March 8, 2017
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ALICIA WALLACE: We won’t get everything right and the shopping strategy has sparked the panic it’s meant to avoid
Following the weekend lockdown on short notice, introduction of a grocery shopping schedule and the announcement of a complete shutdown from Wednesday night to Tuesday morning was no great surprise.
We are almost two weeks into our new and temporary way of living. It has been extended, as many of us expected, and it is in our best interest to follow the guidelines provided.
COVID-19 is forcing us to change the way we live. It demands that we change our behaviour in order to stop the spread of the virus. We are not yet taking it as seriously as we should. We should not have waited for a confirmed case before taking action, especially when we have thousands of people moving in and out of the country, directly engaging with a large proportion of our population through the tourism industry.
Last week was quite busy as I worked with the all-volunteer team of Equality Bahamas to plan and execute our annual International Women’s Day events.
We all want the best for ourselves. We want to make enough – or more than enough – money. We want good health. Mobile devices, internet and food delivery are more common than they have been in past years. As time goes on, our “bare minimum” list gets longer. We are quite certain that we deserve it. There are times, however, when it seems we do not believe we deserve the best, but other people do. However unintentionally, we frequently elevate the opinions and comfort of others above our own.
The recent kerfuffle about $100 is almost laughable.
Everyone is talking now, just as they were before, but with voices that are a little louder. It almost seems as though there is less fear. Memories are being jogged as stories are spilling and judgments are being made. People are finally saying, in spaces where more people can hear them, that they knew at least a part of what was allegedly happening behind the walls at Peter Nygard’s Lyford Cay home.
This past weekend, my father celebrated his birthday and we marked the occasion by attending his church. I realised, not for the first time, that it was quite easy to go through the motions of sitting and standing, responding when prompted and follow the entire service without aid. Years of weekly attendance with my great-grandmother ensured that, not only was the mass cemented into my memory, but several versions of it.
Super Bowl LIV has come and gone, the Kansas Chiefs celebrating their win over the San Francisco 49ers. Conversation continues about the televised event with focus on at least four areas – the US president’s tweet placing the team in the state of Kansas when it is actually in Missouri, boring commercials, Jay Z and Beyonce sitting during the national anthem - and the half-time show. As always, people have a lot to say about the latter. Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, Latina performers known for both singing and dancing, shared a stage for the first time.
Whether at work, school, or other institutions, we all have to, at some point and with some regularity, attend meetings. Assemblies, check-ins, updates, services, training and conferences all bring us to a space with other people with connections to the institution or topic at hand.
It is not a holiday season without Junkanoo. To miss the Valley, Roots, One Family and Saxons on Bay Street is to be asleep for the entire season.
There is, quite possibly, nothing more blissful than living alone. Everything is where you left it, you have the quiet time you need when you get in from a long day, the bed is all yours, and no one is making your bills even higher.
ALICIA WALLACE: Human rights are not something to fight for, they are something we already have - even Haitians
We are all born free and equal. We are all entitled to human rights. We all have the right to life, freedom and safety. Gender, race, nationality, class and education level are non-factors. We do not have to earn human rights. There are inherently ours.
It is, unfortunately, not unusual for Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers to insult the Bahamian people, especially in their bids to excuse their own actions.
Monday marked the beginning of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence and was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. We all know the numbers. One in three women experiences violence in her lifetime. Though they may not have shared their stories with us, we all know people who have been affected by gender-based violence, having experienced it themselves or witnessed it.
As the end of the calendar year approaches, it is important to take time for self-reflection and self-assessment, especially for those who use the Gregorian calendar for setting goals and try to commit to new year’s resolutions.
Group work is one of the most dreaded parts of high school and university for anyone who cares about earning good grades and fair share of input. I remember complaining about group work and how it would affect my grades, emphasizing my preference for being solely responsible for my academic outcomes.
What is the value of a human life? How do we decide who deserves what? This is often a part of national conversations, though not explicitly stated.
