Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019
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Cooper: Symonette issue not about race

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Chester Cooper yesterday denied claims that the PLP continues to use race as a political tool.

Cooper made the comments during a party meeting in the Bains and Grants Town constituency last night, where he took the governing Free National Movement (FNM) to task.

Referencing the uproar surrounding the awarding of a contract by the government to house the new post office in a shopping mall owned by former Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette while he was still in Cabinet, Cooper said the FNM is seeking to silence the controversy by making it about the fact that Symonette is white.

“They are failing on every score, yet their campaign financiers are winning at every turn,” Cooper said.

“Then they say the PLP is making it about race.

“Let me tell you, this isn’t about race. This is about privilege and class and special interest.

“There are many white Bahamians who are hurting under this FNM government. The FNM doesn’t care about them either.

“They only care about taking care of the rich fat cats, some of whom happen to be white. It’s not about race.”

Cooper said the PLP ran white candidates in the last general election and there are also many white Bahamians who support the party.  

“The PLP was never against white people,” he continued.

“The PLP was for the equal treatment and opportunity of all people. Race doesn’t factor into it.

“They try to embarrass you into being quiet when we talk about this by invoking the racial issues of the past.

“This has nothing to do with black and white or Indian or Chinese or Hispanic.

“This has to do with an FNM that philosophically views the underprivileged and those who work hard to make ends meet as the workhorses for their agenda. And they view their privileged backers as the beneficiaries of this agenda and this must stop.”

Last month, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames took aim at the PLP’s purported race-baiting tactics. 

He said attacks on white Bahamians by the PLP are “worn out and obsolete”.

“Not only are they falsehoods and propaganda, but they continue to divide us as a people and paint a picture that we are nothing but a nation of right-winged racists,” Dames said.

“They continue to hurl scurrilous attacks at decent Bahamians and their families because of the color of their skin, in an attempt to feed a base who themselves are disappointed and have become extremely fatigued in their leaders, who continue to live in the distant past.

“Our nation, like many others around the world, is a melting pot of all shades of people. The time has come for all of us in political leadership to put the politics of race in the political garbage can where it belongs.”

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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