LettersOpinion

Championing the cause of the marginalized

Dear Editor, 

Hope is here.

It would appear that a phoenix has risen.

Yes! On the 55th anniversary of Black Tuesday, again we find a hero, or shall I say heroine, in the indomitable spirit of the offspring of one of our founding fathers in the person of Glenys Hanna-Martin, the honourable member for the Englerston constituency.

While many focused on the drama that played between the speaker and leader of the opposition on Monday, there are those who feel the pain and struggle of life in the urban community that heard and saw their issues presented in the most passionate and moving way.

This day too will be remembered for the sake of that spirit that held true to the past and best represented the issues and struggles of that past that still exist today.

Hanna-Martin, the heroine in championing the cause of the marginalized and down trodden, just like her father did, exploded with passion as she made the case representing her constituents.

When did you last hear a member in Parliament so represent their constituents and speak about the hardship of joblessness, speak to the cost of food, shelter and advance that the government needs to do more?

The member for Englerston took parliamentarians to the grocery store in her constituency when she said a one pound bag of tomato is $2.39; banana 99 cents; a gallon of generic bleach is $3.39 but a 16 oz of alcohol is $11.

Hanna-Martin scored with the point that a bag of VAT food valued a $22, cost $25 and this was the basic to feed a family for a day.

She spoke of the people’s pain, vividly retelling of the event involving the lady with only an empty baby food can in her bag.

Hanna-Martin presented to Parliament the look of desperation in the eyes of the men which is frustrating not just to them but also to her as their member of Parliament.

And she did this while acknowledging the historicity of the day, among the back chatter, while giving a measure of support to the initiative of the government.

All she wanted was a better roll out and accountability during the process. Should we as a community not want regular parliamentary report on this pandemic which has had tectonic shifts in our economy?

What was amazing is that it would appear that many of those seated in Parliament possibly do not realize that if it wasn’t for such an indefatigable spirit of the freedom fighters in the cast of Black Tuesday, the only persons who would now be in the Parliament are Brent Symonette and maybe Dionisio D’ Aguilar. White (or conchy joe) men of economic power.

Here was a significant strategic import for every PLP to take advantage of that moment to celebrate the occasion from 55 years ago, alas, how soon we forget!

Now is the ideal time to bring forward and articulate the visions of the founding fathers, and to make it known that even members in the government rest on the shoulders of the founding fathers of the PLP and our nation. But admission is difficult.

For the government members, the opportunity in temperance of Black Tuesday could have served their cause. The newcomers in the government that appear to be unable to speak objectively to truth on the lack of programs for the poor which some of them represent could have sought redemption that would truly make it “the people’s time!”.

The PLP governed for years after Black Tuesday but despite its many advances for the people of The Bahamas, much more could have been achieved for the poor and the marginalized. The PLP does, however, have a legacy to which they can still be truly proud.

There is much work to be done. We can use this COVID-19 pandemic crisis to reflect, restructure, reprogram and retool or repurpose all aspects of our resources as the outgrowth from this pandemic will change our daily lives.

Dr. Charles Arthur Clarke

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