At All Costs: Stopping The "Global Gay Agenda"
- Jun 17, 2016 - 12:31:40 PM
In the newspaper last week, I saw a group of holy men sitting behind a
big table, lined off in front a firing squad of news cameras, proudly
heralding victory against a sinister and powerful agenda, the purpose of
which was to forever alter our way of life here in the Bahamas. I guess
we should say, “Thank you?”
To assure this victory, however,
sacrifices had to be made and in this instance that sacrifice was the
citizenship of some Bahamian children yet to be born, the non-Bahamian
husbands of Bahamian women and protections against discrimination based
on sex. Sure the referendum was not perfect and the political climate
surrounding it was not either, but it was made out to be something it
was not to stop something it did not represent...
Opportunity in the Challenge: Leading on the Referendum Could Mean Winning the Election
- Mar 1, 2016 - 11:43:05 AM
With the referendum for constitutional reform, commonly referred to as
the “Gender Equality Referendum”, looming in the foreseeable future,
some of the usual characters are already out to play.
are crawling out of the woodworks spewing 2,000 year old ideas about
gender-roles, curiously using very modern contraptions like radio and
computers to do it. You can probably find “The Patriarch” at your local
bar, shouting about not trusting Bahamian women who marry foreign men,
women are too easily manipulated they say, and they’re speaking from
their own experience...
The Hair and Now: What #SupportThePuff Should’ve Taught Us
- Feb 19, 2016 - 6:26:23 PM
I think we’re at that very Bahamian threshold, when salient issues are
answered with the ubiquitous, “We still talkin’ bout dat?” Of course,
I’m referring to the puff that started a social media firestorm- the
story about the young lady from C. R. Walker High School who was
disciplined for her “unkempt” natural hair by the principal. Yes, I’m
sure some of you are tired of hearing this minor issue being blown out
of proportion, but please allow for one final intervention.
wake of “The Great Bahamian Hair Debate” there are some who would wish
to deny the importance of this moment- to redirect attention to more
“pressing issues” like crime and growing economic inequality. Not so
The Politics of Natural Disasters (And the Unnatural Disaster of Politics)
- Oct 16, 2015 - 5:15:57 PM
We have heard the constant refrain echoing across the last week as we
have tried to mend the bent and broken lives of our fellow countrymen,
“Now is not the time for politics.” Unfortunately, it’s too late.
didn’t ooze into this difficult moment in our collective national
consciousness because of something a politician said, or something a
newspaper wrote. Natural disasters are as much an “act of God” as they
are inherently political.
Does the suggestion that natural
disasters are political make you cringe? I think for most of us a
natural disaster is distinctly apolitical and should be seen as a time
for all of us, no matter the political colours we wear to come together.
This could also be because despite the Bahamian obsession with all
things political, we often understand “politics” as the messy...
The Way Forward: The Political Value of a Bankrupt Tourism Policy
- Jul 3, 2015 - 12:53:33 PM
“If properly [sic]
planned and allowed to grow unchecked, tourism can suffocate indigenous
culture, destroy traditional values - aesthetic, moral and social, ruin
architectural traditions, upset or even ruin the environment, encroach on areas
which would best be used for other industrial activity, create imbalances in
terms of foreign and local business ownership, divert workers from other
important employment areas and contribute to an increase in crime.”
- Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Perry G.
Is there a more germane statement that can be
made today to describe the current dilemma we face in The Bahamas? With the
conflict over Baha Mar and deteriorating social conditions, in one short
paragraph the diagnosis is clear: We’ve allowed tourism to grow “unchecked”...
Silencing the Lambs: Tuition Hikes, Cannibalism and The Power of Student Movements
- Apr 24, 2015 - 8:40:05 AM
The College of the Bahamas’ (COB) Council may as well put
the fava beans on to cook and pop a bottle of Chianti because it just leveled a
grievous blow to the prospects of many young Bahamians.
If you haven’t heard, without the consultation of students,
faculty or staff the council voted to increase tuition fees by 50% per credit
for lower level courses and 30% for upper level courses. This
represents an increase from $300 to $450 for 100/200 level courses and from
$450 to $600 for 300 level courses and above.
Let’s put this tuition hike in its proper context. Last
week, owner of the “Everlasting Gobstopper” of construction projects, Sarkis
Prayer and Punishment: Why the Conventional “Wisdom” on Crime is Doing Us No Good
- Feb 13, 2015 - 1:30:03 PM
One of my last lectures was on the social construction of
reality, what we know and how we come to know it. I argued that knowledge
exists within a context and that this context is a product of historical
economic, social and cultural processes. Furthermore, there are those who narrate
our reality, those with greater influence on how we understand our context,
that get to speak the loudest...
My Tuesday and Thursday mornings are filled with little styrofoam
cups of green tea and the half-knowing murmurs of students. I’m teaching again,
tasked with convincing young people with little exposure to the social sciences
why they should wake up first thing in the morning to hear me lecture about it—the
“intro class.” I’ve spent the last two classes proselytizing, preaching for
sociology despite my own ambivalence toward the discipline.