There are a number of life skills we either learn on our own, usually through trial and error, or suffer continuously for not having learned. They are not taught in school, though they should be, and our parents fail to impart certain kinds of knowledge because they do not have it, do not know how to share it, or it has not occurred to them that certain skills are critical and need to be taught.
It was recently confirmed that Pride celebrations will be held in The Bahamas in October 2020. It is no surprise this announcement was closely followed by homophobic rhetoric, proclamations that The Bahamas is a Christian nation and that we should remain focused on hurricane relief and nothing else.
With Member of Parliament for Centreville Reece Chipman’s departure from the Free National Movement, there is been quite a bit of talk about loyalty.
Mandatory evacuation, on the surface, seems like a good idea. It is for everyone’s safety, right? We want to ensure the government can legislate for our safety particularly when we expect disaster will strike. We need to know people in the most vulnerable areas not only have somewhere else to go, but are compelled to go.
WE are consumed by our private lives. In many ways, we see our lives and experiences as synonymous with the Bahamian experience or the human experience.
HURRICANE relief work continues with donations coming in, needs changing, and systems being imagined, debated and, in fewer cases, created.
THE past two weeks have gone by quickly, but the beginning of relief efforts feels like it is in the distant past.
Grief is a beast like no other. It is unpredictable, unwieldy and unwanted. We often do not know how to deal with it, whether it is our own or someone else’s.
Race is a difficult subject to broach in almost any space or circumstance, and particularly challenging when participants are in denial about the ways it impacts our lives.
This week, I am catching up with a friend who lives in New York. She has two children - 13 and ten - who attend the Waldorf school where she works as a teacher.
THE ALICIA WALLACE COLUMN: Let us know when the lights are going off and at least we can plan around it
Bahamas Power and Light held a press conference on Sunday, and while many of us tuned in, none of us have better information that we had before.
We are ageing, living longer and it is does not seem like we realise it.
Money is a complicated topic of discussion. It is, in many ways, taboo to talk about money in real terms. We can comfortably talk about high prices, sales and taxation, but it is more difficult to discuss, in concrete terms, salaries, expenses and what we can and cannot afford.
How often do you think about the power you have? As a parent, employer, or citizen, you have a certain amount of power that people who are not in the same position do not.
The commitment has been made to ban single-use plastic in The Bahamas by next year. There have been a few mentions in the media since 2018, but I have not seen much happening to prepare the public for the changes to come.
Following the shooting of 15 people at a party in Montel Heights where the intended target ran into the crowd, the Commissioner of Police said: “I feel safe and I think you feel safe.” This is a puzzling statement, particularly given the incident being discussed.
We know it happens and with greater frequency during the summer months, but we are frustrated by the disruption and inconvenience of electricity outages.
MICAL MP Miriam Emmanuel has been the talk of the town since her inability to read a seven-figure number in Parliament last week.
I know very few people in Nassau who do not hate driving. I know some who plan their days around peak traffic times, some who get someone else to drive, some who play a particular genre of music to keep themselves calm and some who complain about it every single time they have to do it.
There is reluctance to recognise children as whole people with a range of emotions they have to learn to recognise and handle and their own likes and dislikes in addition to the need for guidance, education and discipline.
Last week, on the heels of Bishop Simeon Hall’s call for the church to take a strong position against sexual violence and his distinction between rape and sex, the president of the Bahamas Christian Council contradicted it with reckless remarks meant to turn people against Carnival.
Bishop Simeon Hall recently called on the church to take a stance against sexual violence, specifically including acts within families and marriage. He made a distinction between the desire for sex and the attempt to gain power which leads to sexual violence. Hall also correctly made the connection between the dehumanisation of women and failure to see us as valuable people, noting society must value women in order for sexual violence rates to go down.
Opportunities are everywhere. We tell each other to go out and seize them all the time, but many of them already have names and addresses.
Disasters intrigue us. We are interested in how the fire started, who was targetted and why it took so long for help to come. Some become amateur detectives, trying to find motive. Some are self-appointed jury members and judges, deciding who did what and what they deserve as punishment. Not much time passes between freak accidents and terrorist attacks, especially when we have international news at our fingertips. There is always something to theorise, obsess, pray and argue over.
