Davis: Leaders must be cautious with language

A day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said leaders must be careful with the language they use. 

“We, who are in leadership positions, ought to take note and be careful of the language we use to avoid incendiary consequences as we witnessed [on Wednesday],” Davis said when called for comment.

“It also ought to be noted that the truth matters and we ought to commit ourselves, to concern ourselves, about the endangerment of truth. The truth has become an endangered species, particularly in political lands. We should commit ourselves to speaking the truth.” 

He said he does not see The Bahamas “descending into that type of anarchy”.

“But, here and again, the warning I put out about the incendiary language we use and understanding how lies could invoke anger in people,” Davis said.

“It becomes more dangerous when we have a people who are hurting, who don’t know where the next meal is going to come from, who don’t know how they are going to put clothes on their children or feed their children. They become vulnerable to the emotive language and start doing actions that they can potentially regret.

 “And so, we ought to guard ourselves as leaders on how we speak, what we speak and what we speak to.”

Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, which is located in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as Congress held a joint session to count the Electoral College votes that would clear the path to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in two weeks.

At least four people died. The mob “desecrated” the Capitol, storming into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, clashing with law enforcement and chanting “stop the steal” and “this is our house”. 

The vote, which was halted as the building went into lockdown, was later passed, certifying Biden’s election victory.

Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell said yesterday that the Bahamian government should “condemn the violence in the United States by partisans of the sitting President of the United States Donald J. Trump”.

“Consistent with the conduct and conventions of a free and democratic state, our government must be seen publicly to uphold the democratic norms, amongst them the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power,” Mitchell said in a statement.

“There is a lesson to be learned by the Minnis administration in all of this. The public is reminded that we warned our government about walking in lockstep in the United Nations, in the Organization of American States and other fora with policies engineered in those fora which undermined these principles.

“What unfolded on our television screens on January 6, 2021, in the US capital, buttresses our view that in these international fora it is important to stand for values as opposed to the convenience of ad hoc positions, based on craven supplications to powerful men.

“In this regard, the Venezuelan policy comes to mind. We point out that the European Union has now reversed its position on recognizing the insurgent team in Venezuela as the legitimate government of that country; that legitimacy was based in part on scenes in Venezuela which looked similar to scenes that played out yesterday in Washington, D.C.

“In light of this, we invite the government of The Bahamas also to rethink its policy and realign itself to our traditional policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of another country.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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