Crafting a Shared Vision: National Development, Nation Building and Participatory Communication
- Dec 12, 2014 - 8:31:07 AM
We are all born at a specific historical
moment, in a specific geographical space randomly and without choice. We are
told that because of these random occurrences we are Bahamian and that we must
pledge our commitment to the nation that defines this geographical space and
the people who inhabit it, most of whom we will never actually meet. Yes we
talk the same, we eat the same food and we share certain cultural artifacts,
but these, it could be argued, are all a function of where we were born-- that
very random occurrence. So beyond these superficial expressions of national
identity, what is our deeper connection to this place?
the greater part of two decades Bahamians of all sectors of society have been
desperately calling for some kind of national development plan. As we
approached the fortieth anniversary of the lowering of the Union Jack, many
became vocally aware that government policy was victim to petty political
winds, that political parties had no discernable ideology...
Shanty Towns Are Only One Part of the Problem, And I’m Not Talking About Immigration
- Jun 14, 2013 - 4:02:45 AM
As residents of New
Providence dealt with terrible weather and severe flooding, talk of
low-lying areas, housing and the situation of residential location is
dominating the national discourse. Before the storm, similar issues of
concern were peaked by a new report out of the Department of
Environmental Health on the presence and conditions of shanty towns in
For many Bahamians, shanty towns are a physical
representation of the problem of illegal Haitian immigration, often
conjuring images of a mass, unwanted invasion.
How Not to Be a University: Lessons from the College of the Bahamas Playbook
- Apr 25, 2013 - 11:03:58 PM
"Our government spends more per inmate in Fox Hill prison than it does on COB students"
Over the last decade a
debate about the purpose of higher education, and namely the
university, has arisen among intellectuals, policymakers, activists and
young people. The importance of this debate has been exacerbated by the
global economic downturn. As governments look for places to cut public
funding, or make smarter investments, the question of the value of the
university has been catapulted front and center.
Here at home, as
we watch the unfolding debacle around the reduction of government
subventions to the nation’s flagship institution, the College of the
Bahamas, the question of the value of this institution, now soon to be a
university, has been...
The Real Story: The Whats and Whys of the Gaming Referendum
- Feb 1, 2013 - 6:36:13 AM
I’m not sure anyone could have predicted the outcome
of this referendum on web-shops and a national lottery accurately. For
most, it seemed an easy win for the “Vote Yes” campaign, given
its attempt to drown the opposition in its considerable resources. Those
who predicted a loss for number-bosses could not have anticipate how
handily both questions were voted down. Before arguing the why of this
embarrassing defeat for both the fairly new Progressive Liberal Party
(PLP) government and the well-funded “Vote Yes” campaign, lets look
at the what -- what happened last night?
At press time the Tribune reported that a little over
40,000 votes were cast. This represented less than 50% of registered
voters and at some polling stations voter turn out was as low as 30%.
Today, ZNS News is reporting that over 70,000 voters...
Dis Ga Be Long: How the Handling of the Gaming Referendum May Be a Clue to the Next Five Years
- Nov 16, 2012 - 11:34:35 AM
e written and spoke a lot about the Prime Minister
and his policies, but this was my f
irst time being in the same room with him. At
the risk of sounding like a political sycophant, to see him in person
After a long day on campus -- lecturing, meetings,
helping students find advisors for the registration period -- I happened
into one of those new Cable Beach
restaurants for lunch. You know the ones, kind
of swanky but casual in the style that is reminiscent of the Euro-American
bistro movement. I ordered a pint of Kalik draft and a salad to go,
finally exhaling, looking forward to coming home and writing a lit
tle. Out of no where, I see a police car, people getting up and none
other than the Prime Minister darkening the doorway, effortless dimming
the lunch time chatter.
The War Continues: An Alternate Take on What the North Abaco By-election Means
- Oct 19, 2012 - 1:28:32 PM
I know. It has been a while since I’ve written anything.
I’ve fallen victim to what I often accuse others of doing: coming
home and getting comfortable. I am, however, inspired to put fingers
to keyboard following the excitement of the North Abaco by-election.
The seat once held by the former prime minister and
leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) has now gone to the governing
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP). The PLP holds 30 seats in the House
of Assembly, leaving only 8 for the opposition FNM.
Most of us saw this coming. The preparation of FNM candidate
Greg Gomez for the political spotlight seemed lacking. This left many
asking, why did the FNM...
So, About that Bahamas National Average: Anti-intellectualism, Masculinity and the Making of Ignorance
- Aug 17, 2012 - 2:09:37 AM
The news is trickling out slowly but just to make it official: I’ve
moved to Nassau. I’m back in the Bahamas to begin my PhD fieldwork and
while I’m here I will be lecturing part-time at the College of the
Bahamas (COB). Honestly, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am
about this opportunity. It’s a chance for me to engage fellow academics
who have been studying Bahamian society, politics and history for much
longer than I have. What is more important, I have a chance to engage
with Bahamian students, to learn from them and teach what I’ve learned
during the nine years I was away.