I remember being told, over and over again: “It’s not what you say. It’s how you say it.” Hearing it now brings back memories of being told my delivery was more important than the message. Though I have learned the importance of considering the audience, I still rail against tone policing and the dismissiveness that meets nonconventional delivery that defies neocolonial norms.
Fights happen in schools all the time. I went to a high school known for its Christian mandate and inflexibility.
The Economic Empowerment Zone programme launched in the Over-the-Hill community seems to be going nowhere fast with only 17 applications for concessions. It is perplexing that this was presented as a poverty alleviation initiative given its emphasis on businesses rather than households, individuals and vulnerable communities.
The current administration has not been popular - and that may be an understatement.
Last week Friday was International Women’s Day, and several events were held in Nassau and other cities all over the world. It was interesting to see what agencies, organisations and individuals did in their acknowledgement of the internationally recognised day.
International Women’s Day is on Friday, and this year’s theme is Balance for Better. The theme is broad enough to capture any number of issues, from equality in the workplace to legal reform.
Our system of governance and political party structures and systems need work.
Dozens of Commonwealth government leaders and advisers are attending the Equality and Justice Forum in Cape Town, South Africa hosted by the Equality & Justice Alliance (EJA) this week.
We have never talked much about human rights. When the topic comes up, it is often in reference to the right to life and liberty.
CULTURE CLASH: Remember – We came from the same place, were deposited on different pieces of rock, enslaved and forced into new ways of seeing, believing and being
People leave their homes for many reasons. Some leave to further their education, to find work, or to gain experience through training programmes and internships.
Jobs. That seems to be the magic word - and politicians know it. “More jobs” is the promise of all promises and we hear it often, especially during election season and when the electorate is dissatisfied. It was no surprise when this was a major focus of the prime minister’s national address.
Recent events have led to conversations about hate speech over the past few weeks.
The “breakdown of the family” has been blamed for everything from national examination results to the murder rate. There is generally no data to support the claims when they are made, but we largely agree something is wrong with the home environment. The family is a small, foundational unit that helps to shape many other groups, so it is logical to assume it affects them, doesn’t it?
Surviving R. Kelly, a docu-series on the R&B singer’s alleged abuse of women, aired on Lifetime over the past two weeks and, as expected, sparked heated debate.
We’re only two days in, so of course excitement about the new year is still in the air. It still feels like we have a lot of time and can do anything.
It is not uncommon to experience and hear about difficulty accessing government services.
How many times do you apologise in week? For stepping on someone’s foot, bumping into someone, hurting someone’s feelings, or failing to follow through on a commitment, we often have to say we are sorry. Apologies do not immediately repair damage, but they are not just words.
We are plagued by the desire for a hero. When anything goes wrong, we look for someone to save the day.
Protests are always political. They do not have to be partisan, but most of them end up being aligned with a political party, if only by perception.
Most of us have to work. We do not have to like it, but we do have to show up and perform tasks as assigned by whoever calls the shots. We labour in exchange for compensation which includes a salary or wages. While this is the only form of compensation some of us receive, others have health insurance, pension plans, gas allowances and discounts.
We have a systems problem. Systems are not just machines or procedures for high-level tasks, but include the timing of traffic lights, the passport renewal application process and the dissemination of information.
The Arawaks were a peace-loving people, they say. Our history books place the Arawaks in direct opposition to Caribs who, we were taught, were violent. Some books even say they were cannibals.
The Government of The Bahamas faced review by the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee during the 71st session at the United Nations in Geneva. The review followed the submission of the State’s report on progress made since the last submission, tabling of shadow reports by three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — one of which is publicly available — and oral statements and a private meeting with NGOs.
The Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), commonly known as women’s bill of rights, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979.
Safe, reliable public transportation is not often a national discussion. We do, however, talk about it among ourselves, especially if we depend on it to any degree. Those who use public transportation regularly are both well aware of the challenges of the system (if we can call it a system) and skilled in making it work anyway.
