“I hope to not only restore Abaco to what it was but to make it greater, stronger and better”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — North Abaco MP Kirk Cornish has unexpectedly smashed a glass ceiling for hairstyle diversity in the Bahamian workplace, becoming the first male MP in recent memory to sport dreadlocks in the House of Assembly.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) candidate and political newbie was elected to office for the first time on September 16, unseating Free National Movement (FNM) incumbent Darren Henfield.
He said he is committed to laying a foundation for renewed hope and restoration in his constituency.
Reflecting on what prompted him to adopt the unconventional look, Cornish said his natural hairstyle was born out of both convenience and his displeasure with the haircuts he had been getting at the time.
“I first started growing my hair in 2001. At that time, I used to braid it,” said the native Abaconian in an interview with Eyewitness News.
“I had recently moved to New Providence to do some electrical studies, and I wasn’t pleased with the haircuts I was getting, so I braided it.
“When I moved [back to Abaco] shortly after that, in about 2002, I decided that I would loc it afterwards.
“It has no significant meaning; it’s not a religion. I just like the look.”
During the 2012 general election, The Bahamas saw independent candidate Alexander Morley wear dreadlocks as he vied to become the Englerston MP.
Cornish, the former senior serviceman and shop steward for the Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC) in Abaco, thanked Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis for allowing him to ascend to his current political position with the hairstyle.
Even so, he noted that despite the symbolic significance of his hair, it does not define him.
“I must say, hats off to Prime Minister Davis and the Progressive Liberal Party for giving me the opportunity to actually be the first person — to my knowledge, in recent times — to be entering the House [of Assembly] with locs,” said Cornish.
He added: “It’s amazing for such a simple thing to define a person in the eyes of so many, but to me, my hair doesn’t define me.
“The contents of my character, the way I live my life and the God that I serve define me.”
Abaco in need
Cornish, shifting emphasis to his newfound political role and responsibilities, highlighted the importance of Abaco having representation at this time, suggesting there is a “really, really great need” on the island that is still recovering from 2019’s Hurricane Dorian.
The North Abaco MP was eager to unveil some of the plans for his constituency and the ways he hopes to serve his community.
“I hope to not only restore Abaco to what it was but to make it greater, stronger and better,” he stated.
Cornish said he would like for Abaco to become the island that contributes the second-largest amount of money to the nation’s purse.
He continued: “I was one of the little boys who grew up in Cooper’s Town, running through the street barefoot.
“I am now sitting in the highest seat that Abaco has to offer. Anything is possible.”