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March 24, 2009

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Erasmus Folly

Great article Larry. If you happen to speak with Marquis, please thank him for his 'Insight' pieces and for letting the cat out of the hat and starting the discussion. Cheers to you both!

I think 'Get Up, Stand Up' by Bob Marley may be apropos. I have added the lyrics at the bottom for further thought.

Bahamians need to realize that the Pindling legacy is more a question of 'character' than 'race'. The PLP wants Bahamians to believe that it is about 'race' and that the 'father of the nation' was a 'good' man who did nothing but 'good' for his people. This is a gross simplification and tells only 'half' the story. To fight for your rights, you need to know the full story.

Pindling peaceably, constitutionally and with respect for the rule of law, led the noble crusade for democracy and majority rule. That period, from the start of majority rule to the establishment of independence, is most praiseworthy. In fact, the Bahamian transition from white oppression to majority rule, is something that all Bahamians should study with great pride. During the turbulent 60's and 70's, this country achieved a great thing and did so without the interruption of parliament or the constitutional process. It gave the Bahamas a lasting legacy of respect for the rule of law. That tradition needs to be safeguarded, as it is the bedrock of our international standing, but has been slipping of late. Stable politics is built on the rule of law. Stable politics allows for investment, foreign confidence and good relations with the major powers.

By 1975 though, that noble impetus was lost to the all consuming power of the dollar and the drug trade. Pindling clearly began to put private interest above public. Power corrupts and human nature is what it is. It could happen to anyone. It is not race, but character and his character was shown to be deeply flawed. Whether he was white or black was immaterial in light of his actions... and Bahamians need to move away from judging 'black Bahamian actions' and 'white Bahamian actions' and just judging 'Bahamian actions'.

The other day, a Bahamian wrote in to the Tribune that there was no such thing as racism from blacks to others. I laughed and cried at the same time upon reading that. It is pure nonsense to allege something so ridiculous. Racism isn't black or white, it is the simple belief that the 'race' or 'colour of a person's skin/hair/etc' is the starting point for evaluating behaviour. It is the belief that there is some innate, inherent difference between a 'black' and a 'white' or a 'yellow' and a 'red' that allows one to predict or understand their behaviour. This is utter nonsense. For someone to honestly believe that there is 'white behaviour' and 'black behaviour' is the starting point of racism. I just see 'behaviour'. I see 'smart' or 'stupid', 'ignorant' or 'informed', 'well mannered' or 'vulgar'. Those are the REAL categories and that is called CHARACTER.

Most Bahamians seem to operate on that wave length these days, but the PLP and a select few seem to want to keep us in the past, to keep alive the old divides and to exploit those for political gain. The truth about Pindling must be known. Bahamians must be aware that a GREAT MAN, fell so low, so that they understand a simple lesson - it can happen to anyone who loses touch with their values and gets caught up by greed, fast money and the high life.

That is the lesson/legacy of Pindling. A person is defined by their actions, not by their titles or status. Pindling did many good actions, but he did a lot of bad as well. The mature Bahamian will acknowledge both and understand both and watch for 'both' again. Ingraham can't be in power forever, lest the same corruption begin to affect him. That is the whole point of democratic government - to constantly allow for a 'change' in government, so as to prevent that corrupting factor of long held power.

So Bahamians, remember, "none but ourselves can free our minds."

Get Up, Stand Up by RN Marley

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: dont give up the fight!

Preacherman, dont tell me,
Heaven is under the earth.
I know you dont know
What life is really worth.
Its not all that glitters is gold;
half the story has never been told:
So now you see the light, eh!
Stand up for your rights. come on!

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: dont give up the fight!
Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: dont give up the fight!

Most people think,
Great God will come from the skies,
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth,
You will look for yours on earth:
And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights. jah!

Get up, stand up! (jah, jah!)
Stand up for your rights! (oh-hoo!)
Get up, stand up! (get up, stand up!)
Dont give up the fight! (life is your right!)
Get up, stand up! (so we cant give up the fight!)
Stand up for your rights! (lord, lord!)
Get up, stand up! (keep on struggling on!)
Dont give up the fight! (yeah!)

We sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game -
Dyin n goin to heaven in-a jesus name, lord.
We know when we understand:
Almighty God is a living man.
You can fool some people sometimes,
But you cant fool all the people all the time.
So now we see the light (what you gonna do? ),
We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)

So you better:
Get up, stand up! (in the morning! git it up!)
Stand up for your rights! (stand up for our rights!)
Get up, stand up!
Dont give up the fight! (dont give it up, dont give it up!)
Get up, stand up! (get up, stand up!)
Stand up for your rights! (get up, stand up!)
Get up, stand up! ( ... )
Dont give up the fight! (get up, stand up!)
Get up, stand up! ( ... )
Stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up!
Dont give up the fight! /fadeout/

John Hinchliffe

Yup...a powerful resume of the 1980's...and all true,about that I have no doubt.
My problem was having to deal with Edward St.George who felt that 'Ping' was not involved...he also put it to me that Noriega was free of 'narco-taint'!...unbelievable!
I count myself as one of the 'walking wounded' from the 80's and got targetted by the 'Provisional' PLP.Come mid-1988 it was time to leave Freeport.

don britton

Let us be honest. Pindling served himself. It is no surprize to anyone who was around the Bahamas at that time. He used race to blind Bahamians such as the speech "we need to learn what we can from the white man and then throw him out" and other comments to distract from his crooked dealings. He was excellent at using the Bahamian popular "race card" to distact and dupe the average citizen. Let's not forget one of first things he did as prime minister. And that was giving a million Dollar government contract for garbage removal to a relative, remember that? The garbage was never, or very very seldom picked up. That was minor compared to what he did eventually. At some time history will also show that Arthur Hanna was no angel either. No one could be dumb enought to be is his position at that time and not know what was going on. And lets face it. When talking about racism,the people black Bahamians disliked the most where black American tourists, which is understandable because of their treatment of the " inferior natives". Pindlings corruption is nothing new whatsoever. Then and now in the Bahamas and all over the world money is corrupting many. People must accept the fact in order to fix it and not try and make a hero out of a self serving con man like L.O. Pindling.