We watched another one bite the dust on Monday, over and over again. It instantly became a where-were-you-when moment. The videos and pictures seem endless and I imagine people return to them to experience the thrill, again, of what was once Crystal Palace crumbling before their eyes. It is not often we see demolitions in The Bahamas, so this was quite the spectacle. As the dust settles, many people are sharing memories of Crystal Palace, from teenage sleepovers to working night shifts. The demolition, as some have said, was the end of an era.
After being found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault of Andrea Constand, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years yesterday. Prosecutors and defence attorneys agreed to merge the three counts to one sentence. Cosby’s attorney had asked for house arrest given his age and legal blindness.
Political and electoral reform has been a hot topic for years. It is one of the few things we all agree is needed in The Bahamas. Here I am referring to changes to the system of governance, elections and representation at the government level as well as within political parties.
When I became aware of Venus and Serena Williams, my interest in tennis increased exponentially. Andre Agassi and Stefi Graf were fine to watch, but it was exciting to see, not only girls, but black girls on the courts. They played tennis and they did it well.
Home ownership is not easy. It is no walk in the park to look for, purchase, build, or maintain a house. Anyone who has gone through the process, or even attempted it, knows this and has anecdotes to share. There is nothing simple about it.
The BPL debacle has been interesting to watch. Every day, another layer is peeled back, exposing not only what has transpired behind the scenes, but the motivations of individuals.
We all need service and we want it to be fast and inexpensive. Some of us want it to be friendly too and responsive to our every need. For any given service in The Bahamas - and in Nassau in particular - we would be fortunate to get two out of four.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis confirmed on Monday the government intends to buy the Grand Lucayan hotel properties — Memories, Breaker’s Cay, and Lighthouse Pointe — which closed for repairs following Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Close to 1,000 people lost their jobs and Lighthouse Pointe was the only property to reopen, now employing approximately 320 people. The decision to purchase, of course, has drawn mixed reviews from the Bahamian people. The announcement comes at an odd time, following the 60 percent increase in Value Added Tax and the $90,000 cut in school uniform assistance.
Following the holiday weekend the country is abuzz with news of the injunction granted by Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson. The injunction pauses utility disconnections and evictions by the government until there is a judicial review of the government’s plan to bulldoze shanty towns.
Immigration is a tough topic.
Last week, Super Value president Rupert Roberts said the company will no longer provide enhanced maternity costs. The company practices a form of self-insurance, setting money aside to cover medical costs rather than engaging an insurance company which could cost more money. It has decided to discontinue maternity payments it makes which are on top of the statutory requirement in order to have more money available for catastrophic illness and life-saving treatment.
We spend a fair amount of time in preparation. We set goals, plan our futures and work toward becoming the versions of ourselves we imagine.
NO matter how low we set our expectations, there seems to be surprise, embarrassment, and frustration at every turn. There has not been much to celebrate in recent weeks, the increase in Value Added Tax bringing a muddy tinge to our reality. It puts
VALUE Added Tax will be increased to twelve percent in a matter of days, and many of us are still trying to figure out how to make it work. Adjustments have to be made, some on a daily basis, but this does not mean we have to be uncomfortable. It mea
THE world of partisan politics is never dull. The Budget Communication certainly makes for a lively few weeks, full of debate, pontification, and a range of emotions. It is probably the time we are most attentive to the government and political manoe
I KNOW people with mental health challenges, some of whom are getting professional help and others who cannot afford it, do not want anyone else to know what they are going through, or do not think it would help. I have received phone calls and in-pe
Bahamians tuned in to the Budget Communication in Parliament last Wednesday with great interest. After laying out a number of supposed benefits to the Bahamian people, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest showed the price tag. The FNM administration intends to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) by 60 percent, taking it up from 7.5 percent to 12 percent on July 1. It expects this tax hike to increase revenue by $400m in the next fiscal year.
