Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019
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Concerning the gaffe of MICAL MP Miriam Emmanuel

Dear Editor,

MICAL MP Miriam Emmanuel has been unfairly and ruthlessly raked over the coals on social media for committing one offense: committing a gaffe like every other fallible, imperfect human being routinely does. I watched the video of her stumbling over a few figures during her budget debate contribution. As a layman in high finance, it is often a massive challenge in making heads or tails of seven, eight and nine figures written numerically. For accountants and professional bankers, such a task is rudimentary.

Emmanuel’s gaffe exposed the deep-seated snobbery, arrogance and mean-spiritedness of the Bahamian academia, especially professional, white-collar women, who love bringing up the accusation of misogyny against their male counterparts. The arrogance of this demographic towards Bahamians who are deemed uneducated and dunces was on full display by these people.

Moreover, many of these snobbish Bahamians fail to appreciate the immense pressure of standing in front of an audience of powerful officials to give a lengthy address. Many of them have never done it before. As a Bible teacher and preacher, I can empathize with Emmanuel in this regard. The Bahamian academia has forgotten where we came from as a nation just 60 years ago. In 1968, Sir Lynden Pindling appointed Free National Movement co-founder Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitefield as minister of education. With a mostly uneducated, illiterate population, Wallace-Whitefield embarked on an ambitious campaign of building schools throughout the archipelago and recruiting expat teachers, notwithstanding the nascent Pindling government’s financial restraints.

Some 60 years later, The Bahamas can now boast of having thousands of college and university educated citizens. Our forefathers who paved the way for us would be shocked at the level of arrogance exhibited today by our Bahamian intelligentsia. There’s no need to question Emmanuel’s education or ability to read. Like most Bahamians, she simply struggled in articulating eight and nine figures written numerically by government technocrats who should’ve simply spelled the figures instead.

Granted, Emmanuel did herself no favors by not proofreading her script, assuming that she didn’t. That would’ve saved her from the embarrassment her gaffe has caused. Perhaps she was overconfident in her ability. It happens to all of us. As a successful MP, pastor and televangelist, whose TV ministry airs on either ZNS TV13 or Cable 12 and even on the U.S.-based Word Network, Emmanuel has accomplished far more than the overwhelming majority of her snobbish critics who sit around all day chatting on Facebook. That unfortunate gaffe does not define her as an outstanding Bahamian woman who currently sits in the House of Assembly – something most Bahamians will never be able to say.

– Kevin Evans

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