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The preamble of a constitution is supposed to state the most basic principles and aspirations of a nation state. It provides those guiding principles after which a people in a democratic state will strive to realize through their collective endeavors. The purpose of the preamble is to underscore a sense of national identity and to express the core values and principles of the state and the people. It must therefore be refreshed from time to time to reflect the evolving expectations and aspirations of the state and people.
The Bahamas Constitution is introduced by a preamble, which asserts that the rediscovery of the Bahamian islands, rocks and cays heralded the rebirth of the new world. It continues that the people of The Bahamas recognize that the preservation of their freedom will be guaranteed by a commitment to self-discipline, industry, loyalty, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law.
The preamble then declares that the people of The Bahamas are a sovereign nation founded on principles, which recognize the sovereignty of God and faith in the fundamental human rights, and freedoms, based on moral and spiritual values, in the following words: "We the inheritors of and successors to this family of islands, recognizing the supremacy of God and believing in the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, do hereby proclaim in solemn praise the establishment of a free and democratic sovereign nation founded on spiritual values and in which no man, woman or child shall ever be slave or bondsman to anyone or their labor exploited or their lives frustrated by deprivation, and do hereby provide by these articles for the indivisible unity and creation under God of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas."
The preamble of the Bahamian constitution, I submit, has a number of weaknesses. First, there is no reference to the historical fact of 300 years of slavery of African people in The Bahamas, or the genocide of the Lucayan/Arawak people by the European presence, two critical aspects of the historical evolution of the Bahamian polity and society. Second, the preamble mischaracterizes the incorporation and colonization of The Bahamas into the triangular slave trade, initiated by and for the benefit of Europe, as "...rediscovery of this family of islands, rocks and cays heralded the rebirth of the New World."
Unlike in 1973 when the constitution was founded, The Bahamas today is more of a multi-religious society with, inter alia, Muslims, Baha?is, Buddhists, Rastafarians, etc. Therefore, the preamble of our constitution, as a historical and aspirational statement, should elaborate upon the inclusive term of "spiritual values" to better reflect the spirit and thinking of all of our people and the common identity and values of all Bahamians. Therefore, historical accuracy and the norm of non-discrimination and inclusiveness should be the guiding principles of a revised preamble of the Bahamian constitution.
Since 1973, The Bahamas has rapidly evolved into a full-service economy, with a highly urbanized population. The population is cosmopolitan, multi-racial and multi-ethnic. The contemporary African-Bahamian population comprises those who are descendants of the slaves who came with or were purchased by the loyalists and settlers, freed Africans, more recent West Indian immigrants and Haitian immigrants. All of these groups have blended to create the contemporary African-Bahamian population. The Bahamian population also comprises other ethnic groups such as the descendants of the loyalists, colonial administrators and settlers, and more recent immigrant groups such as the Greeks, Syrians, Chinese, Jews and Lebanese. All of these groups have made a significant contribution to the development of the modern Bahamas mosaic. Their descendants have been assimilated into the Bahamian society and reflect the multi-ethnic character of the contemporary Bahamas. Therefore, the preamble of our constitution should recognize the contributions of all the significant ethnic groups who have shaped our reality.
In order to better reflect the ideals and aspirations of our multi-ethnic Bahamian society, I propose that the preamble of the constitution be amended to include the following elements:
a) Affirm our commitment to the continuing observance of the principles of individual freedom and democratic government as our inalienable heritage.
b) Acknowledge that we have been blessed with leaders of vision, with artists, writers, musicians and athletes who have carried the name of our country with honor and glory throughout the world.
c) Salute the founders of the independent state of The Bahamas.
d) Acknowledge the progress which has been made in the post independent Bahamas.
e) Honor the contributions of the Lucayan/Arawaks, settlers, loyalists, Africans in slavery and freed Africans and more recent migrants to the development of The Bahamas and celebrate the survival of the African people in The Bahamas, as part of the African Diaspora, and affirm our relationship to the African continent.
f) Pay special tribute to our national heroes such as Pompey, Sir Milo Butler, Sir Lynden Pindling, Dame Doris Johnson, Sir Stafford Sands, etc.
g) Pay special tribute to the Suffrage Movement of The Bahamas, namely Mary Ingraham, Mable Walker, Georgianna Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart, Albertha Isaacs, Grace Wilson, Mildred Moxey, Ethel Kemp, Gladys Bailey, Madge Brown and Dr. Doris Johnson.