On May 24, 2018, Barbados elected its first female prime minister. Mia Amor Mottley led the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) to victory, winning over 74 percent of the votes. This election brought an end to ten years of governance by the Democratic Labour Party (DPL) led by Freundel Stuart since 2010. The BLP won all 30 seats in the House of Assembly—a first in the country’s history. Political parties in The Bahamas should look at the BLP’s campaign and collateral as there is a great deal that can be learned and practiced.
Of all the movies in theatres, plays on stage and weddings all over the world, none drew attention to match that of the royal wedding on Saturday. People set alarms and woke up early to spot celebrities, critique the wedding dress, give meaning to Queen Elizabeth II’s expressions and see the way Prince Harry and Meghan Markle looked at each other during the ceremony in St George’s Chapel.
We are supposed to be strong; there for everyone at any time.
We are not short on opinions about Bahamas Carnival. From the announcement four years ago, it was a point of division. Between the Junkanoo vs Carnival debate and the desperate appeals from the church, the event has always been controversial and polarising.
Most of us know Bill Cosby as Heathcliff Huxtable. He is a doctor married to lawyer Clair Huxtable and father of five children. He is a funny, playful character with endearing eccentricity. Everyone loves Cliff, and wishes he could be their father. The Cosby family was aspirational, and The Cosby Show gave us somewhere to be when our own lives, homes and families did not quite manage to bring us joy.
At the G20-OECD conference, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov said: “Corruption is a global threat. It is a serious roadblock to economic development. Corruption aggravates inequity and injustice and undermines stability, especially in the world’s most vulnerable regions.”
When we talk about leadership, we usually point to government as an example. The Prime Minister is seen as the ultimate leader. There is no one with more control. No one with greater power. No one with more responsibility. No one in a more important position. No one more unquestionable or beyond reproach. No one more silencing, domineering or undoubtedly correct. The prime minister is synonymous with leadership.
Physical violence is an undeniable issue in The Bahamas.
What are you concerned about today? What is at the top of your list of qualms, battles to fight and issues to raise? It is always interesting to see what demands attention, riles us up and pushes us to take action. For so long we have been taking what has been dished out, finding ways to work around disadvantageous systems, and complaining in small circles.
Transforming Spaces — an annual art bus tour in Nassau, Bahamas — was last weekend, and I took too long to purchase a ticket. It sold out quickly and so I was left to either sulk, or make my own way from gallery to gallery to see the work of Bahamian artists.
It is rare for a news item to bring concerned pause. Our positions are usually clear; we care or we don’t care, and then we choose a side.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Press for Progress. The annual year-long campaign inspires people all over the world to consider the issues women face year-round, think about solutions and bring people together to take action for change.
Social justice is, at the moment, an imagined future where wealth and opportunities are justly distributed. It is a world free of oppression and barriers due to gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality, or all other identity markers.
It’s open season, but don’t worry. They’ll only kill the people they recognise, and only if they’re afraid. The Royal Bahamas Police Force is on a mission and no one cares to intervene.
I’ve seen and heard about people lamenting the ongoing discussion about women’s human rights specific to our bodies.
The US has been a major influence on The Bahamas for a long time. Proximity and tourism are not the only reasons.
We often talk about leadership. It is a hot topic on the radio, at church, within civic groups, in politics, in schools and at conferences and training sessions. Everyone has wisdom to impart on the subject. We are not likely to ever come to a consensus on whether leaders are born or made, but can all see there are skills every leader needs to have and hone.
Coming out of a year of sitting around, watching and questioning, 2018 has to be a year of collective action.
At this time of year, before looking forward and making plans for a better, more productive and successful year, it is wise to review the previous 12 months.
We need to talk about consent. Most of us understand it to mean permission. Parents and guardians signing forms to allow children to participate in extracurricular activities probably comes to mind. We don’t think about consent as a way of controlling and protecting our own bodies. Instead, we view the bodies of women and girls as public property.
