NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Fed up with recent decisions of the government, hundreds of irate protestors from both sides of the political divide marched to Rawson Square on Wednesday, voicing their concerns about a number of issues facing country – issues that they feel the government must immediately address.
And while many have expressed that yesterday’s march would not produce any results, one march organizer who referred to herself as “Queen B” said they will give the government 10 days to respond to its demands.
“If they don’t, we will be back to ask for the whole Cabinet resignation. If they don’t [respond], we will go to the attorney general, that’s their boss,” she said.
A male protestor who wore clothing supporting the Free National Movement (FNM) said while he is a supporter of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, he and other members of the government must remain faithful to the promises made before the May 2017 general election.
“I rock with Doc but Bahamians first,” the FNM protestor said. “Listen, The Bahamas needs some radical changes, we are too passive and too weak in this country.”
The protestor continued, “Dr. Minnis know we are cowards and the police know we are cowards. You see what happened in Haiti? Unless you make radical changes in the country these people are not going to listen to you.”
Presently, there is mass unrest in Haiti as Port-au-Prince and other cities endure deadly protests and violence as anger grows over allegations of government corruption.
Also at yesterday’s march, protesters handed out petitions for marchers to sign and later hand over to the government.
The protest, which began at the Southern Recreation grounds on Baillou Hill Road started off peaceful, but when demonstrators arrived at Parliament Square, they were blocked by police officers and had to stand behind an area that was barricaded.
A letter issued by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) to organizers of the protest, which circulated on social media earlier this week, outlined a number of stipulations for march participants. One stipulation that drew sharp criticisms was for protestors to only use the sidewalk and not disrupt the flow of vehicular traffic.
Persons such as former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Minister V. Alfred Gray expressed his concern with the rules via social media as well as president of the Rights Bahamas group, Stephanie St. Fleur, who outlined in an issued a statement last night that the government was trying to oppress the masses
The letter issued by the RBPF organizers said the demonstration was not to proceed beyond 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Demonstrators were not permitted to interfere with any member of parliament going to and from the House of Assembly. They were told that they could not demonstrate in Parliament or Rawson Square without the appropriate permission, they were not permitted to play music during the demonstration or make loud noise to the annoyance of any member of the public.
Many of these rules, however, were not adhered.
Meanwhile, addressing the media following the lunch adjournment of the House of Assembly, Dr. Minnis said, “I’m not worried, individuals have a right, the Constitution allows them to demonstrate, that’s freedom of movement, that’s freedom of speech.
“We understand that there are some challenges with light bills. We will do whatever we can to relieve their pain and their stress, that is what a good government does.