I’ve been sharing my excitement for the last few months with Bahamians
still at home and abroad. The reactions have, for the most part, been
very positive; however, almost all of them come with similar warnings...
Will the New PLP Government Pass Its Upgrade?
- Jun 29, 2012 - 11:13:08 AM
the last few months I took a much needed hiatus from writing and from
observing Bahamian politics. I was drained from all the election hype
and I had exams for which I had to prepare.
Doctorate students have exams as well. In the United Kingdom they are
often referred to as “upgrades” -- the hoops candidates jump through to
move to the next stage in their research work. For me this meant
producing a paper, which I later had to defend in front of a small panel
of academics-- a “viva voce”. I happy to say that I’ve passed upgrade
and I’m officially...
Deafening Silence: Disabilities and Bahamian Society
- May 18, 2012 - 11:30:12 AM
Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten in the habit
of listening to GuardianTalk Radio’s livestream. I catch Teej Grant’s
“Coffee Break” and “The Darold Miller Show.” Honestly, it has
become a bit of a distraction; I become far to engrossed to get anything
A few weeks ago, I happened to catch Michael Strachan’s
“Morning Blend.” Dr. Michelle Major, and one other doctor whose
name I don’t recall, talked about the issues disabled Bahamians face
on daily basis. The doctors claimed that there were about 7,000 autistic
persons in the Bahamas, but most surprising was this statistic: 30%
of Bahamians are disabled in some way...
Predictions, Promises, Petrol and Protégés: Bringing Some Perspective to the 2012 Elections
- May 11, 2012 - 11:33:17 AM
This is probably the point at which my good Anglican
grandmother, now deceased, would probably be humming, “The Strife
is O’er.” Admittedly, it’s a funeral hymn and I imagine some might
assume I’m singing it for the Free National Movement. Honestly, I’m
just glad the election is o’er because now the real work can start.
I wanted to begin this piece by addressing what I
believed was the failure of the Bahamian pundit-class to predict the
spanking the Free National Movement took this elections. I’m revising
that position for a few reasons.
First, I can’t speak about the Bahamian pundit-class
is if I’m some kind of rogue outsider anymore. I just hung up from
a Jamaican radio show who contacted me...
A Brief Easter Message from the Less-Than-Religious
- Apr 13, 2012 - 12:31:25 PM
If my memory serves me correctly, there is no holier time for traditional
Christians than Easter. From Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday, Christians
celebrate the miracle of salvation gained by the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ. It is this very salvation, that which spares us from Hell eternal,
which makes living a Christian life paramount. Indeed, so important
is this salvation that we Bahamians have endeavored to fashion our nation
in the image of Christianity—giving the principles of Christianity
primacy, leaning on the wisdom of Christian religious leaders, and ensuring
that our political authorities are all practicing Christians. For us,
Easter is not only a religious holiday; we can say it is even a political
Grand Bahama and The 2012 Elections Part 2: Policy Promises and So Called “Party Differences”
- Mar 1, 2012 - 11:41:36 PM
If you bought my argument in the first installment
of this series—that this election will be one of the most important
in Grand Bahama’s recent history—then I would imagine a few questions
naturally followed. If, for example, this election is of such importance,
for whom should I cast my ballot? I am inclined to agree with my friend, Erin A. Ferguson. This question is dangerously reductive and
no good can come of it. Instead of asking, “Who ya votin’ for?”
in Grand Bahama, it is time we examine
what we are voting for.
In Part 2 of the “Grand Bahama and the 2012 Elections
Series,” I will attempt to summarize and compare policy initiatives
proposed by each of the political parties as they concern Grand Bahama.
It is not my intention to conclude this piece by telling you which policies
are the best to vote for—that is a decision only you can make. I have
worked to cull together information from various mediums, all of them
Grand Bahama and The 2012 Elections Part 1: An Island of Two Tales
- Feb 17, 2012 - 12:37:25 PM
When I first started this column, I
wrote about being a Bahamian. More specifically, I wrote about being
from Freeport—being born to parents who themselves were born in Grand
Bahama. I talked about attending Mary Star of the Sea School and Freeport
Anglican High School, when it was still called that. Even after leaving
for college, I returned to spend my breaks boozing in Bahama Mama’s
and partying on Fortune Beach, where many of my childhood memories were
made. In my mind, Freeport is and will always be home, but it
certainly doesn’t feel that way anymore.
Maybe I just happened to fly into Freeport
on a bad day in August 2011, but I have a feeling there was nothing
especially different about that particular Tuesday. The city was quiet—a
ghost town almost. There seemed to be just a few locals about with almost
no tourists to be found. Downtown, stores were shuttered and buildings
seemed abandoned. The once well manicured grass...