The Bay Street Boys and Black Lives Matter

Dear Editor,

The Bahamas is a model of good race relations.

With a predominantly Negro population, white Bahamians are not subject to racial profiling and racial discrimination.

Recently, a political operative posted photos of Sir Stafford Sands, Sir Roland Symonette, Peter D. Graham, Donald d’ Albenas, Asa A. Pritchard, Godfrey K. Kelly, Roy Solomon and George Baker — the renowned Bay Street Boys, on Facebook.

It was this group that formed the United Bahamian Party (UBP) in the 1950s. For decades, this group of men and their families ruled the colony.

Being highly accomplished, from a financial standpoint, they passed on to their progenies generational wealth.

The author of the Facebook post was attempting to build an ideological link between the Bay Street Boys and institutional racism in the United States.

In the event he is successful, he would have then implicated the Free National Movement (FNM), which had merged with members of the defunct UBP in the 1970s, making it a viable alternative to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

The Facebooker was race baiting.

Black Bahamians should not ignore the significant contributions the families of the Bay Street Boys continue to make to The Bahamas.

For example, the Symonette family has employed hundreds of black Bahamians, of different political persuasions, in their various enterprises.

The death of George Floyd has thrust the Black Lives Matter organization to the fore.

Founded by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, subsequent to the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, one of the aims of BLM is to eradicate institutionalized racism.

BLM also aims to “disrupt the Western prescribed nuclear family structure.” The organization also states on its website that it “fosters a queer affirming network…”

All three BLM cofounders claim to be feminists, with at least one claiming to be a lesbian. BLM has shrewdly blurred the line between the matters of LGBTQ and systemic racism.

With Shaun King, a prominent BLM advocate and civil rights activist, calling for statues of white Jesus to be torn down, European Christianity seems to now be in the crosshairs of BLM.

With the killings of Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Walter Scott and Tamir Rice, the United States must take an honest look at the issue of systemic racism.

Hopefully, the tragic death of Floyd will bring about a degree of racial reconciliation that the Rev Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. was never able to accomplish.

I am not denying that The Bahamas had some form of institutionalized racism during the heyday of the Bay Street Boys. But it was nothing like the sheer violence meted out against African Americans during Jim Crow.

The United States gained independence in 1776 — 232 years before the election of the first black president in 2008.

The Bahamas gained internal self-rule from the British in 1964. Three years later, the first black premier, Sir Lynden O. Pindling, was elected to government, when the PLP achieved majority rule.

There is no direct correlation between what is currently happening in America and what transpired in The Bahamas prior to January 10, 1967.

Kevan Evans

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