h) Reaffirm that the sovereignty of the Bahamian people and nation is founded upon principles of the dignity and worth of the human person, fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, social justice, the fundamental role of the family in a free society based on spiritual values.
i) Rededicate ourselves to the building of a democratic society founded upon respect for moral and spiritual values and upon the rule of law, in which the power of the government springs from the will of the people, legitimated by periodic free, fair and publicly financed elections based on universal adult suffrage.
j) Resolve that the national assets of the nation shall be preserved and used to promote the general welfare by fair access, with a proper regard for ability, integrity and merit.
k) Resolve to provide maximum opportunities for the development of the creative imagination and intellect of all Bahamians, based on entrepreneurship, innovation and employment opportunities under humane and just conditions.
l) Affirm that our Bahamian nationhood is nourished by our roots in the wider spiritual and cultural reality of the Caribbean region, and undertake to seek the closest forms of community with our sisters and brothers in the Caribbean.
m) Commit to cooperate with other nations in the quest for international peace and security and the promotion of universal respect for human rights and freedom.
I suggest that the foregoing statements may better express the current expectations and aspiration of the Bahamian people. The preamble should be inclusive and affirming of the racial, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and pluralism, which now make up the Bahamian civil society, and declare aspirations to guide us into the future.
o Alfred Sears is an attorney, a former member of Parliament and a former attorney general of The Bahamas.
Fifty years ago, a series of strategic and compelling events culminated in one of the most significant achievements in Bahamian history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Women's Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas and in commemoration of this significant milestone The College of The Bahamas and the Bureau of Women's Affairs are collaborating to host the Women's Suffrage Movement Symposium, March 6th - 9th at the college's Performing Arts Centre.
The symposium's theme is "Commemorating the Past, Reflecting on the Present, Envisioning the Future: 1962 and Beyond". It will provide the platform for informed discussion, debate and analysis of the events that gave birth to the empowerment and enfranchisement of Bahamian women.
Chair of the Symposium Planning Committee and head of the history, religion and philosophy department at The College of The Bahamas Assistant Professor Dr. Christopher Curry said these kinds of anniversaries provide an opportunity to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of the nation building process in The Bahamas.
"The Suffrage Movement, though an integral part of the Quiet Revolution, has often been overlooked or overshadowed by other events such as Black Tuesday, The General Strike or Majority Rule. This symposium will raise the awareness of the significance of the movement, while also critically engaging some of its shortcomings," he said. "As the symposium has three foci -- the past, present and future -- we intend to provide a broad analysis of the struggle for equal rights and full citizenship for women in The Bahamas. This is not about one event, but a long process that is still being fought today. Thus, the symposium will serve to raise awareness of the past struggles even as it engages critical issues that remain unresolved in The Bahamas today."
On February 23rd, 1961, the bill to enable women to have and exercise rights of registration as voters and of voting similar to those accorded to men under the provisions of the General Assembly Elections Act 1959 was passed. It came into effect on June 30th, 1962. The following month, on July 12th, Ruby Ann Cooper was the first woman to register to vote and on November 26th, 1962, women 21 years and over voted for the first time in The Bahamas.
Half a century ago, women like Mary Ingraham, Mabel Walker, Georgiana Symonette, Eugenia Lockhart, Althea Mortimer, Albertha M. Isaacs, Doris Johnson, Grace Wilson, Mildred Moxey, Ethel Kemp, Gladys Bailey and Madge Brown defied social convention. They became trailblazers who challenged inequalities and helped to advance the status of women in The Bahamas.
Christine Campbell, first assistant secretary, Bureau of Women's Affairs said the persistence of the suffragettes and other advocates provide an important national lesson.
"It is so important because so many Bahamians don't know our history and don't understand the significance of what happened. I think it is wonderful that COB is in partnership with the Bureau on this," she said. "I would like persons to talk about what those ladies did to give them their just due. My personal view is that they have exhibited what we want to see in our students and other persons that when you believe in a cause, and one on a national level that is going to advance your country and your people you do not give up."
During the symposium, attendees including junior and senior high school students will have the opportunity to gain special insight into this period of history as expressed by some of the children and siblings of the suffragettes: Juliette Barnwell, Andrew Maynard, Alice Musgrove-Rolle, Wallice Carey and Shirley Cooper. Nationally recognized writers and researchers as well as international scholars will also present varied perspectives.
"The more we expose our young people, the better they will be and they will be able to build on it. They are the tradition bearers and long after we are gone they will be able to tell their children about aspects of our history," Ms. Campbell added.