Juan Taylor

I'm the grandson of Sir Henry Taylor. I was in the U.S. for much of the time mentioned, so I never got a real picture of what was going on. Your article just made it perfectly clear for me. Brilliantly done.

Justina

I felt that during the 1980's with drug was on the rise, that was a ample time for Prime Minister Pindling to go and tell the American Senate that their country was be supplied with drugs from Colombia. He would of been hailed as a hero and viewed differently today. It is sad that he took the easy way out....

Sean Rolle

The points in your article may be true but equally villianous in Bahamian history is the opression of the masses by the Bay Street Boys.
Interestinly, Mr.Marquis or yourself(I stand to be corrected) have never addressed Sir Stafford Sands and Etienne Dupuch's dealings with Myer Lansky(mafia operative)as it relates to casino gambling in Freeport.
There were probaly a lot of other stuff too nefarious to mention that were illegal that white Bahamian leaders were involved with that the partisan press never address.
For all of your learning I really find you guys extremely partisan,racist and humourous.

larry smith

Read the following post I wrote about the 1967 controversies featuring the UBP:

http://www.bahamapundit.com/2008/07/storm-brewing-i.html

Or the following about the 1958 general strike featuring the UBP:

http://www.bahamapundit.com/2008/08/privatisation-a.html

All grist for the mill as far as I am concerned. But those events are longer ago in history.

The Pindling sell-out to foreign gansgters is the subject of a current controversy in which the PLP are seeking to deny history.

Nothing is ever black or white.

madian

Great Article. I was born in 85 so I am really curious about this time in our history. I wish that I can somehow get the video of the newstory NBC did on Norman's Cay.

Erasmus Folly

@ Sean Rolle

The pot calling the kettle black (or white, whatever have you) is great, but the Bahamian people need to move past that. Those issues you have raised have been raised many times before, and by Larry as well. Stafford Sands legacy has been 'disgraced' thoroughly and his 'contribution' put into perspective as well. He is the 'father' of the tourism/banking economic pillars, but he also was a white supremacist and had an imperialistic/colonialist attitude. Those are the facts. Now it is Pindling's turn. His contributions towards majority rule and Independence are unquestioned and need to be remembered, but his drug taint needs to be remembered as well, because it is precisely the lesson that the great can fall and do evil that must be learned and learned well in a democracy. The point is, black or white, hispanic or Asian - it makes no difference - power and money corrupt all alike and we, as Bahamians, need to LEARN and ADOPT that HISTORIC lesson into our psyches and into our culture so as to hold ALL of our leaders, past, current and future, ACCOUNTABLE. History is only useful if it helps to prevent the same mistakes of the past.

The racism and greed that poisoned Sir Stafford is the same evil that poisoned Sir LOP. Bahamians need to learn that that evil sees no colour and knows no cultural barriers. It is ready to infect anyone at anytime and we must be vigilant to ensure that it doesn't set hold in our democracy, because that is the single greatest threat to our peace, prosperity and happiness - our lack of vigilance towards our politicians - no matter their race or creed - and their lack of accountability - no matter their race or creed. Human behaviour is human behaviour - colour doesn't make it anything different. Each person has strengths and weaknesses, great contributions to make and terrible short comings, we must be wise to that fact and look for the leaders who have the best balance and inner strength to guard against it themselves.

Roxann

Have you done a story on Lighthouse point In eleuthera... Have you seen the plans of development of Jorge Perez Developer in Miami that is in debt by millions.. www lighthousebahamas.com/brochure.html you will see the before and then go to his map after.... Heleport and marines.. will distroy this Jewel that will never be again.. it needs to be a national park... but what does one do..

Sean Rolle

@Erasmus Folly:

I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing your point of view. Thank you Larry Smith also.

My view of Marquis doesn't change however. I guess that you can't blame the guy for lacking balance if his employer's familial past was also tainted with corruption.

Let's watch this Judge Lyons fiasco to see how this plays out.

Erasmus Folly

@ Sean Rolle

What, specifically, do you think is 'bad' about Marquis and his writing? I don't think he is the best writer per se, but I think he has done a tremendous service to this country over the past 25 years. We actually have a decent newspaper for a Banana Republic in the sun. I am genuinely most curious.

Also, as far as things go, the Tribune, while far from perfect, has done the most, as an institution, to make sure that our politicians and officials are on the straight and narrow. In theory, they are supposed to do it to one another - that is the whole idea of a Westminster parliament. These good ole' boys, again - black or white - makes little difference - don't really go at each other though. At least, not until there is some real blood in the water and it is obvious that the people are demanding action. Then, they know they better scapegoat someone and they do. If it wasn't for the Tribune, I shudder to think where we would be culturally, spiritually and politically in this Bahamaland of ours. Don't you? Again, I am genuinely curious. Can you think of another check on power that comes even close to what the Tribune has done? I can't. The Punch isn't taken seriously, the opposition (PLP or FNM) of the day is always indulging in hot air and dreaming of retaking power, but never does so in any substantive way, since neither party likes to tackle the REAL issues: education, the economy, the back log of the courts, corruption and tax/debt reduction programs. The church in this country has long since become either money making or power hungry - and more than not - in bed with the political class. So, what other institution could you suggest or recommend?

Cheers!

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