Letters to the Editor: Hanna-Martin’s silence on the PLP and Nygard

Letters to the Editor: Hanna-Martin’s silence on the PLP and Nygard

Dear Editor,

Throughout her political career, Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin has styled herself as a great defender of women and a champion of the vulnerable and the poor. She has shown outrage on various matters related to women’s rights and the downtrodden, except it seems, when it does not serve her political interest.

When the first women’s equality referendum was proposed under the FNM, Hanna-Martin opposed it with fake arguments about “process”. This poisoned the well on women’s equality. Because of people like her, Bahamian women are still not equal to men on certain citizenship matters.

Those women who fought for the right to vote and other rights for women would be embarrassed by her position at the time. When she had a chance to stand up, she decided instead to go the route of political expediency.

When former Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller described very graphically in the House of Assembly how he used to beat a former girlfriend, Hanna-Martin said nothing. Her silence was shameful to many women and men. She took the easy political way out. If an FNM had said the same thing, she would have expressed all kinds of moral outrage.

Now with the Peter Nygard affair, in which he is accused of using The Bahamas for sex trafficking and as a venue to sexually assault and abuse vulnerable, poorer, underage Bahamian girls, she has nothing of any moral substance to say about the PLP’s relationship with Nygard.

She has nothing to say about the parade of PLP Cabinet ministers who went out to Nygard Cay to pay respect to a man who is alleged to have raped and abused many women.

She has nothing to say about PLPs who went out to celebrate with Nygard.

She has nothing to say about alleged PLP connections to Nygard or the alleged funds he gave to the PLP.

Why are you so silent?

If specific FNMs were reported to have fraternized so openly with Nygard, she would have likely been all over the place and in the House railing against them, screaming with outrage.

Instead, she gave this mealy-mouthed response as reported in The Tribune, which reeks of political hypocrisy. She told The Tribune: “I don’t want to comment on any sort of involvement with personalities in the organization because I don’t have firsthand knowledge of it, I’ve seen what everyone else has seen, I’ve heard what everyone else has heard and we’ll have to see how it pans out.

“It may be a subject of fair comment, but I do not want it to distract though from what is the issue, and it’s the issue that we all face as a Bahamian people, that is now playing out in the global consciousness about what has happened in the country.”

This is a bunch of pretty and evasive words that say nothing. A subject of fair comment? How laughable. You don’t want to distract from what is the issue? You have to do better than that, Mrs Hanna-Martin.

One of the major issues is how your party associated with an individual who is alleged to have been involved in international sex trafficking, including allegations of bribing Bahamian officials.

Your comments are not good enough, Mrs Hanna-Martin. You are a senior individual and a woman in the PLP who has set yourself up as a defender of women and the vulnerable. You served in the Cabinet and you are a member of Parliament.

You have a moral obligation to get your party and colleagues to disclose in detail and in a forthright manner the relationship between Nygard and the PLP, including any connections between him and Messrs. Christie and Davis.

Silence and equivocation will not do. The women and people of The Bahamas are watching you and waiting. Your attempt to cleverly ignore this most egregious matter is outrageous and disgraceful. This might prove to be one of the worst moments in your public career, which will only worsen if you do not now speak up.

I am ashamed that someone like Mrs Hanna-Martin has responded the way she has. Her comments are an embarrassment here at home and an international embarrassment.

The world and The Bahamas are asking why a Bahamian politician as notable as Mrs Hanna-Martin is not being forceful on this matter.