The opening ceremony of the symposium will be held on Tuesday evening at 6:30p.m. and will be immediately followed by a panel discussion. The first session, specially structured for students, was held this past Tuesday.
The Mailboat Cybots are not going to just sit back and cross their legs, waiting on their opponent in the next round of play in the New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) playoffs. Coach Wayde Watson and his team want to hit the court running, so Saturday's...
At these Daegu World Championships, Grand Bahamian Raymond Higgs is vying to accomplish something that few others have - to reach a World level final in two separate field events. He finished eighth in the High Jump final at the 12th IAAF World Junior Championships in 2008 and will now be aiming to reach the final of the Men's Long Jump at the Senior World Championships.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) revealed three new candidates last night in a town hall meeting held at the British Colonial Hilton.
Nicholas Jacques, Rodney Moncur and Allworth Merlin Pickstock were revealed as the candidates for Bain and Grants Town, St. Cecilia and Golden Gates, respectively.
Jacques is best known as a musician, performing with the likes of Heat Wave, Dry Bread and Smokey '007. He was appointed president of the Bahamas Omnibus Union and served as president for nearly a decade.
He was very instrumental in lobbying for the government to erect sheltered bus stops throughout New Providence, as well as extended bus routes into remote areas of the island that were not serviced by public transportation.
Pickstock hails from Andros and made his living as a mechanic and later as a teacher at A.F. Adderly Junior High. At the school, he founded the Hugh Campbell Basketball Tournament, which led to hundreds of students receiving basketball scholarships.
Moncur is renowned for his social activism, dating as far back as 1974 when he marched to Parliament with then member of Parliament Edmund Moxey.
During the 1980s he focused on education and led a march with students to protest the conditions of schools. As a result, there was the implementation and amendment of the Education Act.
Later in his career he ran for Bain and Grants Town in the 2002 general election and lost.
Speaking at the meeting, Chris Mortimer, the DNA candidate for Sea Breeze, outlined the DNA's economic platform.
Mortimer said that the current challenges the economy is facing include high levels of unemployment and underemployment, a high cost of living, insufficient Bahamian ownership, the mismanagement of the national debt and the lack of accountability in government spending.
He listed the following industries as possible areas for economic expansion in The Bahamas: Energy solution industries, hi-tech manufacturing and assembly industries, motion picture and creative arts, agriculture husbandry and fisheries, science technology and medicine, banking and finance, law and cultural tourism.
He noted that tourism by itself will not solve the problems of The Bahamas, noting that the industry is "showing flat growth".
Charlene Paul, the DNA candidate for Elizabeth, echoed similar statements in her address last night.
"We will put the right people in the right jobs to get the job done! This refers to Bahamian people, irrespective of party allegiance. We want all Bahamians working together for the benefit of the entire Bahamas - we need each other, " she said.
Both candidates spoke to some extent on cultural tourism, saying, "We believe that our Bahamian culture is worthy of being captured, packaged and presented, first for our Bahamian populace to know and appreciate what it means to be Bahamian, then to the millions of tourists who visit our shores every year dying for a truly Bahamian experience."
Funeral Service for the Late Daphne Atlanta Roberts, 71 years of Davis Street, Oakes Field will be held on Saturday March 10th, 1:00 p.m. at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church, 3rd Street, The Grove. Fr. Simeon Roberts will officiate. Interment will follow in the Western Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Left to cherish her memory:
Mother: Hazel Roberts
Siblings: Vincent (Justin) Roberts, Antoinette Coakley and Mark Roberts
In-laws: Shirley , Gladys, Pamela and Iren Roberts, and Anthony Christie
Nieces & Nephews: Venentia (Tina) Cambridge, Vincent Jr., Vicente & VeChenda, Glenda (Bernadette), Nina, Marcellus, Angelo, Mario, Michael, Francesca, Romel, Marvin, Marcia, Kharisma and Leonard Roberts, Anthony (Brendan), Ana Maurisa and Antoire Christie, Bonnie Clarke, Ana Stacia Turnquest, Antonia Richards, Monique Symonette, Leanette Bright, Charlann And Levar Coakley, Atonious and Bruno Roberts, Colin Ross Butler, Ricardo Bethell, Paulette Poitier and Justin Dames.
Numerous Grand-nieces and nephews including Danah Weech, Amaris Albury, Gemma Cambridge, Kathryn Turnquest, Maya, Angelique, Antonia, Vincent III, Vashty, Vydalia, Vivette and Vanaeha Roberts, Vito Smith, Sanchez Morley, Alyssa Richards, and Tevin Roberts-Creary.
