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:
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
of society, distinct from government and business.
Sometimes the term is used in the more general sense of
elements such as freedom of speech, an independent
judiciary, etc., that makes up a democratic society
(Collins English Dictionary).
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
is further supported through alliances with international
organizations such as The Organization of American States (OAS), International
United Nations (UN), Inter-American Bank (IDB) /
IDB ConSoc Bahamas and others.
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
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
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.