Minnis not to blame for lopsided female representation in House

Dear Editor,

The appointment of Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis to the substantive post of minister of youth, sports and culture after the abrupt resignation of Seabreeze MP Lanisha Rolle, made good sense, in light of Lewis’ well documented background in the field of athletics.

Lewis should have been appointed to this post in 2018, instead of Rolle.

In addition to being a 1996 and 2000 Olympian as a member of the Bahamian 4×100 metres relay team, Lewis, if he hasn’t relinquished his post already, serves as president of the Grand Bahama athletics association. His athletic resume screams “I am highly qualified.”

Yet Bahamian feminists are all up in arms over Lewis’s appointment, taking subtle misandristic jabs at the Central Grand Bahama MP. The issue with these feminists is that while the Minnis Cabinet has a total of 16 ministers, not one is a female.

The Free National Movement (FNM) should at least be credited for having the first female elected to the House of Assembly in 1982, Dame Janet Bostwick; as well as appointing the first female as governor general in 2002, Dame Ivy Dumont.

I don’t believe that the two major political parties are anti-women. Those who are making these misogynist allegations are being politically motivated by attempting to pander to Bahamian women.

The Minnis Cabinet has one similarity with the first Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet under Premier Sir Lynden O. Pindling in 1967. Both Cabinets were comprised of all males.

In 1967, The Bahamas had a steeped patriarchal tradition. Five years prior to 1967, women achieved adult suffrage, being allowed to vote for the first time in 1962.

The first Bahamian woman to register to vote was Ruby Ann Darling. Fifty-nine years later, The Bahamas is touted in the Caribbean region and elsewhere as being progressive.

Feminists are adamant that the current Cabinet belies this narrative. However, I believe these Bahamian feminists are being unreasonable towards Lewis.

Of the current 39 MPs, only five are women: Shonel Ferguson, Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe, Miriam Emmanuel, Glenys Hanna-Martin and Lanisha Rolle.

Four of these females are FNM MPs. Based on what I am seeing, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis had virtually no options with his female parliamentarians in the Lower House.

With females comprising over 50 percent of the Bahamian population, their gender representation in Parliament is obviously disproportionate. But the Bahamian people have themselves to blame for the current lopsided ratio of males to females in the House of Assembly.

They rejected female candidates. Yet now we want to cry foul over the lack of women in the House of Assembly after going into the polling booths and making the decision to vote against female candidates.

We must blame ourselves for the current situation, not Minnis or Lewis.

In closing, I would like to congratulate Mr. Lewis on his appointment. I am certain that he will perform admirably in his new role as he has done in Central Grand Bahama as MP.

Kevin Evans

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