NASSAU, BAHAMAS – In a reflective sermon on the current state of The Bahamas, 53 years after obtaining Majority Rule, the Very Rev. Harry Bain, Dean of Nassau and Rector of Christ Church Cathedral declared the country must identify a vision in order to move forward.
Dean’s sermon at the Ecumenical Service in observance of Majority Rule Day on Friday, touched on several hot button topics including social issues, the role of the church, the state of politics in the country, immigration, and equality.
He questioned whether the vision the country’s forefathers predicted for the future of The Bahamas – the promise of equality, a level playing field and fair pay for all Bahamians – is today’s reality.
“Building a nation is a journey,” he said.
We’re not there yet.”
Dean continued: “Is the playing field leveled for all, or just the chosen few – the privileged, the special interest.
“Is the justice system fair for all or only for those with the means to hire how powered attorneys, and Q.Cs.
“Do all Bahamians have equal access to medical care, hospitals, first rate education or is it just for those who live on New Providence.
“What about those who do not live in New Providence, those who live in the Family Islands. Does the vision apply to them?”
He said: “You see, we are so focused on the increasing illegal Haitian, Jamaican and Chinese and other nationals and their rights but what of the Bahamians whose rights are not being forecalled.
“Those who cannot find jobs on islands that are not being developed but because our successive political directorate have been so Nassau centric, thus not leveling the playing field; [those] who do not have access to quality medical care because there are islands without doctors or dentists or psychologists, or psychiatrists.
“…What about Bahamians who are at the poverty level or just barely above the poverty level. Are they being frustrated by deprivation? The many who are struggling to survive in an unfair tax system and high cost of living.”
Dean declared, “where there is no vision, the people perish”.
“On this Majority Rule Day, we must ask ourselves some serious questions, where is our focus, where is our vision.”
On January 10, 1967, the first black majority government was elected thus ushering in Majority Rule.
A series of events including the Burma Road Riot, Black Tuesday and the Women’s Suffrage Movement proceeded the historical milestone.
As he spoke to the future of The Bahamas, Dean urged that “we must love our neighbor”.
“Who is our neighbor, every citizen of archipelago we call the Bahamas, every permanent resident, every documented worker and yes every undocumented person as well,” he said.
“Fifty-three years after Majority Rule, we in this country are still battling race discrimination, and political exclusion.
“How long is it going to take for us to grow up and mature politically.
“How long is it going to take for us to take on the responsibility of our destiny as a nation.”
Dean said as The Bahamas moves forward it must ask: “what is our vision for our Bahamas, what is our vision of our Bahamian society, what is our vision of the role of the Church in Bahamian society, and what is our vision of the future for this country”.