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BAHAMAS: Majority Rule Day Address by PM Hubert Minnis

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#Bahamas, January 10, 2018 – Nassau -Fellow Bahamians:

Half a century ago, when Bahamians voted into office the country’s first Majority Rule government, it marked a defining moment in our nation’s history.   Today we celebrate 51 years of Majority Rule.  We remember the core objectives of this movement: freedom, equality and democracy for all Bahamians.

Majority Rule Day commemorates the long struggle, and the day when the will of the majority of Bahamians was freely expressed in a general election.   This defining moment and historic accomplishment does not belong to any one political party or segment of our people.  It crosses all boundaries of party, economic class, race and gender.

Majority Rule belongs to all Bahamians!  We should celebrate this day as One Bahamas, as one people united in love and service to our Commonwealth.

The march to Majority Rule was a long, hard struggle.  Our House of Assembly is one of the oldest continuous parliaments in the world, having been established in 1729.   But while it is today the proud center-piece of our government, its creation did not make the then Colony of the Bahama Islands a full, functioning parliamentary democracy.   Slavery was still an institution in the colony, as indeed it was in other British territories.

While slavery was abolished in 1834 and men of color held a small number of seats in the House of Assembly since the 19th century, the majority of Bahamians still suffered from political, social and economic discrimination.   Political activism in The Bahamas can be traced back to the 1800s, when the Committee of the Free Colored petitioned the government of the day for the incremental attainment of civil rights.   Between 1942 and 1967, a series of significant events forever transformed the political and social landscape of the country.  The Burma Road Riot in 1942 was the beginning of a new political awareness in The Bahamas.

In 1953, the Progressive Liberal Party was formed as the first national political party, with William “Bill” Cartwright playing a central role in the development of party politics.   Sir Etienne Dupuch’s anti-discrimination resolution in the House of Assembly in 1956, was the catalyst for dismantling racial segregation in public places.

The General Strike of 1958, resulted in much-needed changes to the country’s labor laws and electoral representation. Four new parliamentary seats were provided for New Providence.   With this new political awareness and activism came a strong resolve to give a voice to every Bahamian, not just a privileged few.

It was not until January 10, 1967, that the House of Assembly represented for the Bahamian people what has been described as the fullness of democracy.   The intervening years witnessed many evolutionary changes, even revolutionary changes, before it became the legitimate expression of the will of all the Bahamian people.

In the middle of the 20th century the House was firmly under the control of an entrenched oligarchy, who maintained their stranglehold through unjust electoral laws and the brutal exercise of economic power.   It was then that a new generation of political leaders rose up to challenge the Old Guard and to bring pressure on the colonial power for change.

In the 1960s some of the worst aspects of the corrupt electoral system were changed and universal adult suffrage came to the Bahamas, with women voting for the first time in 1962.  So it was that in 1967 the Bahamian people finally voted out the oligarchy and opened a new era of democratic government.   We call that day Majority Rule Day.  It is a day that should be celebrated by all Bahamians because, among other things, revolutionary but peaceful change had come to the Bahamas.    A system that had to end one way or another, ended in a peaceful and orderly manner, and of that all Bahamians should be proud.

But Majority Rule did more than just bring an end to a patently unfair electoral system that prevented the majority of Bahamians from achieving true representation in the House of Assembly.

In the words of former Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes, one of those who served in the forefront of the movement for equality and social justice:

“Majority Rule removed the last psychological shackles from the minds of many.  It shattered false notions of superiority and inferiority; it initiated the fulfillment of the promise of universal access to education; it created the foundation upon which to build a society with opportunity for all.”

Fellow Bahamians:

As we honor this special day in our history we must also honor the many men and women who sacrificed and struggled to make this day possible.  Through their words they spoke for those who could not speak for themselves.   Through their actions they gave courage to the fearful.   Through their legacy these patriots serve as an inspiration for the nation, including for our children and young people.

Because such history is essential to who we are as a people, we must place greater emphasis on teaching history and civics in our schools.  We must also honor the Bahamian spirit and those who contribute to the common good.

Majority Rule Day honors the Bahamian spirit.  It serves as an important example of what Bahamians can achieve as a people committed to equality, freedom and democracy.  Let us celebrate this Day as One People, with a historic past and a shared future.

Thank you, and may God bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

 

Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis 

Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas

 

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Minister Moxey says partnerships for development will help get Grand Bahama going again

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#TheBahamas, November 27, 2021 – One means by which Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey plans to utilize every resource at her disposal to get things moving for Grand Bahama again, is to utilize partnerships for development.

“Success with these partnerships on our island are embedded in collaborative efforts between the ministry of Grand Bahama, other government ministries, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Hutchinson Whampoa Holdings Ltd., industry stakeholders and the business community at large,” explained Minister Moxey.

“We must unite and work together to build alliances for success with the ultimate goal of ensuring that Grand Bahama Island excels.  We are all in this together.”

The Minister’s remarks came during her keynote address at the ninth annual Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 at Pelican Bay resort. The event is held to honor Grand Bahamian business owners for their commitment, achievements and dedication to the development of the second city.

