we in The Bahamas are in a major financial community, you want stability. You want people to have confidence in your systems and because we are a part of the British system along with the legal system people tend to have more confidence. And they are more up to do business with you than otherwise,” Mr Cox said.

Mr Cox said if he saw more financial security in the country he would be more supportive of the transition into a republic.

A straw vendor, who asked to be identified as Ms Jackie, said she believes in the long run it would be good for The Bahamas to become a republic, but right now there’s still work to be done before that step is taken.

Ms Jackie said: “It seems to be a trend in the Caribbean for the Commonwealth nations to now recognise at this stage in their existence that they should be a republic, with an elected president. I think that in the long run it would be good for The Bahamas, but right now we have such caustic partisan politics. I don’t think it will be in our best interest at this time because we have not evolved to the point where we think of anything other than red, yellow, and green.”

Barbados made the transition to a republic last year. International media reported this week that Antigua and Barbuda plan to hold a referendum on becoming a republic within the next three years, which could mean King Charles may be removed as that country’s head of state.

Comments

joeblow 2 months, 3 weeks ago

... we tried to be "independent" and have failed miserably at it (uncontrolled debt, illegal immigration, systemic corruption, failing health and education systems etc). We would have been better off if we remained a British colony. At least we would have a better educated populace with greater administrative efficiency in government.

Lastly, remember, the Brits were in Abaco to offer substantive help after Dorian, long before our own RBDF. So, do we really want to go it alone?

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JokeyJack 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, they came and many others came and offered to came. They were all denied and turned away. Same after Hurricane Floyd. Doctors Without Borders came offering to help the children with stress and anxiety from the hurricane - they were turned away by Immigration. The two MPs at the time begged Immigration to let them in - but with communication severed with Nassau - nobody had any way to make a decision. When you turn away doctors to help your own children, how can you even dream of governing yourself.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The Americans were in Abaco too long before our people maybe we should become the 53rd stats

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JokeyJack 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Good point. The fact is, we are the 51st state of USA in so many ways, but in our quest to be "independent" LOL - we lose out on all the potential benefits. Pride comes before the fall.

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Cobalt 2 months, 3 weeks ago

@joeblow. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Shame to say, black leadership always fails.

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The_Oracle 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Before we change our system of Governance we should acknowledge that we have failed in the administration of our current system, the Constitutional Monarchy. Think of all the systems and edicts by all the government departments enacted quite unlawfully, and foisted upon the general public to attempt to overcome their own corruption? Total fail on that count, and they're still trying. Ingraham started the "legislate to overcome your failures" move, and it has failed, but succeeded in marginalizing a large % of the population who will never figure out how to get from point a to point b in any government process. Ludicrous to even suggest that somehow playing a different game will somehow work better given the caliber of our players.

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JokeyJack 2 months, 3 weeks ago

" I don’t think it will be in our best interest at this time because we have not evolved to the point where we think of anything other than red, yellow, and green.”

GREEN ????? GREEN ???????? Have you seen any GREEN MP sitting in the House of Assembly? I have not.

This last election the people did not elect even ONE person as an MP anywhere in the Bahamas who was not an FNM or a PLP.

We are nowhere close to being able to be a Republic - we cannot even see Republic far far on the horizon like the mast of a tall sailing ship.

We cannot even make license plates for our cars.

We don't even print our own money - it is printed in Canada.

We cannot keep ordinary blood pressure pills in our main PMH hospital.

What the heck are these Republic people thinking. Has the Queen prevented us from filling our potholes?

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Most Bahamians have little understanding of how the present govt system works.

Imagine if we change to a Republic with another glorified toothless Head of State.

What will we do with Govt House that we have just spent $20 million renovating?

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Alan1 2 months, 3 weeks ago

There is really no good reason why we should abolish our democratic inheritance of a stable Monarchy system. The system works well with a parliament, independent British-style courts, a neutral Governor-General above politics and NOT answerable to politicians. A politician's republic would be disastrous. Keep what is proven and a stable system attracting investment. There is too much at stake to change what has been proven to be in our best interests.

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ThisIsOurs 2 months, 3 weeks ago

works "well"? Do you live in Albany or Old Fort Bay? Did you hear about the 6 million dollars domes fiasco or the 14yr old that was stabbed in school?