Numerous godchildren, friends and relatives including Anita Roberts, Sharlene Roberts, Jabina , Bradley and Hartlynn Roberts and the extended Roberts family, Family of the late Marcus and Jane Bethel especially Rubie Nottage, The family of the late Ruben and Francina Bethel, The Campbell family, Effie Sands and family, Edith Outten, Therez Joseph, Persis Adderley, Lona Pearl Wells and family,
Remella Bailey, The family of the late Molly Davis, Chris and Sally Francis and Family, the Bethell Family, Carmeta Ramsey and Family, The family of the late Capt. Earnest and Eula Dean, Bernadette & Jerome Wodinsky of Boston, Mass., Mellie Dillette and family, Lamour Rolle and family of Bimini, Hilda Moxey, Janice Coakley, Bernice Adderley, Frances Turnquest, Jennifer Southard, Faye Culmer, Val Sands, Bessie Serette, Jeanine Weech-Gomez, former employees of the Nassau Shop Ltd. especially Nadine Thompson, Barbara Malone, Kathy Key, Edith Sawyer, The Curry's, and Marjorie Archer, Maria Mckenzie and Family, Evangelist Tom Roberts and Family, The family of the late Wingsworth Roberts, Violet Barton and Family especially Caspar Conliffe, Cordell Roberts and family, Paula, Betty and Terrance Roberts, Tanya Fox, Henry Sands, Electra Byfield of Trinidad, the parish families of St. Francis Xavier and Holy Family churches.
Funeral Service for Daphne Patrice Young-Sands, 51, of King’s Court, Celery Drive, Yellow Elder, will be held on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at Victory Baptist Church, Golf Course Boulevard, Sea Breeze. Officiating will be Pastor Ivan Carey. Interment will follow in St. Agnes Cemetery, Nassau Street.
Left to cherish her memories are her husband: Lavon H. Sands; one daughter: Lavonia Sands; two sons: Gregory Jones II and Harry Young; her mother: Nellie Young; her grandmother: Weavis Smith; one grandchild: Kaylie Jones; three sisters: Coralee Godet, Charmaine Young and Jennifer Johnson; six brothers: Godfrey, Eugene, Derek, Colin and Darren Young and Lamorn Moxey; eleven aun ...
Mrs. Daphne Roberta Armbrister-Rolle age 72 years of #01 John Terrace, off Wulff Road and formerly of Duncan Town Ragged Island, will be held on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 2pm at Mission Baptist Church, Hay Street. Rev. Dr. Reuben E. Cooper Jr. will officiate and burial will in Lakeview Memorial Gardens & Mausoleums, John F. Kennedy Drive & Gladstone Road.
The Radiance of this "Sapphire of A Gem" will always glow in the hearts of her:
Three Sons: Edric and Anthony Poitier and Julian A. Rolle;
Nine Grand Sons: Deablo and Anston Poitier, Vincent and Julian Rolle Jr., Garth Timilson, Cleon and Deon Reid, Lester and John Williams;
Seven Grand Daughters: Edrica, Anthonique, Antrice, Kayala and Anya Poitier, Audrey Culmer and Doneisha Rolle;
Four Great Grandchildren: Sydia, Lavar, Lavaran and Edrica Poitier;
Five Brothers: Bishop Asa G. of Baltimore, Rev. Stephen of Duncan Town, Ragged Island, Leeton of Miami Florida, Charles (Nipier) and Captain Lee Armbrister;
Six Sisters: Mary and Drussilla Armbrister of Pompano Beach Florida, Rev. Julia (Liz) Pratt, Remona McClain of Mastic Point Andros, Arabella Johnson and Dora C. Dean;
Adopted Children: Roosevelt Adderley, Percy Miller, Stephano Smith, Vernita Trotman and Sgt, Orthnell Andrews;
Two Daughters-in-law: Tiffany and Angela Poitier;
Eight Brothers-in-law: Demison Nesbitt, Sr., James, Jr., Lionel, Edison, George and Hasting Rolle, Bernard Bethel and Roland Evans;
Seven Sisters-in-law: Jerelene Wilson, Lovely, Maria, Professor Inez of Baltimore, Catherine, Judy and Sheba Armbrister;
