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Sir Arthur Urges Non-Partisan Observance of Majority Rule Day
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Posted by:Jan 11th 2006, 03:28:19 pm
Fig Tree News Team

11th January
Sir Arthur Urges Non-Partisan Observance Of Majority Rule
Darrin Culmer

The advent of Majority Rule in The Bahamas will most likely not be properly commemorated or recognised as an event of importance and significance to persons of all political persuasions and ethnic groups until an inclusive, non-partisan approach to the historic development is promoted, a statesman and veteran journalist said Tuesday.

"I think what needs to be done at some point in the future is that the leaders of all political parties, religious leaders and social leaders need to get together and decide to celebrate (Majority Rule) as a Bahamian thing because that’s what it is," said Sir Arthur Foulkes while appearing as a guest on the Love 97 programme "Issues of the Day".

"We all benefited somewhat from it and we all contributed to it one way or the other."

Highlighting the role that Bahamians of all political persuasions and ethnic backgrounds played in ushering in Majority Rule, Sir Arthur pointed out that it was Sir Alvin Braynen, an independent white Bahamian, along with Sir Randol Fawkes, the black leader of the Labour Party, who made the development possible.

One of the early significant steps toward majority rule came on June 8, 1956 when six members of the recently formed Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) were returned as members of the House of Assembly.

The successful candidates were the then Lynden Pindling, Milo Butler and Randol Fawkes, Cyril St John Stevenson, Sammie Isaacs and Clarence Bain.

Eventually, the PLP emerged a stronger political force as its popular support increased heading into the general election of January 10, 1967.

In that poll, both the PLP and the United Bahamian Party (UBP) won 18 seats, with Randol Fawkes and Alvin Braynen, who had parted company with the UBP, winning the remaining two seats.

Mr. Fawkes and Mr. Braynen, as they then were, threw their support behind the PLP, and British Governor Sir Ralph Grey invited Mr. Pindling to form a government, thus ushering in Majority Rule.

Senior Pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church Bishop Simeon Hall on Tuesday also called for all Bahamians to become involved in commemorating Majority Rule.

"I believe all and every truly patriotic Bahamian should today reverence the achievement of Majority Rule," he said in a statement.

"We salute all those whose sacrifice helped us realise this historic right and milestone. We distance ourselves from all those who dare to downplay its historical relevance as well as those who will seek to exploit its worth for their own political mileage."

There is another milestone being observed.

This week, the National Congress of Trade Union (NCTU) announced that it is in the process of preparing to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the 1958 General Strike.

"It was on this day – January 12th, 1958 – a group of brave and dedicated trade unionists took action in what eventually became one of the most important acts of disobedience in the history of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas," the NCTU said in a press release.

"This milestone played a pivotal place in the growth and development of the trade union movement, the call for social justice and solidified the Bahamian trade union movement in history as the catalyst for social and economic justice for the Bahamian masses."

Attributing the genesis of the move for social and economic justice in the country to the trade union movement, NCTU President Pat Bain urged a greater awareness of the importance of workers’ rights.

"We again call on the Government of The Bahamas to acknowledge the significant contributions of trade unions to the growth and development of The Bahamas," Mr. Bain said.

The union president also called on government to take immediate steps to draft legislation to rename Labour Day to Sir Randol Fawkes Labour Day.

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