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Civil Society Bahamas – The Apex Body of NGOs
Dec 11, 2012 - 1:27:11 AM

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Left to Right: Wilfred Smith (Director CSB), Richard Johnson (Secretary CSB), Terry Miller (Director CSB), Juliet Phillip (Director OAS Bahamas Office), Anthony Hamilton (President CSB), and Sharmaine Adderley (Assistant Secretary CSB)

Nassau, Bahamas -
Civil Society Bahamas (CSB) in keeping with its current operational theme, “Re-education, Train ing and Development”, has decided to explain three terms of references usually associated with and sometimes used interchangeably during discussions about civil society in The Bahamas. This clarification will benefit the wider community thus, leading to a better understanding of the nature of the references. The three references, Civil Society, Civil Society Bahamas and ConSoc Bahamas are defined as follows:
  1. Civil Society is the arena outside the family, the state and the market place where people associate to advance common interests. It is sometimes considered to include the family and the private sector and then referred to as the third sector of society, distinct from government and business. Sometimes the term is used in the more general sense of the elements such as freedom of speech, an independent judiciary, etc., that makes up a democratic society (Collins English Dictionary).
  1. Civil Society Bahamas (CSB) is a Bahamian incorporated organization having a membership consisting of individuals, non-g overnmental organizations and civil society institutions that seek to manifest the interests and will of Bahamian citizens. CSB is a non-partisan, non-governmental, civil society organization which focuses on the betterment of individuals through improveme nt of their general social, economic, spiritual and mental welfare. This objective of betterment for Bahamians is further supported through alliances with international organizations such as The Organization of American States (OAS), International Labor Or ganization (ILO), United Nations (UN), Inter-American Bank (IDB) / IDB ConSoc Bahamas and others.
  1. ConSoc Bahamas is a consultative group created by the Inter - American Development Bank (IDB) to facilitate dialogue for consultation on national development projects. The IDB works directly with non-government organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) whether through their participation in consultation, dialogue or the execution of projects with developmental impact. In this regard, NGOs and CSOs have significantly contributed to the IDB s work with their technical capacities and their knowledge of the communities where they work.

The Executive Team of Civil Society Bahamas recently concluded several discussion sessions with representatives o f the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration which explored matters that need to be addressed in the process of reinvigorating the Bahamian civil society. It was agreed that the Bahamian society has become numb from violence and that escalating crime has damaged the fabric of our communities. Additionally, it was established that the call to mitigate the impact of crime through an aggressive support system of re-education, training and development within our society would need to be answered by non-politicized entities such as Civil Society Bahamas.

It is important to engage the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration because the birth of CSB began through the genuine concerns of individual Bahamian citizens who sought information concerning critic al national issues and concerns as it was related to the Bahamas’ commitment to international treaties and convention. This movement was led by the late Reginald Lobosky, an outspoken advocate against The Bahamas joining the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME). He became the first President of Civil Society Bahamas and was a recipient of a state funeral for his national contributions.

The expressed concern of original members of Civil Society Bahamas was specific to heritage, the environment, community life, human rights and regional and hemispheric matters with a national focus such as the Free Trade Areas of the Americas (FTAA) and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). The individuals, committed to the cause and the establishment of an incorporated Bahamian organization, experienced the desired accomplishment of incorporation on 7th July, 2005. The articles of association for the establishment of Civil Society Bahamas reflect the subscribers as Fred Munnings (second president of CBS), William T. Cleare, Franklin D.C. Carter, Obie Ferguson Jr., Torqua V. Arnet, Dr. Madline Sawyer, Patrick S. Bain, Philip Simon Jr., Sonia L. Dames, John Pinder, Richard Johnson and David A. Clarke.  

The current Executive Officers of Civil Society Bahamas are Anthony Hamilton, President; Leslie Moore, Vice President; Richard Johnson, Secretary; Sharmaine Adderley, Assistant Secretary; Prodesta Moore, Treasurer; Philip Simon, Assistant Treasurer; Terry Miller (immediate past president of CSB), Director; Wilfred Smith, Director and Lowena West, Director.

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