Monday, January 10, 2011

Majority Rule is a concept that has long been lost in the everyday Bahamian way of life

Who says the majority rules?
thenassauguardian editorial

Today is being observed as Majority Rule Day in The Bahamas.

Historically, the day represents the emergence of a local, black Bahamian government, with the responsibility of helping Bahamians govern their own affairs and their future, as The Bahamas began its trek to Independence.

Now in its 44th year, Majority Rule Day continues to be observed as a day that honors those who contributed to The Bahamas we know today. However, mention the words “Majority Rule Day” to the average Bahamian and ask them what it is about and more than 85 percent will look at you like a deer staring into headlights.

Ask the average young person (between the ages of 15-25) and more than 90 percent will think you’re speaking a foreign language.

Not enough Bahamian history is being taught. Most Bahamians don’t know their history, and for the most part, many could care less.

But that’s another story for another time.

As far as celebrating Majority Rule Day is concerned, some feel it is pointless, considering the fact that The Bahamas finds itself in a contradiction from a socio-economic point-of-view. We live in a society where the minority rules the majority.

The rich minority controls and dictates the lifestyle of the majority of the poor Bahamians. We live in a society where “the rich gets richer” and the poor remains poor.

In addition, the idea of “government for and by the people” is not based in reality.

The Bahamian Parliament, which is supposed to represent and fight for the rights of Bahamians, seemingly pass laws that burden the average Bahamian and gives more power to the wealthy among us.

Majority Rule is a concept that has long been lost in the everyday Bahamian way of life. What it stood for in the past, seems to have less relevance and meaning today.

One of the co-founders of Majority Rule Day, former Governor General Arthur D. Hanna, noted that Majority Rule Day was an uphill battle “in that we couldn’t get a level playing field.

“The government of the day (United Bahamian Party - UBP) wanted to hold on to power, therefore, they had all kinds of tricks. One was how they dealt with constituencies.”

On the surface, it seems ironic that many of today’s governments have used the same “tricks” during elections in The Bahamas, but when one considers the fact that some of our leaders of today learned from those of the past, then we can understand certain similarities.

The concept which our forefathers fought for, does not hold the same significance today. So, we celebrate a day that has somehow lost its meaning and its focus, which is the Bahamian people.

We celebrate a day where the majority does not rule, but rather where the minority rules the majority.


thenassauguardian editorial