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bcitizen 2 months, 3 weeks ago

There is no democratic system of government that can work with a D average. Changing our system of government is just a charade for our political failures. Our system of government has been around and evolving for thousands of years and has created many stable countries around the world. We can only blame ourselves for not knowing how to use it properly. Maybe our people and politicians can take some lessons from the late Queen regarding self discipline, putting service above self, and some loyalty and service to our country.

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bahamianson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

We are.always ready for anything. We'll, just look at what is happening on Monday. A queen died , the funeral is on Monday , and the Bahamian people will be on Rose island. There is a disconnect. We are our own people. No one cares about old English traditions especially when they robbed and pillaged other countries .

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themessenger 2 months, 2 weeks ago

@bahamianson, spoken like a true and ardent supporter of the Pillage Loot Plunder party.

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Flyingfish 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Yet you'll be the same one at the regatta, drinking up, enjoying an "English'' tradition.

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The_Oracle 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Great Britain may have robbed and pillaged other countries, over the centuries, Like just about every other Empire and peoples around the world. I'd be more concerned about the robbing and pillaging we do to ourselves and our own.

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JohnBrown1834 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I am shocked by this article. The reporter interviewed a few people and came to the headline conclusion. I am even more shocked at the comments afterwards. What planet are you people from? How could people of colour still choose to be in bondage? Where is your sense of identity? Where is your sense of self-esteem? Where is your sense of true patriotism? Where is your sense of being truly independent? I hope that all of the remaining Caribbean countries remove the monarchy at the same time. Anything less is beyond ridiculous and amounts to a looser mentality. Removing the monarchy does not mean that we must leave the Commonwealth. It means that we are finally removing the last symbols of colonialism. We have done well as an independent country and will continue to do well as a Republic. Every country in the world including Great Britain has social and economical problems so that is a terrible excuse. To make the world mark the manner of our bearing then we must be truly independent. This is not the time for politics on this issue. Let's move - "Forward, Upward, Onward and Together. We have God on our side so have no fear.

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Flyingfish 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Lol, maybe the people of the Bahamas have the common sense to realize that rambling on about a Republic when we don't have a democratic senate, Don't have a well functioning court system, no local government in NP, and a disastrous civil service is wildly foolish and a complete mix up of priorities.

You can talk all you want about the effects and connections of colonialism, but what you see this country as, has nothing to do with the monarchy or a republic, its a mental thing.

I have the pride enough in my country to know that we are not ready for moving to a republic and it is a waste of government time, resources, and money. The Bahamas becoming a republic is like building a house out of sheetrock and clapboard and painting it pretty/decorating it nice. Yet the foundation and structural integrity is compromised.

If the government allows our senate to have 9/16 senators chosen by the PM, making it a yes-man's council why should we move to a republic and waste time on meaningless democratic reforms because of feelings and a sorry mentality. If you feel like a slave or colonist call yourself one, that's not my business.

But it's quite clear that their should be so many other things getting a referendum but the republic thing is dangled in front of our faces. If this passes the government won't have the time nor focus to get other important things done.

The Bahamas should keep it's special relationship with the UK, just like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Interestingly enough they don't get called nor seen as colonies despite being in the same situation as us.

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themessenger 2 months, 2 weeks ago

@JohnBrown1834, Great ideas, why don’t we go whole hog, all da way, no turning back, and get rid of all the white people while we at it? After all they don’t contribute anything, don’t socialize with black peoples, just live off the sweat of their labors, tell all a dem to carry dey ass. Don’t forget to collect reparations from dem before you let dem leave, Obie and we treasury counting on it.

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IslandWarrior 2 months, 2 weeks ago

What does republic mean? A republic is defined as “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.” Sound familiar? It should.

Many of today’s democracies are also republics and are even referred to as democratic republics. So, the US and France are considered both democracies and republics. Both terms point to the fact that the power of governance rests in the people and that power is exercised through some electoral representation.

The key concept to the word republic is that the leader of this government (or state) is not a hereditary monarch but a president, whether they are elected or installed.

And still, this will not solve the inherent cultural problems of petty political biases that are killing the growth of the Bahamas, Change the system of Administering the Bahamas will not change the perception that the Bahamas is not a true country; it's corrupt and does not function in the interest of "its people", verbatim.

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