On his Birthday, National Holiday, Reflection on MLK and the Caribbean
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, January 20, 2023 – Celebrated on the third Monday of January each year, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a public holiday now in its 40th year created in remembrance of one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time; but many are unaware of the Caribbean connections to King and the US civil rights movement itself.
Martin Luther King Jr, widely considered one of the greatest orators in American history is known for his part in representing his fellow African Americans and walking alongside them in their mission to being considered equal citizens under the law at the highest and lowest stages in the US; from Selma Alabama to the White House. At the same time King credits a Caribbean man, Jamaican National Hero, Marcus Garvey, as a major influence on his life’s philosophy.
“Marcus Garvey was the first Man of Colour in the history of the United States to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions to Negroes and make the Negro feel he was somebody,” King said.
King also had several notable visits to the Caribbean. It was on a visit to the island of Bimini, in The Bahamas that he wrote his 1965 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and in a visit to Jamaica in that same year that he expressed his love for Caribbean society.
“In Jamaica I feel like a human being” he explained, citing a recurring love for the majority black country that was free; a trait shared with much of the Caribbean. The Jamaica Observer quotes him as saying
“I was impressed by one thing. Here you have people from many national backgrounds: Chinese, Indians, so-called Negroes, and you can just go down the line— And they say, ‘Here in Jamaica we are not Chinese, we are not Japanese, we are not Indians, we are not Negroes, we are not Englishmen, we are not Canadians. But we are all one big family of Jamaicans. One day, here in America, I hope that we will see this and we will become one big family of Americans”
It was there that he settled for a short time to complete one of his greatest work: Where Do We Go From Here. He also visited Puerto Rico during his travels.
King had an enduring appreciation for the Caribbean, which both inspired and motivated him; referenced in the fondness of his speech regarding the region that remembers him as a shared hero among all the people of the Americas.
Photo Caption: During one of his visits to Nassau, Bahamas, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured with the late Sir Randol Fawkes, a lawyer and politician who was often referred to as “The Father of Labor” for the work that he did in establishing the trade union movement in The Bahamas. Photo: Bahamas Chronicle
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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