As the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence continues, most people working in the fields of gender and violence prevention are attending events ranging from special assemblies at high schools to conferences. At these events, we see and engage, for the most part, the same people. We sit through presentations on the same material, listen to the same comments and have the same sidebars with the people we talk to every time we meet in these spaces.
Gender-based violence is a pervasive issue that often goes unrecognised and unchecked. We all know it exists, but our understanding of it can be quite limited in scope and type.
We have a media and communications problem in The Bahamas. Some would have us believe this is a reflection of the competence and work ethic of journalists, avoiding their own responsibility.
We, the Bahamian people, are frequent victims of the bait and switch. Parties in opposition agree with us, promise to represent our positions, then forget about us once they have consent to govern on our behalf.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced last week the current administration will amend legislation in order to allow Bahamian women to automatically transfer citizenship to their children at birth in the same way Bahamian men already do.
ONCE again a video of high school students has made its rounds on social media.
ACCORDING to tabloid reports, a Progressive Liberal Party stalwart councillor said at a leadership candidacy event that Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin needed to know her place was in the kitchen. Perhaps more unfortunate than the statement was the
#MeToo — a campaign started by actor Alyssa Milano encouraging women to let people know they have experienced sexual harassment or assault has populated social media with evidence of the pervasiveness of sexual violence.
Everyone is talking about leadership. While people battle for top positions in households, corporations, and countries we redefine and re-conceptualize leadership in response to community needs, mindset changes and shifts in power dynamics.
Crime is never off our minds for very long. News reports, stories from friends, social media evidence and personal experiences guarantee our awareness and vigilance.
WHAT makes you think you’re so smart? Maybe you got a few As and Bs on your national exams, maintained a decent GPA, got into your first choice university, landed a great job with a fancy title, or get a lot of likes on your lengthy Facebook posts.
WHEN we talk about climate change, it is often in limited, abstract ways. Climate change is not just about the temperature, land mass, or sea levels. The effects of climate change include economic loss, changes in atmospheric concentration, and cult
THE past week has been hectic and panic-filled as the country prepared for Hurricane Irma which we expected to impact more islands and people than it did. We rushed to stores to buy food, water, ice, plywood, and all of the other supplies demanded b
EVERY year around this time, the entire country is frustrated by the BJC and BGCSE results. The “national average” becomes a measure of our worth and indicator of success, both present and future. For the past decade, this “national average” based o
The Bahamas Christian Council has long been a source of frustration due to its intentional influence on congregations, lack of citizen-centred action, and the subsequent power it holds over governments (once again affirmed in the Prime Minister’s national address and the promise of Crown Land). It is a body of religious leaders representing various denominations that only seem to make an appearance when convenient for the egos of its membership. It does not have a consistent social or political presence, even as the country faces pressing issues.
The results of the 2017 general election left The Bahamas in good spirits. Many of us have been in celebration mode for months, and insistent that we all temper our demands with patience and manage our expectations of the new FNM-led administration.
“Talkin’ to people bad” is the Bahamian way. That’s what they want us to believe. We play into the narrative that to be Bahamian is to be abrasive, rude, and condescending without second thought, apology, or recompense. We imagine that adulthood give
AS social justice issues become more mainstream, the number of activists, advocates, and allies is steadily increasing. People are more involved in conversations about gender, race, class, migration, and a variety of other issues with social media as
THE past few years in The Bahamas have given us many things to think about. Our dissatisfaction mounting, too many of us found ourselves unable to act. Members of Parliament did not disclose, and we were outraged. We made the time and effort to vote
It’s the people’s time. Believe in Bahamians. Forward, upward, onward, together.
With the general election one week away, the last debate organised by University of The Bahamas’ School of Social Sciences held last night and all plans of the three major parties published on their websites, it’s decision time.
Everyone wants to be entertained.
According to reports from the Parliamentary Registration Department, 141,698 people had registered to vote as at March 20 for the 2017 general election .
As the general election of 2017 - date still unknown - draws near, conversations about democracy are being ignited, but largely limited to one of its functions.
TODAY is International Women’s Day, a day for global recognition of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call to action for gender equality.