We awoke early yesterday to a Facebook post from Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands highlighting the appalling and unfortunate statement made by a widely unknown member of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) while introducing former PLP Minister Dr. Michael Darville.
We later learnt that the lady was Patricia Deveaux, national vice chair of the PLP.
After swinging an actual baseball bat on stage — symbolizing the supposed home run she expects PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis to hit at the polls on Election Day — Deveaux declared that Darville is a doctor by profession, “not like this doctor who performing all kind of malpractice all over the place with our country” (an obvious reference to Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis).
She continued, “We have a real doctor coming now tonight. He’s another light-skin, handsome, curly head fella. You see we have plenty nice looking people here in this party. We don’t have a bunch of darkies all over the place heating up the place.”
Deveaux’s comments — made during a PLP rally at Columbus Primary School on Monday night — were rightfully criticized and condemned in social media circles, with many expressing alarm and some pitying her.
In his early morning post, Sands noted: “Self hatred and playing the race card manifested in politics. Who would have thought? Pathetic PLP 2020.”
Ranard Eric Henfield, the former We March leader who claims to be an independent voice in the Senate, also chimed in in a Facebook post:
“I am never amused by racists jackasses, but I am always pissed to hear a negro get up before a nationally covered event and express their disgust for dark skinned people,” he posted.
“It is only now that I understand why they chose the CRAB symbol! It’s the syndrome!
“This the same party that played Roots on national TV before elections (for decades) yet in truth, they’ve hated themselves and the majority of us!”
Henfield then advised: “Be BRAVE and stand up to this level of asinine prejudice!”
The irony here of course is that when it comes to hypocrisy, both sides score very high marks.
And if you’re wondering, we count Henfield on Team FNM.
Sands, Henfield and others were all silent when Bennet Minnis, an FNM supporter and a director of the Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC), in a racist and homophobic rant in voice notes went off on the PLP last year.
“The PLP is one corrupt, tiefin’, no good, bastard, homosexual, African monkeys,” Minnis said.
He said the next time the PLP attempts to enter Clarence Town, Long Island, he would “block up the road” and declared that “no policeman would be able to stop us”.
Minnis later doubled down on his comments in an interview with The Tribune.
Our colleague Sharon Turner said it best while posting on her page, According to Me – Sharon T, yesterday:
“So now members of the governing party care about public comments denigrating people with dark skin?
“Where was the FNM government and its supporters when Water & Sewerage board [director] Bennet Minnis made multiple hate-filled voice notes calling dark-skinned Bahamians monkeys and hurling homophobic slurs?
“He repeated those comments in a national newspaper. Minnis kept his post and was not forced to say as little as ‘I’m sorry’. In fact, he declared he would do it again.
“Now because the rally turnout for the PLP very clearly rattled FNM MPs and their supporters, they are suddenly outraged about colorist comments by a PLP supporter who at least was made to apologize for her unacceptable comments?
“Stop the hypocrisy. This is why we as black people have such trouble advancing. We only see value in one another when we are seeking to benefit off the backs of one another. Hate and self-hate is wrong no matter where it comes from.
“And when a public official appointed by the FNM government spewed hate against Bahamians of dark skin and of a sexual orientation he disapproves of, the government was and still is dead silent.”
Bennet Minnis is still listed on the corporation’s website as a director.
After his venomous statements against the PLP last year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis claimed that the issue was addressed.
PM Minnis said: “I think that was dealt with by…many members of my party. I don’t think I need to say anything else about it. They’ve dealt with it.”
What a cop out.
Again, Bennet Minnis is still a board member of the corporation.
Last July, Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister, who has ministerial responsibility for WSC, said the matter was a “Cabinet issue”.
WSC Executive Chairman Adrian Gibson, meanwhile, declined comment.
There is a growing sense among Bahamians that we can’t take any side seriously.
This is one reason why.
The FNM is no better than the PLP when it comes to these and other matters. Peter ain’t no better than Paul with the fake outrage and pretentious political posturing.
Hypocrisy is the order of the day.
Politicians are outraged over this sort of thing when it is coming from the other side.
As Bahamians like to say, “mouth pin right up” when the offending party is one of them.
This is why we struggle to progress.
If Deveaux’s and Minnis’ (Bennet that is) sick comments are any indication of what we can expect on the campaign trail, God help us.
At least we can say one thing about the national vice chair of the PLP — she had the good sense to quickly apologize.
The PLP leader also sensibly released a statement distancing himself and the PLP from her comment.
As it relates to Bennet Minnis, however, the silence from his side is painfully deafening.