Numerous Nephews and Nieces including: Sylvanus, Edward, Kingsley, Timothy, Bradley, Michael, Brisco, Theodore, Simon, Arison, Emile, Asa, Neil, Dwight, Kevin, Eric, Thomas, Alfeus, Demison, Jr., Ricardo, Albert, Stephen, Oscar, Charles, Philip, Cordell, Carl, Lamon, Mark, Jeffrey, Larry, Paul, Patrick, Lee, Jr., Walton, Jr., Dentry, Craig, Ashlyn, Shane, Maurice, Anthony, Darryl, Collins, Jr., Pete, Hensley, Burnell, Warren, Desmond, Vincent, Wendell G. II, Dwaling, Leeton, Jr., Benjamin and Jamal Moss, Omar Pinder, Avery Nesbitt, Horatio Green, Harry Pinder, Edmund, Edney, Geoffrey Bethel, Roland, Dax and Greco Evans, Essiemae, Jennifer, Patrricia, Gretamae, Clepatra, Wendy, Lavenia, Keva, Kenva, Claudette, Alfreda, Valerie, Iva, Monica, Anicka, Shantel, Stephanie, Majorie, Canrea, Jewel, Jan, Patricia, Albertha, Camille, Vanessa, Marva, Coronell, Emerald, Pearlene, Charlene, Pauline, Georgette, Carla, Racquel, Yasmin, Coretta, Claudette, Betine, Doreth, Petrenda, Vancessa, Maureen, Narissa, Maxine, Ernestine, Jaline, Alva, Anitra, Haysalah, Sparkle, Lillamae, Brenda, Melissa, Karen, Lakelle, Samantha, Brenda, Dawn and Margo Rolle, Wayde Wineburger and Tammy Wineburger, Chavonne, Avis and Monique Bethel Neville Dorsett and Laurette Miller;
Godchildren: Betty Balfour, Gretamae Ferguson, Keva Williamson, Jan Armbrister and Joan Bridgewater;
Uncle and Aunts: Cephas and Maudline Maycock and Mae Armbrister;
Numerous Cousins including: Mae Armbrister and Laurel Munore and families of the late, Julia Bridgewater, Rupertha Lightbourne, Amy Jones, Arabella Wilson, Sylvia Bridgewater, Laurel Munroe, Emily Lockhart, Rowena Munroe, Louise Moxey, Anna Wilchombe, Rev. Theodore Wilson, William Armbrister, Rev. Delvin and Doris Moss;
Other family and specical friends: Sylvia Forbes, Ismae Ferguson, Ann Panza, Dawn and Catherine Albury, Valerie McClain and family, the Andrews family, Beverly Roberts, Beverly Woodside and family, Marilyn Darling and family, Vanessa Bethel and family, Dr. Delton Farquharson, Katherine Sands and family, the Cheney family, Elder Clement Maycock, Peter and Annarine Russell, Commissioner of Police Mr. Ellison Greenslade, Ernest, Greg and Steven Burrows, Deana, Katey and Lori Nelson and family, Analouise Fabre, Valerie Dean and family, Bernita Deveaux-Hitchman, Kendal Marshall, Theresa Johnson, John DeGlanville Panza, Florene "Ma Flo" Wilson, Edmund Moxey, Clothilda Ferguson, The Ragged Island and James Cistern Communities, Charlene Collie and family, Peter and Betty Johnson and family, Alicia Butler and family, Geneva Rollins and family, Sam Anderson and family, The Mission Baptist Church family, The National Church of God family of North Andros, Pleasant View Assemblies of God, North Andros, Henson Saunders, Landmark Baptist Church, Makkedish Ministries, other family and friends too numerous to mention;
Special Thanks To: To the Staff of Double R Cleaning, Staff of Batelco JFK, staff of Female Medical 2 and the Oncology Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital.
Visitation will be in the "Emerald Suite" Emerald Ridge Mortuary & Monument Company Ltd. #20 Claridge Road on Friday, October 21, 2010 from 1pm to 6pm and at Mission Baptist Church, Hay Street on Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 1pm to service time.
Funeral Service for Darnell Christine Ivy Johnson-Grant, 49 of #39 Hay Street East will be held on Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 12:30pm at Grants Town Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Wellington Street. Pastor Peter Joseph, assisted by Elders Winston Ash and Wayde Moxey will officiate and burial will be in Woodlawn Gardens Cemetery, Soldier Road.
The Radiance of this “Ruby of A Gem” will always glow in the hearts of her:
Husband: Calvin Dewitte Grant Sr.;
One Son: Calvin Grant Jr.;
Three Daughters: Fraya Mackey, Nyasha Wallace and Calvonya Grant;
Six Grand Children: Devonte, Shaquan, Jasmine and Navaeh Mackey, Ama ...