Minister Moxey pointed out that this year’s event, under the theme, celebration of excellence, acknowledges and highlights businesses on Grand Bahama that have stayed the course. She added that this kind of recognition is a beacon of hope for local business owners who have faced and overcame some of the most challenging circumstances ever encountered within the island’s history.

“On November first during my contribution on the bill to thank the Governor General for his Speech from the Throne, I pledged to the nation that I would do the people’s business and utilize every resource at my disposal, to get the job done for Grand Bahama,” said Minister Moxey.

“As a Grand Bahamian and business owner, I can attest to the challenges we have faced over the past decade. The devastation of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, which was closely followed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. It further strained our already fragile economy. Today’s administration is also well aware of the challenges that Grand Bahama has faced over the past decade. Nevertheless, we will deliver on our commitment to recover, rebuild and revolutionize our island, our economy and usher our people into the new day.

“I would like to thank all of the businesses represented today, that have kept their doors opened and our people employed. To all of the Business Excellence Award nominees, I congratulate you. Remain encouraged and know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“To the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, thank you for being a staple in the business community and for celebrating excellence for the past nine years. Welcome back business excellence awards.”

 

By Andrew Coakley

Photo Caption: Minister for Grand Bahama, Ginger Moxey (right), along with President of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce, Greg Laroda presents Mrs. Leslie Baptista, of Paint Fair, with the President’s Award, during the ninth annual GB Chamber of Commerce’s Business Excellence Awards Luncheon, which was held on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 at Pelican Bay resort.

(BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

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Invest Turks and Caicos Attended Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit

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#TurksandCaicos, November 24, 2021 – Invest Turks and Caicos (Invest TCI) is pleased to announce the Agency’s participation in the 10TH Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference & Operations Summit (CHICOS) held November 10th-12th, 2021, at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.

CHICOS is one of the premier hospitality conferences in the region. In its 10th year, this event brought together more than 300 regional and international investors and operators and the region’s leading decision makers – all to discuss the region’s markets and possibilities.

Invest TCI participated in the Caribbean Government Leaders plenary session on Friday, November 12th, alongside the Bahamas Investment Authority, Invest St. Lucia, and JAMPRO. The plenary discussions focused on the investment environment of Caribbean economies in a post covid environment under two key themes: diversification of the economy and tourism and the need for greater involvement of (and positive impact on) local communities.

Attending the summit on behalf of Invest TCI was Interim CEO, Angela Musgrove and Legal and Compliance Officer, Judith Garland.

Commenting on the summit, Ms. Garland stated, “I was delighted to represent the Agency at the 10th Anniversary edition of CHICOS. I found the sessions engaging, and the industry trends and knowledge imparted was most valuable. It was great to meet new faces and establish relationships with industry colleagues, which can present mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships in the future.

Interim CEO Angela Musgrove stated, “Invest TCI will continue to support and leverage industry conferences to promote opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This is the Agency’s 5th year attending CHICOS, and it has allowed us to directly engage with potential investors and prospects interested in doing business in the TCI. Through these types of events, the Agency can continue to proactively target new investment opportunities, lucrative partnerships, and financial opportunities that contribute to overall economic development.”

For more information on upcoming events, visit our website at investturksandcaicos.tc.

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Bahamian Para-Athlete Erin Brown to Become Godmother of RC’s Odyssey of The Seas

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#TheBahamas, November 24, 2021 – A Bahamian woman who lost her leg to cancer and went on to defy odds and inspire thousands will be named godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas. Erin Brown, a 41-year-old mother of two and a para-triathlete who cycles, runs, swims and competes at an international level, will accept the honour at a special ceremony in Florida later this week.

“From the moment we heard the story of Erin, how her courage and determination in the face of adversity inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a great candidate for godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “A godmother serves as the guiding spirit of the ship and brings good luck and safe travels to its crew and guests.”

While she was in college participating as a track and field athlete, Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma after suffering a fall that resulted in a broken leg. After more than a year of chemotherapy, her tumor showed no signs of shrinking, and Brown made the difficult decision to amputate her limb above the knee. Brown, who watched her own mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, knew she had to keep going because her child depended on her. She underwent surgery and woke up to one less leg. “Mind over matter,” she repeated. And then, she re-invented herself.

She said she recognizes now that her disability was a signal to start over. The first time she completed the 100-mile cycling event, Ride for Hope, raising money for cancer research, education and prevention, she led a group of adaptive athletes who heard the thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd that had witnessed the one-legged cyclist achieve what few with two legs could on the hilly terrain.

“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society. All those skills you had before – you still have them,” said Brown who has gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled and works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for the physically challenged.

“Having Erin as our godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas,” said Bayley. “Our company’s very first port of call outside the U. S. was to The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call and Perfect Day at CocoCay remains our top pick by our guests. We are excited about this ceremony and honouring our long-time partners, as well as the newest Bahamian flagged ship in our fleet.”

 

Photo Caption: Erin Brown, who calls herself a limb-difference individual, will be named the first Bahamian Godmother of a Royal Caribbean International vessel when she presides over the naming of Odyssey of the Seas.

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